Premiere: Strawberry Fuzz, ‘Dropout’

Strawberry Fuzz (Photo by David Perlman)

Strawberry Fuzz carry the torch of L.A. punk music — catchy and caustic, strident and streetwise — and while they’re not using it to burn the whole place down, they’re stoking familiar fires.

Barely a year after releasing a 10-song collection of demos, the quintet this week releases their debut album. It’s titled “Strongs Dr.” (after the street in Venice Beach), and it’s a crucible of L.A. life. “The album is a blend of all the people I grew up with in L.A.,” vocalist Colby Rodgers says. “Stoners, pill heads, downers, uppers, straight kids — it’s pretty much all in there.”

With Strawberry Fuzz headlining the Troubadour tonight, the band today introduced the album with the single “Dropout,” a 2 1/2-minute appraisal of some of those kids from school who didn’t hit the books as hard as they hit other things. “In high school, it was casual to see kids taking pills in the bathroom,” Rodgers says. “South L.A. is a nice beach community, but a lot of kids were getting into heavy shit fast. Luckily, I was a stoner back then so, I didn’t get caught up in the oxy.”

As evidenced by the three-song “Wasting My Time” teaser released in November, the band — Rodgers, along with guitarist-keyboardist Alex Arias (who also produced), bassist Dashel Dupuy, guitarist Kris Miller, and drummer Andy Warren — have plenty more in their crosshairs. They call out the homogenization of L.A.’s beach cities, the scene kids of the so-called Eastside, surfer cliques and poseurs wherever they see them.

“Some of the best nights making the album were just sitting around Alex’s studio trying to come up with lyrics or tracking little bits and pieces,” says Warren, the hard-hitting drummer. “We’d pass around a bottle of Jameson, sitting in a cloud of cig smoke, sometimes ’til the sun would rise. This album captures the energy of our live show in a way that our other releases haven’t. The sounds are way bigger. It’s hard to bottle up the vibe of the live performance, but we found rad ways to figure that out. For ‘Wasting My Time’ and ‘Corner Store’ we applied different techniques, like recording the guitar, bass and drums all at the same time to try and bottle that energy up between us.”

Guitarist Kris Miller adds, “I wanted to punch myself in the face multiple times during the recording of this record. I’m glad we’re done.”

||| Stream: “Dropout”

||| Live: Strawberry Fuzz headlines the Troubadour tonight, joined by Beginners and Cheer Up Club. Tickets.