Fu Manchu (band)

Fu Manchu (band)

Infobox musical artist
Name = Fu Manchu

Img_capt =
Background = group_or_band
Alias =
Origin = Orange County, California, USA
Genre = alternative rock, stoner rock,
Years_active = 1987–present
Label = Liquor and Poker Music Mammoth Records Bong Load Custom Records Man's Ruin Records
Associated_acts =
URL = [http://www.fu-manchu.com Official Site]
Current_members = Scott Hill
Bob Balch
Scott Reeder
Brad Davis
Past_members = Brant Bjork
Eddie Glass
Mark Abshire
Ruben Romano Scott Votaw
Greg McCaughey

Fu Manchu is a Southern Californian alternative rock/stoner rock band, who released their debut single "Kept Between Trees" in 1990. "Rolling Stone" describes their sound as::"Super heavy and bass happy Detroit rock 'n' roll is totally deep-fried, fuzzed out, window breakin', pot sellin', sleepin-in-the-van, skater metal." [http://www.rollingstone.com/artist/bio/_/id/1076?pageid=rs.ArtistDiscography&pageregion=nav]

The lyrics on Fu Manchu's releases tend to stick to the topics of pinball, muscle cars, UFOs, Bigfoot, drugs, poker, women and skateboarding. They have been featured on compilations put together by Tony Hawk and ESPN's X Games, invited to perform on the US television program "Monster Garage", and featured in the documentary about skateboarding's founding crews, "Dogtown and Z-Boys".


Fu Manchu originally formed in 1987 as a hardcore punk band called Virulence. Their primary influences were the bands Black Flag and Bl'ast. The line up was vocalist Ken Pucci, guitarist Scott Hill, bassist Greg McCaughey, and drummer Ruben Romano. In 1989 they released their debut LP "If This Isn't a Dream..." on Alchemy Records. In 1990, Pucci left the band and was replaced by vocalist Glen Chivens and they changed their name to Fu Manchu. Soon after they released the "Kept Between Trees" 7 inch single on Slap A Ham Records. On this record, Fu Manchu still exhibited much of the hardcore sound established by Virulence. However, the band soon began to drift away from hardcore and towards a more 1970s hard rock style. McCaughey was not pleased with this, as he regarded this move to be following a trend; the Sub Pop record label was at the peak of its underground success at this time, and many of their bands were known for having a similar 70s rock sound. McCaughey left the band and was replaced by Mark Abshire. Chivens also left the band around this time for unknown reasons. Rather than bring in a new vocalist, Scott Hill added lead vocalist to his guitar duties. To compensate, Scott Votaw was recruited as lead guitarist. In 1992, Fu Manchu released three 7 inch singles: "Senioritis," "Pick Up Summer," and "Don't Bother Knockin' (If This Vans Rockin')." In 1993, Votaw left the band and was replaced by former Olivelawn drummer Eddie Glass, who now leads the successful power trio Nebula.

In the wake of Nirvana’s success in the early 1990s, Fu Manchu was approached by a major record label and given funds to record a demo so that the label could determine if a proper Fu Manchu album was worth pursuing. According to members of Fu Manchu, they recorded the demo with no intention of signing to the label. Instead, their plan was to go into the sessions with the mindset of recording a proper album rather than a demo, which they would release independently. Sure enough, this is precisely what happened; Fu Manchu did not sign with the major label, but the recording sessions resulted in Fu Manchu’s first album, "No One Rides for Free" (1994), which was released by Bong Load Custom Records, an independent label.

Abshire left Fu Manchu before they recorded their second album, "Daredevil", in 1995. He was replaced by Brad Davis. Romano and Glass left shortly after the release of Fu Manchu's third album, "In Search Of..." (1996) and were replaced by Brant Bjork and Bob Balch, respectively. Glass, Romano and Abshire soon formed Nebula, a power trio that took the jam-influenced side of Fu Manchu and expanded on it. Members of Nebula have commented that "we're all family" to fans wearing Fu Manchu shirts at their concerts.

