WORM – First of all, thanks so much for taking the time to do this. Could you tell us a bit how Big Scenic Nowhere got started?
BALCH – Gary had the name a few years back and they did a few gigs but that’s it I think. I’ve known Gary since 1997 or so. Fu Manchu practiced in his house in the desert around then. Last year he came back from tour and posted a Del Taco pic. I commented with my usually order of a regular red burrito with sour cream. Right after that he called me and said that we should jam and call it Doom Buggy. I said sure, we jammed but then I learned that Doom Buggy was taken already so he offered up Big Scenic Nowhere.
WORM – How did the name Big Scenic Nowhere come to be?
BALCH – It’s a street in the desert. He named the band after that. I’ll include a pic
WORM – You have contributions from so many amazing talents on “Dying On The Mountain.” How did you all decide who to get involved?
BALCH – We just started tossing names around. I’ve known Nick Oliveri since 1997 too. Fu Manchu toured Europe with QOTSA back then. We brought him up, I offered Tony Reed. He’s super talented. Fu just got off of tour with his band Mos Generator.I’ve done interviews with THE WELL for my site PlayThisRiff.com. I thought they would be a good fit. We both know Mario Lalli. Mario and Bill Stinson play in Yawning Man with Gary. I’ve done PlayThisRiff interviews with Mario as well. Nick too now that I think of it! And Thomas from Monolord is on the site too! So is Tony Reed. I guess we can credit the site. Ha!
WORM – What is Playthisriff.com all about?
WORM – Do you have a wishlist of musicians you would like to work with Big Scenic Nowhere?
BALCH – It’s giant! We are already talking about the next record and who to ask. The list keeps growing and some people have already said yes. Don’t want to jinx it but people are gonna flip out.
WORM – You and Gary have very unique and different styles. How would you describe your style and Garys style?
BALCH – I’m all over the place. I teach guitar for a living so I’m forced to learn a bunch of different styles. For this stuff though I wanted to be fuzzed out because I thought that would be a good juxtaposition against his dreamy delay drenched guitar and odd tunings.
WORM – The tones you guys got going on this record are amazing. Can you tell us about what gear you used when recording?
BALCH – I used my signature Rola amp, a bunch of pedals but my main fuzz was a Regulus VIII by Creepy Fingers Effects. Nick used his QOTSA SVT which I was super stoked on! Gary had a 70s Fender combo. A 6×12 I thing. It’s was super tall!
WORM – Speaking of your signature amp, you recently announced you have your own Rola model. What is that thing all about?
BALCH – It’s like an 80s Marshall 800 but with KT88s and an extra master volume. I love Rola. They are killing it!
WORM – I also saw recently that your Fu Manchu band mate Brad Davis, who also is the mastermind of Creepy Finger Effects, made a Balch Fuzz pedal. How did that happen come about?
BALCH – I do a strange thing in the studio with FU. Two fuzz pedals at once. One has the bias control choked to act as a gate and the other fuzz is super blown out. The combo sounds insane. Davis found a way to make that sound with one pedal.
WORM – Is your live setup usually different than what you use in the studio? How do you get that Fuzz tone live?
BALCH – I use a Creepy Fingers Regulus VIII which kicks major ass. But now that Brad Davis built “The Balch” I’m good to go! That’s pretty much my studio sound.
WORM – How did the writing process for Big Scenic Nowhere go?
BALCH – Gary and I jammed for 5 hours. I recorded it. I went home and arranged the riffs into songs. Then I brought those demos into a real studio to have musicians play over them to get actual takes. After that we emailed stems to singers/synth players. Per from Opeth played Synth on the long jam. Tony Reed did too.
WORM – What is next for Big Scenic Nowhere?
BALCH – Full length comes out early January named “Vision Beyond Horizon.” Alain Johannes is on that one. We are also going to do a three day jam session with a bunch of musicians in November that should be released summer 2020.
WORM – Did Alain Johannes produce the full length as well as perform on it?
BALCH – No, he offered up killer vocals and guitars but I guess we all produced it. I oversaw everything but everybody contributed a ton.
WORM – How would you describe the vibe of “Vision Beyond Horizon?”
BALCH – Songs. Lots of influences but Pink Floyd shines through. Soundgarden too. It’s all over the place really.
WORM – Anything in the future from Fu Manchu or Sun and Sail Club?
BALCH – Fu Manchu is going to be really busy 2020. 30th anniversary! We will be touring a bunch and playing songs from our entire catalogue! We are also working on an EP now too! Sun And Sail is always on my mind. I have like two records ready to go! Just trying to find the right time to get that going again. Those dudes rule!
WORM – Anything else you would like us to know?
BALCH – Eddie and the Cruise 2 (not one) and Shock Em Dead are the two best movies ever made
I wanted to thank Bob Balch for taking the time to do this interview. Be sure to keep an eye out for the release of “Vision Beyond Horizon” from Big Scenic Nowhere in 2020. In the meantime you can head over to bluesfuneralrecordings.bandcamp to get “Dying On The Mountain.” Or, you can purchase the vinyl here. Mr. Balch as some big things coming in the future. New Big Scenic Record, New Fu Manchu and possibly a new Sun And Sail Record as well.