Monday, May 6, 2013


Photo by Kia Lizak
When I first heard that Fireballs of Freedom were putting things back together, I wasn't sure what to expect. It's not like I thought the guys didn't have the chops to do it (both Kelly and the Leaders and Sammy and Lords of Falconry have played Total Fest the past couple of years), but it's been a few years since FoF "took a break." Although they had "reunited" a couple of times, my fear was that the new reality would be overshadowed by my cloudy, nostalgic memories. 

Excitement, meet pushing 40.

I didn't move to Missoula until 1998 so I can't give you all the dirt and grime that some of our fellow Missoulians can, but I was told that I must see FoF any and every time the local legends played. My neighbors were rabid fans, filling my head with tales of sweaty, drug and whiskey crazed shows, and after-hour parties that would last through the weekend. My neighbors were also kind of crazy -- one time, while playing chess on the porch, a drawer full of knives crashed through the front window. A few speared into the wood and couch, and when I looked inside, female-neighbor was rushing back to the kitchen for more things to throw and male neighbor was reaching for another baking sheet.

Good times.
Anyway, I wasn't sure I wanted to be involved with anything they were involved with. I don't remember all of the ins and outs (who opened, what songs were played, etc.) of the first FoF show that I saw, but it was one of the first times I had seen Jay's packed to the stairwell. When FoF took the stage, I had a few reservations. I lose patience with macho, bro rawk and I have less patience with gimmicks. To my delight, the gimmicks weren't present, and when Kelly Gately (Gator) launched into his dizzying verbal cadence, I knew that I was in for something more than any record could represent (and this was before the music started). Once the first drum stick hit and the guitars flexed and squealed, it went the way as any love story. I was smitten. It was loud, blitzed out, fuzzy, and raucous with some of the best showmanship that I have ever seen. There is a lot of press out there about the Fireballs, but if you're curious about more of their history, check here and here.

Fast forward to the present. I was lucky enough to catch the Fireballs reunion show when they opened up for X at Dante's in February this year. The show was sick and quickly put to rest all of my "worries."


FoF's energy was the same controlled chaos that my patchwork memory put together, but the music possessed a new level of skull swirling psych-scuzz.

Atomic Punk is back, people.

It's a no brainer for us to invite Fireballs back to Total Fest; it should be a no brainer for you to be there when they play. These cats (Kelly, Sammy, Von, and Adrian) are the real-deal. It's a flurry of guitar, drums, and vocals that push the bounds of showmanship while it blisters you with its psych-punk explosions. This space is too small to throw in all the varying stories of the past, so please feel free to add comments and anecdotes. Thankfully, FoF is a full fledged band again, and 2013 provides us a new opportunity to build new memories and friendships.

plus, Gator is wearing a Lubricated Goat shirt!

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