The Fuzztones were formed in the summer of 1980 in the bowels of NYC's Lower East Side, by Rudi Protrudi and Deb O'Nair after the breakup of their former band, Tina Peel. They were soon regulars at legendary NYC hotspots such as CBGB, and the Mudd Club. Originally a foursome with Protrudi doing duty on vocals and guitar, fifth member Elan Portnoy was added on guitar in 1983, while Michael Jay replaced original bassist Randy Pratt. Replacing original drummer Michael Phillips wih Ira Elliot in 1984, the Fuzztones recorded «Bad News Travels Fast», their debut single. The band created a raunchy sound they referred to as «Grunge»… Lead guitarist Elan Portnoy is credited as playing «lead grunge», at least a decade before the Seattle Grunge Invasion. They followed it up a year later with their first full-length, «Lysergic Emanations».
This New York City-based psychedelic/garage rock combo played a large role in the mostly underground '60s revival during the 1980s. The album's popularity lead to a tour supporting The Damned. The tour gained them a solid fan base in Europe, but exhaustion and a number of bad experiences (including Protrudi being shot in Lyon, France) led to the breakup of the band shortly after returning to the States. Almost immediately Protrudi and Jay began plans to reform the Fuzztones, but in the midtime began working as Link Protrudi and the Jaymen, originally focusing on covers of Link Wray songs, but eventually making original music. Protrudi and the drummer for the Jaymen, Mad Mike Czerkaj, relocated to Los Angeles in 1987, and formed a new version of the Fuzztones, releasing the album «In Heat» on RCA in 1989. Further lineup changes occurred in 1990, and the band released two more albums, «Braindrops» and «Monster A-Go-Go» before dissolving in 1992. Protrudi released a solo album in 1993.
Rudi Protrudi began working with former band members again in the late 1990s, leading to a reunion of the «In Heat» lineup in 1997, followed by reunions of members of the New York versions of the band in 1998 and 1999. The band officially reformed in 2000, with Jake Cavaliere of the 1990-1992 version of the band returning on organ, and new members Johnny DeVilla and Andrea Kusten on guitar and drums. Deb O'Nair returned officially on organ in 2001 along with another returnee from the early '90s version of the band, Phil Arriagada, on guitar. The new lineup recorded «Salt for Zombies» in 2003. Deb O'Nair left again 2005, and much of the lineup again changed in the band, with a number of members of Bonniwell Music Machine coming aboard. The album «Horny as Hell» was released in 2008 with the lineup of Protrudi on vocals and guitar, Lana Loveland on organ, Lenny Silver on guitar, Rob Louwers on drums and Screamin' Bo on bass.
The band formally relocated to Europe at the end of the decade, with Czekaj returning on drums, Fez Wrecker on bass and mid-2000s guitarist Vince Dante, along with continuing members Protrudi and Loveland. In 2011 the band released a new studio album, «Preaching to the Perverted».
2015 marks the 35 year anniversary of The Fuzztones and will be commemorated with the re-release of 2 versions (the original UK cover and the later US cover) of the legendary «Lysergic Emanations» on vinyl, which also celebrates this year its 30th anniversary. Included 5 bonus tracks from John Peel BBC sessions.
«Basically, every single song on the LP is a classic, and I could rant all year about each and every one. «Gotta Get Some» is slaughtered - again, it's the guitar solos that really stand out! Kenny and the Kasuals' masterpiece of mystical musical madness «Journey To Tyme» is next under the Fuzztones' choking grip: «I don't care if I never come back!» ...Man, who would ever wanna return from something this good?»
«A fab studio LP released originally in the UK and then, with new graveyard cover art (by Protrudi), and two different tracks, in the States. The sound is pure sixties garage punk – the Seeds, Chocolate Watchband; Yardbirds, Animals, ? and the Mysterians, Standells, Shadows of Knight – produced clearly but without any excessive slickness. Absolutely first rate.»
New Musical Express
«PURE GARAGE drool from a band who learned every lick they ever played from Lenny Kaye's «Nuggets» primer and the Cramps' «Psychedelic Jungle» songbook. The Fuzztones ooze with glow-in-the-dark-grunginess, a psycho-delic monstrosity that squeals like some pet your parents flushed down the toilette when you were a kid. The beast bites back with a set of fresh-from-the-sewer-whole punk scratchings simply gorged with guitar effect. A frenzy-filled freak-out attack which you will either swallow whole or spit on the sidewalk.»
«Brusquely bracing Sixties album. Fiffty trillion times better than the FLESHTONES, probably distant in-laws of the Cramps, the singer halfway into the madhouse. Ultra melodic but arranged in such a way nobody hankers for their old days.»
«Music from underneath your garage and could easily be the soundtrack for The Addams Family or Munsters television shows. Ghoulish production, superb songwriting, and a lead snarl all delivered by Rudi, that're guaranteed to give you psychedelic nightmares.»
«Now in full swing, this beast gives birth to it's problem child…the first full elpee, released in 1985. This is one grotesque, magical, spooky trip through the canyons of your mind…down into the darkest resess and the deepest hole!!! A complete hallucinogenic hell-trip!!!»
Elan Portnoy - Guitar
Michael Jay - Bass
Ira Elliot - Drums
Deb O'Nair - Organ