Last week I sat down with Wyatt and Austin Fullmer (yes, they’re brothers) and began what was a laughter-filled Q & A running the gambit from straight answers to things that’d make your mom blush. Bryce filled in the blanks shortly thereafter, his answers were a tad more PG rated, but just a tad. Upon deciding to interview Randsburg, I knew exactly where I’d be interviewing them; Iron Press is this killer little waffle sandwich place at the SoCo Collective with quite the impressive beer selection. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty, shall we?
Bryce Schlange, Austin Fullmer, Wyatt Fullmer, James Ransom
Randsburg is typically a 5-piece outfit that has more sound than some smaller venues know what to do with. We’re not talking “noise” here, I mean good old-fashioned guitar, bass, drums, and a bit of the keys working themselves into a song that makes you feel something. I had the pleasure of listening to their soon-to-be-released album pre-mastering and I can tell you, there was not one song that didn’t make me feel any number of emotions. Good, bad, or ugly; I think music should make you feel. Whether or not you agree with that sentiment, I don’t doubt this album will be thoroughly enjoyed by all. Now, I don’t want to give too much away, so we’ll save the details on A Note to My Folks, let’s rewind.
The Burg (I’ll probably catch some flack for this nickname) has been together as a band since roughly January of 2011, though they’ve all been playing their various instruments and/or writing for far longer than that. Austin began playing guitar at about 12, and Wyatt the bass at 10; the Fullmer brothers were well on their way to becoming the next Hanson. I kid, I kid. Bryce, the writer and lead vocals of the band that he is, started writing at about 15 and hasn’t really stopped since. In his words, “I’ve known the Fullmers for a while and plan on exploiting their musical talents for the rest of my life.” Bryce came to Austin when starting the band. The initial plan was to put Wyatt on bass, but they had no drummer, so that’s the route that the band took. Wyatt wanted to try something new, even if it didn’t go anywhere; so drums it was, and off they went.
Painting the picture in my mind of their first show I see a sweaty large room with a bunch of friends enjoying music at a volume probably unhealthy for human ears. No matter, there was plenty of beer and a big ol’ bottle of Jack (if that isn’t rock n’ roll, I don’t know what is) to keep those thirsty friends imbibed. Randsburg decided on renting out a room at Sound Matrix where they were rehearsing at the time. The big room, as it’s been called, (rehearsal space for touring bands) and invited all their friends to a “show” in said space. Every rehearsal’s a party with Jack Daniels and a 30-pack of beer, right? “What do you mean you’re not supposed to play guitar with a shoe?” [Wyatt] From there, Randsburg went on to play a spattering of acoustic shows in Sunset Beach sans drums for about 6 months after their then keyboard player moved away. They returned as a 4 piece at Constellation room in November of 2011 after acquiring their talented friend, James Ransom, to play the keys. As far as a bass player goes, the band is utilizing the talents of none other than Vince Phung (Gardener’s Logic) as I write this, however they’ve also played with the likes of Dave Pelusi (Fellow Bohemian) too. Safely put, they’ve got the floating bass player gene a lot of bands are born with.
Now to discuss the so close we can taste it A Note to My Folks…
These ever-so-patient musicians have been working on the album at hand for over a year. The songwriting has spanned that time and then some. Time spent is indicated in the variety of genres this album covers with each song. It spans from country to blues to hard southern to alternative to folk rock. It’s an eclectic piece of work; this album won’t just sit in one genre. Recording has been done at MAPS (Music and Arts Production Studio) in Huntington Beach, and the friendships that have come from this process are apparent. This group couldn’t give enough praise to those friendly guys at MAPS that I’m sure you’ve been hearing about lately. Randsburg started rehearsing at MAPS and decided relatively quickly that they wanted to record with these gents (Mike Willson, Ian Bailey, Vince Phung, Jimmy Hua, & Gary Westmoreland). You’ve undoubtedly seen a bill with the likes of Gardener’s Logic and/or Big Monsta sharing the stage with “the Burg”.
It has been a discussion worth having lately, the difference in media a band has to choose from when releasing their music. This very topic is ever fascinating to me since it varies so damn much from person to person. I asked the question “What made you decide on a CD release rather than following the trends of late with cassette or vinyl release?” Eventually, Randsburg will be on vinyl in your local record store, I have no doubt. But for the time being, CD and digital release is the road they’re on. “We don’t do lo-fi,” and how many people really have a cassette player anyway? Let’s get serious.
Where it does cost a bit more to do a hard copy, I’m in agreement that there’s something to be said for holding a CD in your hand. “We want it to have a face. We want it to have an image, a tangible copy, something you can hold as well as something you can consume artistically and intellectually” [Austin]. A digital release is also going to be available for those who’d rather go the instant gratification route. “ITunes or digital downloads seem so mindless. Click download and that’s it, I have my music now. Do you ever remember going to Best Buy and looking for/finding that CD you wanted. You could look at the track listing, album cover and hold it in my hands” [Wyatt]. Wyatt fervently agreed with Austin on the necessity of a tangible copy, though he admits he does utilize digital music, he prefers a “hard copy” of an artist’s work. “We spent 7 months and more money than we had to do this. I want to physically hold it in my hands” [Austin]. Amen!
Favorite place to play in Southern California:
Bryce: Trip, Santa Monica
Austin: Detroit Bar, Costa Mesa (Wayfarer, will it be the same? They’ll let you know)
Wyatt: Schooners at Sunset & King Neptune’s, Sunset Beach
First song you ever remember falling in love with:
Bryce: Calendar Girl, Neil Sedekka
– “I was ten and I played it on repeat for hours every day, until one day it disappeared. I think my parents were over it.”
Wyatt & Austin: Thunder Rolls, Garth Brooks
– (W) “My mom has a video of me at 3 in my underwear wearing a cowboy hat, cowboy boots, with a plastic guitar singing Garth Brooks. Only part I knew was ‘The thunder rolls and the lightning strikes’.“
Favorite local acts:
Robert Jon & the Wreck
Ted Z & the Wranglers
It’s a good thing these guys like Ballast Point, because their CD Release show is sharing the night with a fantastical tap take over at the Wayfarer this Saturday August 16th. Come out and support local music and enjoy a brew or two… or three. Your belly and your ears will want a cigarette after the special night these fellas have planned.
Cheers to all! Looking forward to seeing you this weekend.
Click HERE to check them out on Facebook
Click HERE for more details on their release show this Saturday.
By Tierney Bartling