The current incarnation of Fu Manchu has been in existence since early 1997, with new members Bob Balch taking over lead guitar duties, and Brant Bjork (former Kyuss drummer) taking over drumming department. The first major release for the band was Bong Load Custom Records: "NO ONE RIDES FOR FREE". Songs like "SUPERBIRD" and "OJO ROJO" certainly awoke the music world to the onslaught that is FU MANCHU.
With the help of playing countless Southern California shows in the early 90's, word of mouth began to spread. The solid rumble of drummer Ruben Romano combined with the soulful guitar tones enhanced by singer Scott Hill's nonchalant vocal style garnered many fans who just want to enjoy good times and heavy rocking' songs. Song topics such as fast cars, cherried-out vans, pinball playing, loose women, strange people and other everyday enjoyments. Other artists such as Kyuss, Monster Magnet, White Zombie, Clutch, and The Melvins have either shared the stage with Fu Manchu or continue to this day to go to their shows in search of a good time - which is always delivered.
Daredevil , the next release on Bong Load, gave birth to the song "TILT"; which was made into an award winning video (OK.. it should have been an award winning video). The video followed the story of a young Brad Davis's (Bassist of the band) quest to win the local pinball championship. Brad was filled with dreams of winning the championship, and scoring with a pinball goddess chick. Scott Hill and the rest of the 'CHU all played the tournament.. but lost.. leaving Brad the winner (the games were played on a classic KISS pinball machine- COOL!)
Following in the success of "Daredevil" and "No One Rides For Free" the band released its major label debut: ".. In Search Of". This masterpiece of ass grooving rock music was released in 95', and launched a video for "Asphalt risin". This video chronicled Fu Manchu's roadie Dylan, as he drove around looking for UFO's, Bigfoot, and some woman that could bend spoons with her mind. Fu Manchu spent the video rocking out in a tent. And on a side note; Scott Hill played the part of the bigfoot (yes that’s him in the costume!).
Personally, I (AJ - The Chu Webmaster) had the pleasure of seeing Fu Manchu rock out 2 times during that great summer of 1996. First time I wasn’t allowed into the show because I wasn’t old enough.. so I spent the night behind the club's rear door listening to the good times; and even got a chance to see the MANCHU roadie (from the "Asphalt risin" video), and the other FU members take their equipment out and load it into a u-haul trailer (COOL). The next night I traveled to London, Ont. where the MANCHU made their next stop (previous night was in Toronto). I saw them play (this time I got in..).. I had a good time.. and I even bought a T-shirt (the classic Manchu car.. and racing stripe shirt ..which included 2 stickers free as a bonus) .
Currently Scott, Brad, Bob, and new drummer Scott Reeder are getting ready to blanket the nation with good tunes/times in support of the new Full Length release California Crossing. This year will see the band undertake a full scale tour of North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. They may even head back to play Japan. And after that? As long as the times are good, and they are still into it..The band will record, release and then once again tour the globe.. making sure each and every heavy music lover gets a chance to see a live performance. Every ass will be kicked. None will be spared. As a wise man once said: "Gas, Grass, or Ass, No One Rides for Free"
Now go out there.. pick up all the MANCHU albums you can. So what if they are expensive? if they are imports, then spend that extra money you cheap-ass.. they are worth every damn cent!!.