The following is a guest post by Kevin Ian Common. If you are interested in guest posting, please contact me!
Hello, Kind Readers!
I’m taking a break from my usual column to talk about a movie. “Fuzz: The Sound that Revolutionized the World” is a movie directed by Clif Taylor in which he investigates the history of effects pedals in rock–namely, the fuzz box. He interviews contemporary pedal makers from the likes of Z.Vex to Death By Audio and vanguard pedal makers like Electro Harmonix. The insight from each interview is quite telling. You see everything from highly organized assembly lines to dirty desks littered with parts and pedal enclosures.
What makes this movie interesting is not only the rich history of effects pedals, but the varied perspectives presented throughout the movie. One on hand, you have the pedal makers and their loyal fans and users who speak of uncontrollable tones and noises and their value in modern music. On the other hand, however, you have guitar techs and audio engineers who speak of the difficulty associated with boutique pedals and their unpredictability.
The nature of forums and blogs discussing effects (much like this one!) is also discussed in great details from every side. The brutal honesty of those interviewed–irregardless of their views–is refreshing. They also tackle the mob mentality of the pedal business, ripping off circuits and designs, and buzz words that are often overused and misunderstood: transparent, true bypass, and amp-like.
This movie is not only for people who love gear, but for people who simply appreciate music as well. There isn’t too much “Shop Talk” to completely lose the casual viewer. Most of the terminology isn’t too complicated either. What you discover is that these pedal makers are regular people. Sure, they might have some screws loose–much like us musicians in general!–but they started out as everyone else–with an idea. This idea grows into a business, then they are making some of the most sought-after pedals in music today.
Overall, I enjoyed this movie. I tried to remain as vague as possible because I would like everyone even remotely interested to watch the movie. It was so fantastic I watched it three times in a row!
Watching this movie may prompt me to write a few philosophy-angled columns about effects pedals. In the meantime, see this movie! Thanks for reading 🙂
– Kevin Ian Common
Kevin Ian Common is a multi-instrumentalist who would love to plug in effects pedals to drums. He is currently in The Common Men, a Post-Punk trio from Northern California. You can find them @ www.myspace.com/thecommonmen. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter. Please direct questions/praises/rants/flames to firstname.lastname@example.org