Given the name, it should probably come as no surprise to you that a certain drug has a fairly heavy role in the creation and inspiration for music of Houston band Bong Wizard.
The band bring us a slow and laid-back stoner rock sound that’s laced with deliciously dirty, fuzzy guitar riffs. Our latest taste of this is the excellent Left Hand Pass, the title track from their debut album, which was released last month.
It opens up with drawn-out guitars over a bubbling bassline, which continue under laid-back, echoey vocals. A big fuzzy riff suddenly jumps in and feeds into another mellow verse, then more riffs return accompanied by gruff shouty vocals. Give it a listen below:
The album is packed with weed-inspired tracks that are filled with big filthy riffing. For example, Christ is Resin opens up with a cool low-tuned fuzzy riff then feeds into creepy echoey vocals over a lingering low-tuned guitar, then drops into heavier guitars under booming cries of “Christ is resin.” Give it a listen below:
While the guitars are at their fuzzy best in the band’s debut track Believer’s Hit, check it out below:
We had a chat with the band to find out a little more. Read on below…
GR: Who are Bong Wizard? And where are you from? What’s the backstory, how did you get together?
BW: “Bong Wizard is a few people originally from Houston, TX that primarily live on the West Coast now. Michael and I have been in many bands together since we were in high school, but wanted to do something a little heavier and slower. We formed this band just as a form of creative output, but it really blossomed into this whole persona that just kinda took off from there.
GR: You just released Left Hand Pass. What should people be expecting from the song? What inspired you to write it?
BW: “We’re pretty big potheads, in case you haven’t noticed, so we made Left Hand Pass as a play on words with Entombed’s Left Hand Path, and Musical Youth’s Pass The Dutchie (to the left hand side). It’s the title track for our debut album, and somewhat of a culmination of all the styles of music we want to perform. It has a little bit of a psych feel, but then gets really heavy and slow towards the end. It takes you on a nice trip, and drops you off in the riff filled land.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
BW: “Slow, loud and bangin’.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
BW: “All our songs are about weed! We take influences from everywhere though, I think as a band we probably have a pretty eclectic musical pallet. From classical to rap, from Sleep to Huun-Huur-Tu, we’ll jam just about anything to get the juices flowing.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
BW: “For BONG WIZARD, probably bands like Sleep, Weedeater, Electric Wizard, Conan and Monolord to name a few. But we also take a lot of influence from elsewhere. Music doesn’t have to be limited to a specific genre to be influential, and sometimes you can find the best inspiration in music that doesn’t relate to yours at all.
“I think while we were writing the album, I was listening to a lot of post-punk. That stuff is full of creativity and you can take a lot of lessons for songwriting from those genres. Also, gotta give it up to DJ Screw for the inspiration to make slow music. That guy was a Houston legend and although the music is very different, the idea of making something slow and groovy transcends genre.”
GR: What have you got coming up in 2020?
BW: “We are currently working on a follow up EP coming out this summer called The Bong Remains the Same that will be a little bit more of the drone/Sunn 0))) style of songs. Keep a look out for it!”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
BW: “It is best enjoyed while sparking up a fat doobie with a friend. Cheers!”