Gazing at the Reverbnation press kit page for Miami alt-rock quartet The Super Fuzz, my aging eyes were drawn to a stat chart I didn’t even know existed: a demographic breakdown of the band’s listening audience. Now, I get that these numbers are derived from some cheeseball space-age algorithm based solely on who logged on to the band’s Reverbnation page, not a random survey of the band’s audience on the last tour or even a unit-by-unit assessment of CD or download sales. But let’s entertain the numbers briefly, just for fun’s sake.
First, of The Super Fuzz’s 2,459 Reverbnation fans, 71 percent are male. Are they D&D players or single dads? Who the hell knows? But according to the algorithm, 71 percent have a penis. The majority flew in (virtually, anyway) from Facebook; a few others trickled down from Twitter. And almost all of them are from Florida.
The most alarming stat, though, is the age breakdown. A small percentage of listeners fall into the 25-34 and 35-44 group, but a huge number clock in at an ominous 45+. OK, I most certainly fall into that category, and the guys in the band are probably hitting that mark themselves (if they haven’t already). But I thought people with penises approaching 50 stopped listening to music and focused on things that really mattered, like golf carts and hair replacement treatments.
Yet as stated clearly on their press page, The Super Fuzz make no bones about drawing heavily from classic rock and ’90s hit lists. They cite The Beach Boys, Jellyfish, Cheap Trick, Weezer and Foo Fighters as influences, so it makes sense that graying, hunchbacked, mosh-phobic Floridians would be attracted to the band and their new album, Super Famous.
Hearing album-opener “Surprised Your Boyfriend’s Still Around,” I’d put The Super Fuzz in the Cave Dogs/Smithereens camp, hard-driving and raw, yet melodic and decidedly poppy. Track two, “Hooked,” is more playful and Weezerlike in a late-’60s sort of way, ironically documenting lyrically the social networking phenomenon and its effect on the ego. Both songs are sing-alongable, which is good for old bastards like me; the lyric repetition makes the song easy (or, more accurately, easiER) to remember.
A few songs in, “Promises” pops up, a mid-tempo near-Beatles ditty that bemoans the tragic loss of love. Something akin to a midlife crisis anthem, “Promises” benefits from big organs and a reverby guitar solo. It all harks back to ’70s rock balladeering. You know, like Cheap Trick used to do. Which is to say, just like The Beatles.
Maybe we should take a moment and address the obvious. Every non-Beatles band listed above was essentially a new rendering of The Beatles. Weezer, Cheap Trick, Smithereens, Cave Dogs, et al, drew deeply from The Beatles’ rock catalog. It’s frightening the influence the four Liverpool lads had on all of us, regardless of age, and I can attest the influence is still alive. My daughter’s favorite record right now is Abbey Road. She literally knows every word on the album (excepting those of “Something” which, she says, despite her love of George, is her least favorite Beatles song).
Please forgive the digression: I’m old, and I have a penis.
Moving on, “Lover’s Homicide” is too bluesy for my taste, and the lyrics (“Hey, you keep licking me the wrong way … you keep fucking me the wrong way”) come across as an aging rocker’s attempt to sound edgy. But, having spent the last decade playing local dives, I know plenty of 45+ers who would probably find this tune a splendid erectile dysfunction aid.
“Love Everyone” falls right back into Beatles camp, a slow, moody pop ballad with the Big Build before the chorus. As much as I want to hate this song, I like it. It’s formulaic and melodically predictable, but damn if it’s not catchy as hell and, thus, very likable. Jumping to the album-closer, we have an apropos big rocker, part bluesy barn-burner, part Cheap Trick at Budokan shouter, called “Speedball.” Super Fuzz even tips their hat, both lyrically and melodically, to Cheap Trick’s “Clock Strikes 10.” Can you hear the crowd holding up cell phones in appreciation?
If this comes across as somewhat derivative, well, it is. But remember, The Super Fuzz doesn’t care. They just want you to get your old bones out to a show and shake what you have left, before it falls off. And this is the kind of music you can do it to without too much worry. Just make sure your healthcare premiums are paid in full.