Lost in Ohio is reissuing Fluffy’s long lost third album Sugar Pistol on limited-edition clear vinyl and all digital streaming platforms. Click here to pre-order now!
Fluffy’s Sugar Pistol is really two albums by two different bands based in two different cities. One, sludgy post-punk from Southern California; the other, studio-driven shoegaze out of Nashville. But after re-naming the band, re-titling the album and changing the artwork, one could be forgiven if you’ve never even heard Fluffy’s weird and dreamy split-brain finale. But then again, little about Fluffy’s story was conventional.
In 1991, Mike Knott wanted to release ten albums in a single month for his Blonde Vinyl label, but he was one band short. Engineer Chris Colbert, already recording several of the other releases, saw an opportunity to have some fun and offered to be the tenth band. He assembled a few friends and Fluffy was born.
Within a week, Fluffy had written and recorded Fluffy Luvs You, a straightforward punk rock album paying homage to the band’s bassist Jeff Beans. Beans was a founding member of The Detours, which later morphed into the legendary punk act The Adolescents. Fluffy played a few shows, most notably opening for The Crucified at an Orange County church while tripping on shrooms. A year later, Blonde Vinyl asked for a follow-up and the band regrouped, quickly writing and recording a Melvins-tinged post-punk album titled Go, Fluffy, Go! A few shows later and the band’s members moved onto other things.
In 1995, Chris Colbert moved from Southern California to Nashville. He paid the bills by engineering numerous albums at Neverland Studios, including notable releases from The Choir and Morella’s Forest. In Nashville, Colbert met Alex Parker through mutual friend Daren “Klank” Diolosa. Parker needed a roommate and Colbert needed a room. Parker, a former employee of R.E.X. Music, had recently started indie label Flying Tart. He had been a fan of Fluffy and offered Colbert $5000 in exchange for a new Fluffy record. Never one to turn down a paycheck, Colbert agreed.
With the rest of Fluffy back in California, the process of making Sugar Pistol would have to be very different. The album essentially took shape as two different bands performing as Fluffy, Colbert being the only person to perform on all of the tracks. The noisier post-punk numbers (e.g. “Shrimpy Brine” and “Dead Horse Grin”) were written and recorded by the original band at The Green Room in Huntington Beach. The remaining tracks were recorded in Nashville during improv studio sessions with Steve Hindalong (The Choir) and feature contributions from Jason Martin (Starflyer 59), Ronnie Martin (Joy Electric) and Riki Michele (Adam Again). The Nashville tracks sounded markedly different, flirting with elements of dream pop and space rock.
This hodgepodge somehow worked, resulting in what was by far the most diverse-sounding and experimental Fluffy album. Flying Tart released Sugar Pistol in late 1995, but had trouble getting record stores to carry the CD, many of whom balked at the innuendo-laden album title and imagery. Around the same time, UK rock band Fluffy were preparing to make their major label debut and offered Colbert a cash payment if he agreed to stop using the name Fluffy. Still not one to turn down a paycheck, Colbert happily agreed and the album was pulled.
Colbert decided to rename the band Duraluxe, a reference to the shoddy acrylic paint from Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Bluebeard. The album, now called Rock Music W/ Singing, was eventually re-released by Flying Tart in 1997. With all the confusion surrounding the re-release and name change, the album only managed modest sales. Colbert added to the chaos by starting a brand-new, completely unrelated band in Nashville also named Duraluxe.
The fact that Sugar Pistol reached such a small audience is really a shame; the songs are among the strongest in the Fluffy catalog. The California iteration was Fluffy at its post-punk peak — songs like “Shrimpy Brine,” with its layers of screeching guitars over a hypnotic Jeff Beans bass line, were a refinement of style. In Nashville, meanwhile, the musicians experimented wildly in the studio. The influence of The Choir is most prominent, with drummer Steve Hindalong contributing lyrics, vocals and percussion to multiple tracks. Elements of jangle pop and shoegaze also found their way into the mix, with natural comparisons to bands like My Bloody Valentine and early Mercury Rev.
Lost in Ohio is pleased to be reissuing Sugar Pistol on super limited-edition clear vinyl, with artwork recreated from the original photo negatives. It features an analog remaster from Fluffy guitarist (and mastering engineer) Chris Colbert, and lacquers cut at legendary European shop The Vinyl Room.