By Bob Ruggiero
By Hilary Hughes
By Peter Gerstenzang
By David R. Adler
By Devon Maloney
By Brian McManus
By Jessica Hopper
By Harley Oliver Brown
Gerhardt "Jerry" Fuchs readily admits his Williamsburg apartment is a "dump"it took his landlord three months to fix its leaky roofbut his schedule won't afford him time to revel in the dilapidation. "I stand to be home for no more than two days at a time," says the compact, mustachioed drummer/percussionist.
The 32-year-old is crossing the U.S./Canadian border on a bus containing the bi-coastal, post-funk disco collective !!!, which Fuchs joined late last year, in time to contribute to their excessively danceable second full-length, Myth Takes. At May's end, he'll meet up with Athens, Georgia's instrumental quartet Maserati, wherein he assumed beat-keeping duties in 2005. (Custody of Fuchs will volley between the two bands throughout the year.) Over the last two years, the in-demand native of Marietta, Georgia, has appeared as a member of neo-ravers the Juan MacLean, as well as Turing Machine, the Kraut-flavored math-rock trio he co-founded in Brooklyn over a decade ago.
!!! vocalist/percussionist John Pugh likens Fuchs to "a robot built by cavemen: It has extreme precision, while remaining primal and hairy." Justin Chearno, guitarist for Turing Machine and Panthers, says his bandmate's propulsive drumming stylecharacterized by protracted, pulsating rolls and bass notes that vibe like cinder blocks dropped on a cement floorfollows from influences like Billy Cobham (Mahavishnu Orchestra), Klaus Dinger (Neu!), and Stewart Copeland (the Police). "Those dudes fill up a lot of space when they play," Chearno notes.
Another of Fuchs's major touchstones is spaced-out German psychedelics Ash Ra Tempel, which he introduced to Maserati guitarist Coley Dennis. "I just completely fell in love," says Dennis, adding that "Echo Waves," a composition from the 1975 album Inventions for Electric Guitar, spawned the first track on Maserati's second full-length, Inventions for the New Season, out June 19 on Temporary Residence. Dennis and Fuchs both point out that the songs on Maserati's first substantial offering since 2002's The Language of Cities eschew the crescendo formula to which many post-rock groups, like Explosions in the Sky, adhere. The loud/quiet/loud is replaced with rhythmically powered and inflatable structures, reminiscent of early-'70s Pink Floyd, that allow for little meandering. "Jerry's naturally more of an up-tempo player," Dennis says. "That's a contributing factor to how the songs have evolved."
Inventions is easily Maserati's most thrilling (not to mention exhausting) effort to date. And Fuchs, 32, says he is finally able to rely on music to pay his bills. (He cites previous careers as a clerk on Wall Street and a freelance graphic designer, working for a children's book illustrator or turning out "things you do for a [friend's band] for a six-pack.") When he returns to Williamsburg in December, he'll likely hook up with Turing Machine to work on a follow-up to 2004's Zwei; also, "I'll either look for [design] work or see if someone needs a drummer for tour," he muses. "I don't like to sit still."