Leave it up to the young ones to express themselves with all the piss and vinegar that comes from being a disgruntled sub-urban kid, banned from convenient stores for wearing ski masks, says drummer Chris Prince "as a joke" while shopping for candy, disappointing parents by listening to power violence instead of rhythm and blues, and annoying asshole football coaches by not joining the team, as said coaches marvel at the combined 700 pounds of pure terror this band used to weigh in at, a wall the coach could have used on the defensive line. Being outcasts in their hometown was just one element to why Fat Stupid Ugly People came to be. Being damn good musicians are another, and after gaining popularity in the NOLA DIY scene for thrashing the faces off of the veteran rockers, now they have a record.
I can imagine what you are thinking… Joke band, but this is not the case. The offensive child like name is just the beginning for this group of hardcore bandits, because expressing themselves with angst in their hearts after years of being picked on as adolescents has finally paid off, as Hollise Murphy claims "We felt that we would take the three negatives that we have been called at one time in our lives and use it for our band name." Hollise is the singer of FSUP, Lou Fontenot plays bass, Chris Prince on drums, and Angus is the guitarist. With song titles such as "High School Year Books Are Hit Lists With Pictures," Taking Back Dixie Tavern," and a song they wrote for me while waiting for my arrival for this interview, "Ask Me If I Give A Shit," it's safe to say they have remained offensive and somewhat hostile in their young adulthood.
The band started by the inspiration they felt from the music they were getting into in high school, says Chris Prince "We were influenced by really sloppy, street punk music in high school like Aus Rotten, and Charles Bronson." Bands such as Charles Bronson, The Locust, and Magrudergrind are what they wanted to sound like. The only trick was they didn't really know how to play any instruments. According to Angus "We were just learning our instruments back then. Chris already played guitar but we were like fuck it, I started learning guitar and he started learning the drums. We were learning to play to start the band. Hollise "We were already into extreme music, especially considering the environment that we were in. We just wanted to start a band, and we've been tearing up Southern Louisiana since 2004."
Lou Fontenot came late to the group. The original three didn't meet Lou until later on through mutual friends, as Lou explains "Well I've known this fool (Hollise) for a long time, going to shows and shit. I'd never really seen Hollise outside of shows. But we ended up having a mutual friend and met at his house one night and Hollise told me they needed a bassist."
At the time Lou was already involved in punk rock music "High school for me is when I got into underground stuff. Ska-punk first but then I heard Magrudergrind from D.C. and it was downhill after that." Using the negative names they were called in school for the band name is great, but I was curious if the names still fit today, Lou "I'm not stupid but I am getting fat." Chris Prince followed "Yeah we're trying to get Lou to eat more." And Angus "Minus Lou, we have slimmed down a lot over the years."
After gaining some much deserved popularity in New Orleans they got a record deal with I Say I Say Records, founded by Chris Hummel, co-owner of The Mushroom record store Uptown. The band recorded at Festival Studios in Metairie and their Album just came out last month. The Fat Stupid Ugly People Weight Loss Program is the first professional recording the band has done. It can be found at The Mushroom Uptown, Peaches in the French Quarter, as well as Louisiana Music Factory on Decatur Street. I was given a pre-view of the recording and definitely got the impression that these guys are a bit pissed off. And not from the airtight thrash drumming and guitar riffs, but from Hollises' vocals "I think once we all got more into punk and metal we agreed to go in that direction with the music. It's about being an individual and standing outside of the expected norms of society." But it's not all about nihilism or choosing to be on the margins of society. For Chris Prince, it's more about the music "When we first started we were just a bunch of goofy punk rock kids that made fun of everything and thought everything sucked. But I don't give a fuck about politics or punk rock status. I just like to play aggressive fast music that's fun."
Angus follows suit "We just wanted to record punk rock music. But I'm also sick of the music on the radio. It just pisses me off. It all sucks and makes me just want to take a fucking baseball bat to the radio." And if there were to be any Anarchist theme or energy that comes through in the music, it seems to be from the mindset of bassist Lou Fontenot: "Being offensive is a recurring theme. A lot of the anger at least for me, is directed at the United States government. Never answer police questions without your attorney present. But yes radio music usually sucks. It's like McDonalds, filling but with no substance. And some people say our music sucks, but fuck them and I'd like to pee in their mouths."
The first time I heard these guys, years ago after they first started gigging at Dixie Tavern, they seemed to be unrehearsed, too loose in the wrong way, and not very serious. As Chris Prince states "We were actually getting off on the fact that we did suck in the beginning. But we've come a long way since high school, and we've improved a lot." And this is something I can attest to, having watched this band over the years I have seen how they have improved. The riffs are cool, the bass and drums are tight, and Hollise has got to be one of the best front men in the underground scene. Bill Heintz did the cover artwork, drummer in The Pallbearers and Festival Studios did a great job with the recording. Being products of the 80's, 90's, and today's punk rock and hardcore music has proven to be good for these guys, that combined with the years in a playground where they weren't excepted has given them all the fire they need to start their own band. And if you don't like them, they probably don't give a shit.