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DEREK FUDESCO: TEN YEARS GONE
About a month ago, Famous got an email from Pretty Girls Make Graves bassist Derek Fudesco. Turns out he was coming back to Fresno for the first time in ten years, and he wondered if there was anything to do that week.
Well, hang out with us, naturally.
Member of much-loved Seattle rock bands the Murder City Devils, Hookers, and now Pretty Girls Make Graves, Derek is currently working on the group's third record, and collecting a mind-bogglingly good roster of artists for his very own Cold Crush record label.
Featuring artists like (ex-Fresno) Cobra High, press favorite Mahjongg, math disco siren Anna Oxygen, and A Gun Called Tension, everything Cold Crush puts out is so good you just want to jump for joy.
Famous asks him the hard questions.
Fresno Famous: What was your first instrument?
Derek Fudesco: My first instrument was a bass guitar. I got it from the music shop that used to be behind the bank in the Tower District.
FF: What drew you to music in the first place?
DF: I moved to Fresno when I was 11 and didn't make any friends for a long time. I met this kid Carter when I was 13, he played me the Vandals and the Misfits and he played guitar. I worshiped him at the time and he pretty much got me into everything.
FF: You were in Queen Maab, Hookers, Murder City Devils and of course Pretty Girls Make Graves. How do you think your song writing has changed over time?
DF: I would like to think I'm getting better, but I don't really know. All of those bands were bands where everyone contributed to the songwriting.
FF: Do you find your writing style is more influenced by the people in your group or the music you happen to be listening to on your discman/ipod?
FF: Do you own an iPod?
DF: Yeah, it's my third in a year. They keep breaking.
FF: Do you prefer to develop songs in a rehearsal studio or on your laptop/acoustic guitar at home? I read that you carry a tape recorder around and that you use it to record song ideas; are there any PGMG tunes of yours that began life on a tape recorder and ended up on an album?
DF: A lot of the bass lines I come up with start as humming. "Blue Lights" off of The New Romance for sure.
FF: You've been working with Steve Aoki of Dim Mak Records [Bloc Party, Dios, The Kills] for a long time, and you released the first PGMG EP on his label. How'd you guys meet and how has your relationship developed over time?
DF: [PGMG guitarist/keyboardist] J knew Steve. He wanted to do a CD version of our first EP. We just got along really well. I wanted to start a record label but didn't know anything about it, so we started one together. I love Steve.
FF: What the hell is Cold Crush Records?
DF: The name is borrowed from the Cold Crush Brothers. Hopefully they wont sue us.
FF: When is the new Cobra High album coming out?
DF: As soon as they finish recording, we will know a date. It takes about four months from the time a band turns in the finished record to when it's released.
FF: What was it about Mahjongg's sound that drew you to them? You signed them without having seen them. You must have liked them ...
DF: I loved it. A friend gave me a copy of it, and I put it on and it just blew me away. There was a phone number on the CD and I just called them and said I wanted to put out their record. I don't think they trusted me for a while. Until I met them in NY. They are such a great band.
FF: As I understand it, you started Cold Crush to help promote all the cool Seattle bands that no one else was picking up on. How would you describe the local scene in Seattle? Who are your fave local bands?
DF: I don't really feel like a part of the Seattle music scene. Pretty Girls tours so much that I'm never here. Some of my favorite bands here are A-Frames, Cobra High, Blood Brothers, Anna Oxygen.
FF: Why live in Seattle? Do you like it? Why not NYC or SF or something? Do you ever think about moving?
DF: I think about moving all the time. I think I would move to LA, my closest friends all live there. But it's hard, we all need to live in the same place right now ... At least until the record is finished.
FF: I heard you used to hop trains ... the obvious question is why?
DF: It always sounded so cool in books. I wanted to try it.
FF: What's the best train hopping story you've got? You've got to have some kickass stories, right?
DF: I have a lot of gross stories. I did it once with some friends from Oakland to Portland and we got into this car as the train was pulling away. It was one of those open cars that's hauling a big cargo crate and you have a little room on either side of it. We noticed that the crate was leaking a bit and the smell was something awful. About an hour into the ride most of the ground was wet with garbage juice and maggots and we had to stand with our heads in the wind for like 6 hours until the train finally took a break and we could find a better car to finish the ride. The entire train was hauling garbage but we found a car that had scrap metal and wood. There are tons of stories like that.
FF: Now that you are all grown up, what do you think about Fresno?
DF: Seems like there are way more interesting people there now.
Visit Cold Crush Records at http://www.coldcrushrecords.com.