Fu Manchu: Kings of the Road Arrive in Boise

“You Must Obey: Kings of the Road Roll Through Boise”

By Katy Dang

Boise Weekly | February 26, 2008


This is what you need to know about Fu Manchu: if you listen to hard rock, you will like them; if you’ve ever contracted Blue Tile Fever, you will love them; if you’ve ever flown a Mongoose, you already know them.

The living gods of So Cal stoner rock are set to hit town (finally), on March 4. They’ve skirted through the region before, and fans have had to hit the road to see them, but now they’ll be right downtown at the Bouquet.

Fu Manchu has been playing since 1990, and has put out some stellar records, including 1997s The Action is Go and 2002’s California Crossing. The latest, 2007’s We Must Obey, falls right in line with their consistent style of fuzzy guitar rock. Along the way they have offered versions of favorite songs such as Blue Oyster Cult’s “Godzilla” and Devo’s “Freedom of Choice,” which gives a pretty good idea of their influences.

The band is led by songwriter Scott Hill on vocals and guitar, Bob Balch on lead guitar, and Brad Davis on bass. Former Kyuss drummer Brant Bjork played with the band from 1997 to 2002, and Scott Reeder has been with them since. The drummers changed, but the sound remains the same; a tight groove, heavy on the cowbell, with Hill’s patented riffs providing a framework and letting Balch sear right through the middle.

The band hearkens back to the California lifestyle of the 1970s, with skateboarding, bicycle motocross, Op shirts, El Caminos and custom-van action leaving the greatest marks. It’s a way of living that still pervades their sound.

Check them out: slip-on Vans optional.