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Brad Davis of Fu Manchu talks his latest project, DUNSMUIR

David Morales


DUNSMUIR is a tribute to old-school heavy metal that consists of a timeless collaboration of legends in the industry. Providing a new look to an old-school sound, DUNSMUIR captures the classics with the drummer Vinny Appice of Black Sabbath and lead singer Neil Fallon of Clutch. Now, DUNSMUIR’s bassist Brad Davis of Fu Manchu, tells College News what it’s like working with the team.  In our interview, Brad discusses the complexities of the heavy metal industry that make DUNSMUIR both an exceptional treasure and an historical milestone. But what makes DUNSMUIR different to past tribute bands? Not only does DUNSMUIR make up incredible stars like Dave Bone of The Company Band, but they give their fans a blast of that traditional heavy metal.    

“My taste in heavy metal tends to stick with the classics. Our influences primarily include Black Sabbath, Dio, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and a lot of British heavy metal bands”—Brad Davis

Brad also informs College News a bit about their creative process and how the band has come together over the past few years.

College News: How did DUNSMUIR come together?

Brad Davis: I’ve known Dave, the guitar player, for about 24 years. We grew up together in Del Toro, California. The first time we played together, I joined The Company Band. He already had it going with Neil, who is also the singer of DUNSMUIR. The Company Band put out a full-length [album] and an EP. After we did that, we had both discovered that we had been privately writing more metal type riffs. So we started to build. Then we hung out with Neil when Clutch was playing a show in Anaheim. Neil asked us what we were up to, so we told him about the project and he said that he wanted in! At that point, we knew we wanted to do it right, so we tried to think of who we could get to play drums. I was not even serious at the time, but I was like, how about Vinny Appice; one of our favorite metal drummers of all time. We were pretty excited when he got back to us and said he was into it.

Read Interview: Clutch with Lamb of God at the Rock N Derby


CN: What is the purpose of DUNSMUIR?

BD: My taste in heavy metal tends to stick with the classics. I figured it couldn’t hurt to have a new record come out that shared our collective tastes.  

CN: What can you tell me about your new album DUNSMUIR?

BD: The record itself took a while to do. I recorded it with a guy named Andrew Giacumakis. I met Andrew through a mutual friend in LA. He plays with a band called Moab. He mixed and recorded his album and I loved it! So I was like “oh damn—we’ve got to hit this guy up!” So we ended up doing a Fu Manchu 7” with his band Moab. Then we did the Fu Manchu record “Gigantoid” with him. It went really smooth and we were happy with it, so we figured he would be a good match for DUNSMUIR. Like I had mentioned, it was a pretty long process because we are limited to working on the weekends and as we were recording, we were hearing the band for the first time. So we finished up around the summer of 2015. As far as releasing it, it is something that we wanted to do carefully because it had taken so long. We have been planning it carefully for years.  

CN: What’s it like playing with a legend like Vinny Appice, the drummer of Black Sabbath?

BD: Our influences primarily include Black Sabbath, Dio, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and a lot of British heavy metal bands. My favorite style of metal drumming stems from the old-school birth of heavy metal, which most of the time came from Jazz-influenced drummers. Both Vinny and his brother Carmine were big into Buddy Rich. For me, it creates a more fiery, soulful, style of drumming rather than the clinical or technical style that became more popular. We wanted the record to have that kind of tone and his contribution was invaluable.

CN: I had an interview with JP Gaster from Clutch earlier this year and he would definitely agree with you there. Do you guys have any tour dates planned with Clutch or the other bands you are associated with? 

BD: I haven’t planned much as far as playing shows or touring. Even recording the record took forever because everyone is so busy. When Clutch isn’t playing a show, they are writing a record, and Vinny is all over the place. He is, like, flying everywhere from shows to drum clinics and of course I am in Fu Manchu. I’ve a less active schedule than they do, but still, it’s enough to throw a wrench in the process of putting together touring dates for shows. I know that we would like to. I guess it is a question of: Is there a demand and do our schedules line up? We have only been in the same room together during pre-production. But I know we would be interested in touring. Hopefully people wouldn’t be mad that we only had 10 songs. It would be a short set.

CN: What would you like your fans to know about you?

BD: I love music. All kinds of music make me happy. This was just another opportunity that helped make people’s summer better. I’m hoping that people are going to enjoy our record and have a good time. That’s what I like to do! Im also going to be touring Europe with Fu Manchu and we are putting out a 7” in a couple months. 

With this creative collaboration of stars, DUNSMUIR puts together their full-length album. Now you can check out their 10-track record on Bandcamp.

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