PureGrainAudio recently conducted an interview with frontman Scott Hill of Southern California rockers FU MANCHU. You can listen to the entire chat via the SoundCloud widget below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the writing process for FU MANCHU:
Scott: "Everything starts with a riff. We go to practice, 'Hey, check this out.' We play the riff. Usually it's our drummer who will come up with four or five different beats or different things for it. If it sounds cool, we'll work on that. If it doesn't sound good, then we'll try a bunch of different ways and if it doesn't sound good, we'll put it in the back. But, it always, ever since we started the band in 1990, it just starts with a guitar riff, everything we do."
On whether FU MANCHU had planned to make the song "Il Mostro Atomico" 18 minutes long:
Scott: "I don't think we ever went, 'Hey, let's do an 18-minute song. Everyone will love it!' Yeah, we kind of like, we wrote about 14 or 15 new songs for the new record. We usually do about a 10-song record, that's kind of our limit. We whittle down the songs that we really like and we kept coming up with all these riffs and riffs and instead of writing full songs to every riff we had, I had this little slow riff which was the intro riff for the song. I was, like, 'Look, why don't we do this? Let's record all the riffs we have, put them together, keep the best ones, see which ones flow together and let's just do that as side two of the record?' And everyone was, like, 'Yep. That's what we're doing.' We had a lot to choose from. We thought that was the best arrangement for the song with all the stuff we had. Yeah, it was definitely cool having all these riffs. We can't keep making songs. We already got ten we really like and we already had to whittle that down to six for side one. It just came out of a bunch of riffs and we put stuff together that we thought flowed well."
On approaching RUSH guitarist Alex Lifeson to appear on "Il Mostro Atomico":
Scott: "First off, I would never of thought Alex Lifeson would have been on our record, ever, ever. Our manager is friends with his manager and they were talking: 'Hey, what's Alex up to?' 'He's in the studio playing guitar.' Their manager went 'What's FU MANCHU up to?' Our manager is like 'They're getting ready to go in and do a record.' And I think our manager, at some point, was like, 'Would Alex like to play guitar on FU MANCHU's record?' 'Let me check.' He got back and said, 'Yes, send him a demo of the song.' So, we thought it's got to be the 18-minute song on the record, it just has to. We had a rough version of it and sent it to him. He listened to it and said 'Yeah, I like it. Let me know what you want me to do.' We were like 'What?!?' Is this a joke? We couldn't believe it. We're just, like, 'Alex Lifeson is asking us. What the hell?' So, we went into the studio and recorded it in the studio and sent it up to him and he just played guitar all over the place and said, 'Use whatever you want, however much you want, do whatever you want with all that guitar.' It fit perfect in this section where we all kind of drop out. He just made this rhythm guitar, he made it up himself and kept going with it. He did all this cool sci-fi type feedback, even a couple of pick-slides in there. It fits perfect. We were very excited."
On whether he thinks there's a chance Lifeson will join FU MANCHU onstage for a live rendition of the song:
Scott: "Oh God! If he ever, anywhere, anytime, if he was to show up at a show and we got word that he was onsite, we would stop what we were doing, give him a guitar, and play the song immediately. Or whatever he wanted to do. If he wanted to play drums, whatever. I don't know. We'll see. Hopefully."
FU MANCHU's 12th studio album, "Clone Of The Universe", was released on February 9 via the group's own label At The Dojo Records. The record is their first in four years, following the 2014 release of "Gigantoid".
Photo credit: John Gilhooley