Welcome to violence

Over 20 years later, Buzzov-en returns to Dayton

Photo: Vocalist and guiarist of Buzzov-en, Kirk Fisher

By Gary Spencer

It happens every so often that a musical entity somehow remains a thing despite what seem to be unsurmountable odds such as drug addiction, mental illness, homelessness, and pure bad luck. North Carolina sludge metal band Buzzov-en is a group you could make such an argument for, and in spite of all the obstacles, they’re somehow still here and for the first time in over 20 years the band will be playing in Dayton this coming Saturday.

Buzzov-en was formed in 1990 by vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist Kirk Fisher. According to Fisher, the band and its harrowing, ugly, discordant, anguished, noisy and harsh music served a personal purpose.

“I felt an extreme need to channel my anger, hostility, and general disregard for doing anything laid out by society’s norms,” Fisher explains. “I was raised in a strict Catholic household and had a difficult time dealing with anything. I was angry as hell and to be honest I don’t know exactly what I was angry about. I think I was born into existence angry. I look back now and realize with all the emotional problems and untreated mental issues that I probably would have been in prison if it wasn’t for Buzzov-en.

The band had no name for a while, but a strange event happened to Fisher where he had a revelation and inspiration for what to christen his new ensemble.

“It came from staring at the back of the Melvins record Ozma,” he explains. “I was highly influenced by that record and the song Oven and the lead guitarist/vocalist Buzz just seemed to have a ring to it. Then satan whispered in my ear and said ‘go forth and spread the hate in your heart and bring chaos, confusion, and insanity to wherever you may roam.’ I took his direction to the T.”

Buzzov-en then began to spread the hate, chaos, confusion, and insanity beginning with the release of its 1992 debut EP Hate Box. With that release and its subsequent efforts the band became recognized as one of the pioneers of the sludge metal subgenre. But even with this distinction, Fisher feels it’s a bit inaccurate.

“Black Flag and Black Sabbath are the two most prominent (influences) but I was also into RKL, Dr. Know, Bad Brains, The Melvins, Neurosis  – I feel you can hear a little of all those bands in us,” Fisher says. “We actually had more intensity and kinetic energy that I don’t see how 98% of the so called sludge bands have nothing in their music that sounds like Buzzov-en. I think we set the stage for that sludge tag but not really we both had more punk influences than metal and sludgy swamp s***.”

But where Fisher and Buzzov-en really hit home on a personal level is through the lyrics to the band’s songs, even to this very day.

“All of my lyrics are words written during periods of homelessness, hopelessness, and drug induced confusion,” says Fisher. “There was a lot of hate, f*** you and this sucks.”

Following the band’s heyday in the mid to late 1990s, Buzzov-en hasn’t released any new material since the early 2000s mainly due to Fisher’s issues with a variety of personal demons.

“The main reason has been my personal struggles with drug addiction and being very mentally unstable – that has been the number one factor to all the chaos of things coming and going,” Fisher says. “I wish I could get the eight years back that Buzzov-en did nothing but I was so intertwined into my worship of everything that could fill a syringe. It’s nothing short of a miracle I’m still alive.”

But following a chance reunion in 2010, Buzzov-en has emerged from the shadows to become an on-again, off-again entity in the musical world. And while the band has yet to release any new material, Fisher says his creation of new audio monstosities has been far from dormant but his mindset and approach is much different these days.

“We are recording a demo in November that will serve as the prequel to a new album – there will be a new Buzzov-en record next year no matter what,” he says. “Lyrically now it’s still a pure release of emotion but no more meth, crack, or heroin to make the lyrics even more delusional. It seems being off the hard drugs has my true mental health issues flood to the surface. Let me tell you things were more sane being on drugs than off them.”

In the meantime, Buzzov-en invites you to come witness the carnage in the live setting this Saturday at Rockstar Pro Arena.

“The Buzzov-en live experience is like a train wreck on valium,” Fisher says. “Don’t remember the last time we were here but we are hoping that we can draw a good number of this newer generation that loves heavy music and are blindly following a path of evil and destructive ends. I will be preaching the end times message direct from Lucifer, our lord and savior. Come get ya some.”

Buzzov-en performs this Saturday, Nov. 4 at Rockstar Pro Arena, 1106 E. Third Street in Dayton. Earthride, Bearer of Bad News, and Funeral Moon open. Tickets are $13 in advance, $16 at the door. Doors open at 7pm. For more information, please visit www.RockStarProArena.net

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Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com

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