Bomb Pop: A Conversation with Mike Savage of Fudge
For a brief period in the ‘90s, the Richmond, VA music scene underwent a bit of a psychedelic shift. Indie bands such as The Technical Jed and others began experimenting with their sounds and blended together their influences. One such band, Fudge, made two records of blissed out psych indie rock. Though the band didn’t last very long, their legacy is still strong. I had the privilege of speaking with drummer Mike Savage about the band’s career.
Pete Crigler: How did you get interested in music?
Mike Savage: I've loved music for as long as I can remember. My parents played music around the house when I was just a toddler and I can remember listening to Elvis and Johnny Mathis and several other records that were played often. I have a pretty clear memory of two that I felt strongly about, one that I loved and one that I really didn't care for. That was Engelbert Humperdinck and Carole King. I imagine it's obvious which was which. As I got older my older brother got really into country music and we'd listen to records together. There was always music playing in our house in at least one room. As far as playing music goes, I was given a drum kit for Christmas when I was 3 years old or so. One of the children’s kits with paper drum heads that you couldn't tune. I think there was a barbershop quartet or something along those lines on the bass drum head. I played that until all of the heads were torn and then didn't play again until I was 18. I went to college and met a guitar player who wanted to start a band. I figured I could play drums - I was always walking around listening to rhythm everywhere around me - so I thought, "Sure!" I took a chunk of my financial aid money and bought a drum set. And playing has been a part of my life since.
Pete: How did Fudge come together and how would you define the band's sound?
Mike: I was introduced to Tony and Dave through a friend (the guitar player mentioned above) when they had all moved to Richmond to attend college. They shared an apartment in the fan and I started hanging out over there. They had been writing and recording music on a 4-track and they had a small drum machine kicking around so we started playing together, they through small amps and me tapping out patterns on the machine. Not ideal by any means, but it was enough for us to realize that we could probably give it a more proper go. I no longer had that college drum kit but I had a station wagon that I didn't really need in the city so I traded it for a really great 60's Ludwig kit and we started to practice more seriously. I think our earliest music could easily be compared to the jangly Sarah Records sound and also the more shoe-gazey records that were coming out at the time. My Bloody Valentine and Ride. But we all listened to a lot of different styles of music and once we brought Steve in to play bass it started to evolve a bit. We had pop backgrounds and punk backgrounds and dub backgrounds and metal backgrounds. I think we just tried to find a way to make music that sort of touched on a bit of all of these. We definitely became a little noisier and faster near the end there.