Saturday, March 3, 2012

Roger reflects on Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big & Buzzy

Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy turns sweet 16:
Stumbling 33 steps down memory lane

It’s the 16th anniversary of the release-week of Fizzy Fuzzy Big and Buzzy. Almost unbelievable.
Before my own memory further fades, here for posterity and fun, are 33 things (a randomly-chosen number) about the recording of that album I think I recall:

• At “The Riot Hyatt,” in Hollywood, CA at around 1:30 in the morning, The Refreshments finally inked our recording contract.
• A few hours later, we loaded our gear into the illustrious Ocean Way Studio on Sunset Blvd.
• We rented a house in LA.
• PH took the couch (he was “the new guy”), rest of us got bedrooms.
• Recording took 4 weeks.
• It was punctuated ecstasy and monotony.
• I spent most of my advance money on a Custom Shop Telecaster.
• We started every day of the week at 10.
• We usually cut off around 2 or 3 a.m.
• We recorded all our takes standing up (except, of course, PH…)
• And always live to tape.
• Clif Norrell was our producer, engineer and mixer; he slept the least and drove us hard.
• “Feeling” became a b-side.
• “Psychosis” got on to a soundtrack of a movie no-one saw.
• I had daily panic attacks, cold hands and feet, chest pains, dizzy spells, a lot of denial and an unopened bottle of anti-depressants.
• I recall long nights of interminable takes in front of the mic, the smell of the tubes burning in the amps, standing in our sweltering iso-booths, sweating from the heat the amps generated from cranking out take after take after take after take….
• We all enjoyed relaxing in the studio lounge with the simple thrill of flying the slot cars around the track.
• We killed hours playing Risk.
• “The Blush-ians” proved the most irritating scourge.
• I discovered why they call meditation a practice.
• We consumed urns of coffee, kegs of beer, and gallons green tea, semi-loads of “Double-doubles,” columns of biscuits and gravy.
• I disappeared on long bike rides along Mulholland Drive and I never did find a pick up soccer game in Hollywood.
• I read in a pre-release review that I was too old to pen a “meaningful debut album.” I was 26. So glad they said that.
• Brian and I sat for sat hours on acoustic guitar and harmonica trying to get the intro to “Nada” right.
• “Interstate” is the only fade-out on the record; it was originally written with an ending that mirrored the intro.
• Somebody said, “f**k it,” drove across the desert, got halfway home to AZ, and then came back.
• No one said a word.
• The record company let us pick the first single!
• We flipped a coin between “Blue” and “Banditos.”
• There was no internet, all movies were VHS, we sent letters in the mail and bummed each other’s calling cards, and were never interrupted by cell phones or e-mail.
• There was some hysterical blindness at some point, but that was near the end.
• I remember pouring everything we had into it.
• Fizzy is what came out.



  1. Thanks for the effort. I still listen to FFBB weekly, if not daily.

  2. Definitely one of my favorite albums of all time. I remember my brother Daniel Gonzalez painting the design from the album cover on his bedroom wall. It is still there today...

  3. This album opened up a new avenue in the music I listen to. How can I thank you for that?

  4. ROGER its not just music its a way of life... thanx for all the great shows and music and makin the time to come out of the bus to say hey. love ya man. peace love and roger. yes fizzy fuzzy changed my life. i was a metal head until i heard nada.

  5. I saw that movie and own the soundtrack even if it is for one song.....and you did! nail nada!

  6. I saw that movie and own the soundtrack even if it is for one song.....and you did! nail nada!

  7. I loved reading that almost as much as I love the album.

  8. I saw ya'll live or the first time as The Refreshments at the University of New Mexico Ballroom with Dead Hot Workshop and Gin Blossoms. FFBB came out the next day and I had already listed to it twice by lunchtime. I have never forgotten that memory, and I have bought The Whole Enchilada twice to give as gifts. Needless to say, more fans have been made. Thanks guys. See you in Santa Fe in June.

  9. I liked the FFBB album but I was already jaded by the raw sound and mix of Wheelie (of which I have 2 remaining copies on disk!) I loved seeing "The Screaming Ukeleles" (or what ever the made up name was at the time) at The Yucca Tap Room. I lived across the street and would play pool at Pinkies and drink the night away at the Yucca.....Good Times!

  10. That album is one that I'd take to a desert island. Perfect, from beginning to end.

    Y'all need to come back to Sam's Burger Joint in San Antonio. SOON!

  11. I have loved this album since the first time I heard it. I really enjoyed reading this. Great notes about the making of one of my favorite records. Would love to see more notes like these about other records.

  12. I have always ranked this album in the top ten of rock history since the first time I heard it. That was long before I met Roger and the guys. I still hold that feeling today. This album gives me a wide variety of emotions and memories and always reminds me of my time living in Arizona. I love the stories Roger tells and all the little tid-bits about the makings of this and other recordings would be loved and cherished by us all. Thank you for not only great music but great memories that go hand in hand with the music.

  13. This was my very first CD purchase as a young adult. I've never regretted my introduction to this gateway album to the Southwest and the many subsequent memories associated with the music that has since followed.

    Though I am hardly religious: Blessed are the Peacemakers :)