Fu Manchu

Southern California's Fu Manchu began crafting heavy, psychedelic-tinged rock in 1990 with their debut single, "Kept Between Trees." Throughout the early '90s the group honed their sound on similarly intense singles, and released their debut album, No One Rides for Free, in 1994 on Bong Load Records. Daredevil, also on Bong Load, followed in 1995. The group switched to Mammoth Records for their 1996 album, In Search Of...; the next year, founding members Scott Hill (vocals, guitars) and Brad Davis (bass, vocals) added lead guitarist Bob Balch and former Kyuss drummer Brant Bjork to their lineup, and they released their second album for Mammoth, The Action Is Go. During this time the group gained a reputation as a powerful live act, supporting like-minded groups like the Melvins, Kyuss, White Zombie, Monster Magnet, and Clutch in the States, and Corrosion of Conformity, the Hellacopters, and Marilyn Manson in Europe. Return to Earth (which collected their early singles) and the Eatin' Dust EP (which was released by Frank Kozik's Man's Ruin label) both arrived in 1998. Fu Manchu released their fifth full-length album, King of the Road, in early 2000, following it up with a lengthy tour of the United States. They took time off to work on new material, emerging in the spring of 2001 with California Crossing. As their live show neared perfection, they took the opportunity to showcase their stoner rock stage skills with 2003's Go for It...Live! The following year they released two new studio discs, Start the Machine and (Godzilla's) Eatin' Dust. And in 2007 the band returned with an angrier but typically heavy album titled We Must Obey, a sarcastic rebuttal directed toward anyone with the gall to try pushing them around. Their tenth set, Signs of Infinite Power (Century Media Records), arrived in late 2009. The band would take five years -- their longest break between albums -- before the release of Gigantoid (At the Dojo Records), their 11th collection of heavy fuzz-rock. The demos for California Crossing were issued in 2017, months before Fu Manchu delivered Clone of the Universe in early 2018. ~ Heather Phares

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