from Indio, California
A sweltering night in ‘94 has Mario Lalli, Larry Lalli, and Tony Tornay staying late after hours at Rhythm & Brews, a rock club in the low desert town of Indio, CA. Between slamming beers and flipping through reruns of MST3K and History channel documentaries, talk surfaces amongst the three about starting a band together.
The idea for Fatso Jetson becomes born, and into today, their contributions and impact on the heavy music community continues to receive acknowledgment and credited as substantial.
Fatso Jetson’s sound stood out from their contemporaries in part to their unique combination of Sabbath-like heaviness, played at various tempos and in jazz- associated time signatures, along with the saturated reverb tone of surf guitar to accompany it all. This sound got the attention of SST Records head honcho, Greg Ginn, and he committed to releasing their first two records on the SST imprint when he caught their live set on a billing together. Their debut record in ’95 is Stinky Little Gods, with sessions recorded at the Lalli’s Rhythm & Brews and features a direct punk/surf vibe throughout the ten tracks. In ’97, The Power Of Three album is released and features their first time experimenting with jazz textures by bringing future member, Vince Meghrouni, into the fold to add some brass power to accompany their driving rock sound. Shortly after the release, a west coast tour ensues alongside Kyuss a s well as the addition of Brant Bjork (Kyuss, Fu Manchu) on the second guitar for a brief period. Split records with Fu Manchu and The Bloodshot materialize, shortly upon the tour’s completion.
In ’98, the SST era concludes, and the band is approached by Bongload Custom Records to record for the label, the result being their genre-defining album Toasted. Fatso Jetson enters Monkey Studios with Chris Goss, the producer of Kyuss’s Blues For The Red Sun to man the production helm during these sessions at Monkey Studios, with the result being a record that, sonically speaking, is a total departure from their previous two releases. Abandoning the clean tone grooves that are prevalent throughout their first two full lengths, the material on Toasted catapulted the band into newer, heavier territories with thick, heavy riffs dominating the songwriting, throughout the nine tracks. The tracks on Toasted have become fan favorites and are mainstays in Fatso Jetson’s live sets, to this day. Shortly upon its release, Man’s Ruin Records, the cult label headed by Frank Kozik, extended an additional opportunity to record for his imprint, the result of the working relationship culminating in the explosive Flames For All album. The album comprises of nine tracks with songwriting rooted in ethereal sounding harmonics, layered over bulldozing riffs and hammering percussion. Knowing where to go to get such an ethereal effect, the band recruits their longtime friend and musical collaborator, Gary Arce (Yawning Man founder) as the second guitar. At the end of the year, Josh Homme (Kyuss, Queens Of The Stone Age) invites members of Fatso Jetson to participate in his Desert Sessions project for Man’s Ruin Records on the Volume III and IV releases.
Through ’99 and into the new millennium, Fatso Jetson develops further as Queens Of The Stone Age invites them to tour Europe as direct support and regional tours back in the US occur, with stops in Austin, TX for the ’99 and ’00 SXSW Man’s Ruin Records showcases. Arce departs shortly after these runs and the band, back to being a trio, begins writing material for what will be their next full length, Cruel & Delicious. Recorded and released in ’01 at Donner & Blitzen studios, under the guiding hand of producer, Mathias Schneeberger, the sessions culminate into an album that has a strong, blue-collar feeling and brings genres such as hard rock, jazz, and blues together in the 13 tracks. It’s an album, which Mario Lalli describes as a personal record, in part to the nature of the topics addressed and the events going on in each member’s life at the time. Cruel & Delicious receive great reception amongst the music press, including praise Spin, Ox-Fanzine, and All Music Guide. The band calmly steps into the shadows for a hiatus but occasionally plays shows around the Southland, including stints with Beck, Eagles Of Death Metal, The Meat Puppets, Fu Manchu, and Queens Of The Stone Age. In ’03, they ar e awarded “Best Rock Band in Los Angeles” by the LA Weekly newspaper for their work and performances.
Their recording hiatus ends in ’07 with the release of their first live album, released by Los Angeles label, Cobraside Distribution, as an exclusive vinyl recording. The material caught and documented during the raucous set at Hollywood club, Safari Sam’s, authentically captures the raw power and atmosphere their sets are capable of delivering. The LP also marks the first recording with longtime collaborator, Vince Meghrouni, as a full-time member.
In ’10, the group returns to Donner & Blitzen to begin work on the Archaic Volumes sessions, their first full length of new material in eight years, released by Cobraside Distribution. Shortly after the album’s release, the revamped Fatso Jetson embark on a European tour alongside The Atomic Bitchwax, with stops in a sold out house to perform at Roadburn Festival (Tilburg, Holland) and a headlining performance at Stoned From The Underground (Erfurt, Germany). During the same year, a split 7″ between Fatso Jetson and Oak’s Mary is released. ’13 marks a significant year in Fatso Jetson’s world, as Mario’s son, Dino Lalli, is recruited as a permanent member on the second guitar. The same year, a limited split 12″ with Yawning Man materializes to coincide with a European tour package of the two, which includes both groups co-headlining Desertfest London and Berlin. In ’14, the band is featured and highlighted on the Foo Fighters album documentary “Sonic Highways” during the segment of the desert music scene and Go Down Records releases two records of the group. A 12″ split between Fatso Jetson and Italian psych rockers, Herba Mate and a second live album, Live At Maximum Festival, with a return to Europe ensuing. ’15 has the band partnering with their current label, Heavy Psych Sounds, for a split 12″ release of Fatso Jetson and Los Angeles space rockers, Farflung, along with another European tour that includes a stop at Desertfest Belgium.
‘16 brings the new Fatso Jetson record, Idle Hands, their second release on Heavy Psych Sounds and a new 7″ split single with Dutch surf rockers, del-Toros, on Shattered Platter. Another European tour, this time with Swedish doom group Greenleaf, occurs and Fatso Jetson becomes one of four featured artists in a rock photography exhibition held in Verona, entitled Vibrasonic. In early ‘17, the trio embarks on their debut US tour on a package bill with The Obsessed, Karma To Burn, Weedeater, and Primitive Man along with another trek across Europe. In 2019, Fatso Jetson is writing their next release while playing local shows around California, including the inaugural Heavy Psych Sounds Fest in Downtown Los Angeles.