Hear Fu Manchu’s New Cover of Foghat’s ‘Slow Ride’
Fuzz rock pioneers Fu Manchu have peppered their albums with covers of punk and classic-rock favorites such as Blue Oyster Cult's "Godzilla" and Van Halen's "D.O.A." for more than two decades. Their newest single, available now on their own At The Dojo label, pairs their crunchy, slowed-down version of Foghat's "Slow Ride" with a new original song, "Future Transmitter."
We spoke to frontman Scott Hill about covering such a famous song and his band's plans for the future, which include an appearance at this month's Psycho Las Vegas festival, an overseas tour celebrating their classic 1999 album King of the Road and the recording of a new studio effort, their first since 2014's Gigantoid.
What made you decide to cover "Slow Ride"?
It's one of the first songs that I ever got into as a kid. I grew up in the Huntington Beach area [of California] – surfing, skateboarding and dirt-bike riding – and that song would always be playing, either at the skate parks or at a friend's homemade skate ramp, blaring out of someone's car at the beach or at the dirt-bike track. It's got such a great riff and some really cool single-note stuff going on in the song. We were thinking of covering it back in 1998 when we were working on songs for our King of the Road record, but we went with Devo's "Freedom of Choice" instead. I've always wanted to play "Slow Ride" but slow it way down. It's a lot of fun to play live. The live version of "Slow Ride" is one of my favorite live songs by any band ever.
Everybody knows "Slow Ride," "Fool for the City," "I Just Want to Make Love to You," etc. Is there a lesser-known Foghat song you’re particularly a fan of?
"Home in My Hand" is another favorite of mine. It's got a great riff and drum beat. There are so many good riffs in Foghat's songs!
You’re sharing the bill with Blue Oyster Cult at Psycho Las Vegas later this month. Have you ever heard from them about your cover of "Godzilla?"
We've never talked to anyone in Blue Oyster Cult. I hope that if they have heard our version of their song that they are not too bummed out. That's another fun song to play live. We won't be playing that song in Las Vegas.
Speaking of Psycho Las Vegas, which artists are you most looking forward to seeing there or suggest people check out?
Alice Cooper and Mudhoney. Two of my favorites. There's a lot of good heavy bands playing, so I don't think you can go wrong with any band on any day.
I know you're a big AC/DC fan. Is there a song of theirs you’ve ever considered covering?
Yes, we are all AC/DC fans. We do play "Whole Lotta Rosie" at practice sometimes. We haven't thought about covering them seriously. One of my favorite AC/DC songs is "For Those About to Rock." How can you not like AC/DC?!
Is there anything you can tell us about the new song on the single, "Future Transmitter"?
That's the oldest and newest song we have written for this year. Sort of an uptempo song with some disjointed stops and starts. Cowbell, fuzz guitar, bass lines and more fuzz guitar and rambling lyrics.
Is there a schedule in place for your next studio album?
We are writing the new Fu Manchu record right now. We have a lot of new songs. I'm sure we will have to throw out a bunch of them, as we want to keep the new record around 35-40 minutes max. We usually record everything on our 4-track tape machine, and then we will listen to them all, put them in a sort of running order, then we start narrowing it down from there. We are going to be doing something on this new release that we have never done before, song-wise. We are planning on releasing it in April of 2017. We might be playing a few new songs [from the upcoming album] on our upcoming U.K. / Europe King of the Road tour this year.
Update: Foghat's Roger Earl has weighed in on Fu Manchu's version of "Slow Ride," noting, "they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Not only has Fu Manchu covered 'Slow Ride,' but they have also used the same Foghat type font for the band name, and our live album cover art from 1977 for their artwork for the song. I guess they are Foghat fans! Keep on rockin’…"
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