Jay Allen Sanford 4:30 p.m., Sept. 20
Freak the Mighty
RIYL: Fuzz-Huzzi, the Drapes, Buckley's Ghost, Rock Star Club, Kings of Leon, P.O.D., Coldfire, Social Distortion, Dueling Dragons, Sublime, Velvet Revolver, Alice in Chains, Foo Fighters, Rocket from the Crypt, Rolling Stones, Switchfoot, Screaming Trees
- "Fuzzy Wuz a Band" · April 10, 2013
- "Fuzz-Huzzi, at the Brick" · Dec. 7, 2011
- "IB Okay" · Nov. 9, 2006
Inception: San Diego, 2012
Influences: Social Distortion, Foo Fighters, P.O.D, Operation Ivy, Ben Harper, Weather Report, Cheap Trick, Rock Star Club, Michael Jackson, Rolling Stones, Sade, Elvis Costello
Freak the Mighty was founded in 2012 by two former members of Fuzz-Huzzi, singer/guitarist Allen Camp (whose old band Misguided Children spent a lot of time in a van eating peanut butter in the late 1980s and early 1990s) and guitarist Adam Baez.
One of Camp’s day jobs has been serving as music program director for the City of Imperial Beach where he oversaw a 32-track digital recording studio located at I.B.’s Sports Park on Imperial Beach Boulevard. The studio -- with microphones, guitar amps, and a drum set -- was made available for the use of any local teens that want to record. Through that program, in 2005, Camp recruited teen whiz Adam Baez for Fuzz-Huzzi.
Camp was one of over a dozen players who were with Fuzz-Huzzi at one time or another, and was in fact the only remaining founder when Adam Baez joined. The band’s troubled tour history led in part to its eventual demise.
According to Camp, “We once had three dates canceled in a row in Medford and Eugene, Oregon, during a three-month tour. I just remember us being in a Laundromat with a local mag, looking for places to play. We wound up playing at a club in downtown Eugene during their bar-bingo night. We won all the bingo money and scored a gig for the next night, too. The downside is that we were on a budget and spent the night in our Astro van outside the Walmart, where it was about 25 degrees.”
“Oh, yeah, and that time our drummer almost got us shot in Texas was pretty gnarly.”
Guitarist Adam Baez says Fuzz-Huzzi was already splintering before starting an 80-date tour in 2012. “A couple of months before the first leg, Pete [Abdou, drummer] informed us that he had to take an opportunity to drum tech for the Danish band Volbeat. We started the tour with fill-in drummers and, on the turnaround before the last leg, Ivan [English, bass] quit the band due to exhaustion and family matters he had to attend to.”
Freak the Mighty drummer Tim Duff actually began playing with Camp and Baez during the Fuzz-Huzzi dayz. “Duff filled in during a 2009 tour when Chuck Chaffin quit, so Duff was familiar with the Fuzz-Huzzi material,” says Baez. Then, during the troubled 2012 tour, “Allen’s uncle drove Duff from Phoenix AZ to Durango CO to fill in for a show, and urged Duff to join the band for the entire eight hour drive.”
“He relocated to San Diego,” says Baez. “He’s sleeping on my couch.”
After being signed to Kings Ransom Records (the same label that Fuzz-Huzzi worked with, a spinoff from Kings Ransom Studio in Lakeside), Freak the Mighty made their concert debut May 17, 2013, at the Kensington Club. The Fuzz-Huzzi album Camp and Baez were working on became a Freak the Mighty effort, with Duff and Tseng now aboard.
So how has Baez managed to maintain two bands with Allen Camp, when so may others moved on during the Fuzz-Huzzi years? “Allen and I never gave up on each other,” says Baez, who made his Fuzzy debut at the P.B. Block Party in May 2004. “I grew up in Imperial Beach, and I met Allen when I was in high school. My parents are drug addicts, so my grandparents raised me. Allen had a similar upbringing, and he really helped me through a tough time I was going through. Over time, we became family.”
“Allen and I have developed something special over the years,” says Baez. “I notice all the things we have done together over the years and how many dream of mine that I’ve seen come to life over the years, and it’s kind of hard to imagine stopping after all that we have built.”
Despite two former Fuzzies manning the helm, Baez said the new group has “A different sound and energy to it. [We] took some of the funk roots out and replaced it with a heartfelt, solid-rock rhythm section, giving the music a heavier Southern California rock sound.”
The band's final performance was at the San Diego County Fair in 2013. Baez recalls "A couple days before the show, we had a band meeting and learned that our drummer Tim Duff felt obligated to move back to Phoenix. A few of us were also going through some personal family emergencies that needed to be attended to. As much as it broke our heart, we agreed to put Freak the Mighty to rest and go our own directions."
On the Del Mar stage, "It was a bit of a sad experience but, since we knew we would more than likely never play together again, the energy was on fire. It was a summer evening set and we must have played for a couple thousand attentive people. It was intense!"