Fu Manchu went on to release several successful albums and reinforce their reputation as a powerful live act. The band had gained this reputation over the years due to their performance when touring with bands such as Kyuss, Monster Magnet, Marilyn Manson, Clutch, Corrosion of Conformity, and White Zombie among others.

Brant Bjork left the band after their 2002 release "California Crossing" to pursue his solo career and was replaced by former Sunshine and Smile drummer Scott Reeder (often mistaken for the former Kyuss, Unida, and Goatsnake bassist Scott Reeder). In 2004, Fu Manchu released their 8th album, "Start The Machine".

Fu Manchu's latest album is called "We Must Obey" which was released on the 19th February 2007. The band has spent most of 2007 on the road, playing several shows in the U.S. and hitting Europe twice.

The single "Knew It All Along" was released in late 2007.

In February 2008, the track "Mongoose" (from the "California Crossing" album) was featured in a Super Bowl advertisement for the Toyota Sequoia. [http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1707987_1707995_1708686,00.html]



* "No One Rides for Free" LP/CD (1994 Bong Load Custom Records)
* "Daredevil" LP/CD (1995 Bong Load Custom Records)
* "In Search Of..." LP/CD (1996 Mammoth Records)
* "The Action is Go" LP/CD (1997 Mammoth Records)
* "Eatin' Dust" CD (1999 Man's Ruin Records)
* "King of the Road" LP/CD (1999 Mammoth Records)
* "California Crossing" LP/CD (2002 Mammoth Records)
* "Start the Machine" CD (2004 DRT Entertainment)
* "We Must Obey" LP/CD (2007 Liquor and Poker Music/Century Media Records)


* "Kept Between Trees" 7" (1990 Slap-a-Ham Records)
* "Senioritis" 7" (1992 Zuma Records)
* "Pick-Up Summer" 7" (1992 Elastic Records)
* "Don't Bother Knockin' (If This Van's Rockin)" 7" (1992 Elastic Records)
* "Missing Link" 7" (1996 Mammoth Records)
* "Asphalt Risin'" 7" (1996 Mammoth Records)
* "Godzilla" 10" (1997 Man's Ruin Records)
* "Jailbreak" CD/split 7" with Fatso Jetson (1998 Sessions Records)
* "Eatin' Dust" 10" (1999 Man's Ruin Records)
* "Something Beyond" CD/7" (2003 Elastic Records)
* "Hung Out to Dry" CD/7" (2006 Liquor and Poker Music/Century Media Records)
* "Knew It All Along" 7" (2007 At the Dojo Records)


* "Return to Earth 91-93" LP/CD (1998 Elastic Records)
* "(Godzilla's) Eatin' Dust" LP (1999 Man's Ruin Records)
* "Go for It... Live!" LP/CD (2003 Steamhammer Us)


Fu Manchu are famous for playing covers of their favorite bands. That includes bands like Blue Öyster Cult, DEVO, Van Halen and The Cars.

Fu Manchu are strongly influenced by early 80s hardcore punkrock. This is shown by their fuzzed-out, in-your-face sound and exemplified by several covers like "Six Pack" of Black Flag, "Who are you" by Void and "Nothing done" by SSD. Furthermore they recorded a cover of "When the shit hits the fan" by the Circle Jerks that never was released.

Fu Manchu sometimes pay homage to the hardcore punk band Bl'ast via song and record titles. The song "Laserbl'ast!" from "The Action is Go" is an ode to Bl'ast (as well as to the 1970s B movie "Laser Blast",) while the titles "Something Beyond" and "Start the Machine" are both named after Bl'ast songs. Note that while Fu Manchu has a song entitled "Something Beyond," it isn't a cover of the Bl'ast song.

Current line-up

*Scott Hill - vocals and guitar
*Bob Balch - Guitar and vocals
*Scott Reeder - drums and vocals
*Brad Davis - Bass and vocals

External links

* [http://www.fu-manchu.com Official site]
* [http://www.myspace.com/fumanchu Fu Manchu's Official Myspace Page]
* [http://mackyphoto.co.uk/fumanchu Fu Manchu photographs by Macky]

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