Zach had me at “Hello.” Literally. I had just wrapped my interview with Leopold and His Fiction when I walked passed The Buzzards of Fuzz. They were setting up their unique and unusual merch booth at Vinyl when Zach Batson smiled and said “Hi” with a smirk that caught my attention. Not to mention the fact that they were dressing a blow-up doll. I had to talk to this quirky bunch. These are the kind of characters that are found in Atlanta.
Zach: You just looked nice and I wanted to say hello. And then she said hello back oh no!
What do I now oh no!? [lol] So, tell me about you guys?
Van: We are a rock and roll band from Atlanta. Ben’s the word one.
Band: Yeah, he’s the word smith.
Van: How would you describe Buzzards?
Ben: It’s heavy buzz rock. It’s desert inspired.
Ben: Yeah, it has a heavy desert influence from Joshua Tree, California. A lot of bands came out of that area that we admire. It’s a major influence and something that this project is moving towards as far as all the branding and everything.
How long have you guys been together?
Van: We’ve been together for three years in March . I know our anniversary unlike these guys.
Aww, you’re definitely the parent of the group, right!?
Zach: No, I’m the only one.
Van: Yeah, he’s the literal one.
I meant band parent.
Zach: Well, we’re orphans in that regard. We’re all a bunch of Bruce Wayne’s and well I’m...yeah, they’re all Robins.
Ben: Damn dude. I don’t want to be no Robin.
Zach: There are good Robins don’t get me wrong. But this isn’t a comic book nerd off interview. This is talking about Buzzards ya know.
Van: For once.
Zach: Let’s focus up. Let’s hone it.
OK, who’s this chick? (Referring to the blowup doll)
Chuck: This is Vanessa. She’s sort of like, I don’t want to say mascot, but she’s been with us since the beginning.
Van: Mannequins are very expensive and they take up a lot of room when you’re playing a bunch of shows. So, we found a blowup doll and that was super embarrassing going into buy it. The lady was like ‘You know this is non returnable, right? I wanted to explain to them that I’m not that guy.
Band: Do you get a lot of returns? Do people try to return these?
Ben: I’m just trying to put a Buzzard head on it.
Band: We’re not trying to advertise here. No blowup doll sponsors please. Anyone else.
Ben: Nah, I’d take a sponsor.
Van: She’s fun. People like to take pictures with her. Sometimes she winds up on stage.
Who blows her up?
Band: It depends.
We take turns.
I had the last one.
Ben: He was just asking for a sharpie because he wants to mark how many times he’s actually had to do it.
Van: It’s not hi quality. I was concerned it might not make it through.
Ben: I’ve never done it once. Nah, just kidding.
Ben: I’ve done it several times. Just kidding.
The Buzzards, made up of Chuck Wiles, Ben Davidow, Van Bassman, and Zachary Batson, proceeded to dress up Vanessa and layout t-shirts and CDs as we talked. One of their designs looked like a image from The Lion King which held true to their desert brand. One of their album cover designs featured Vanessa in a diner holding a plate of something that looked like her baby just hatched. “That was our first EP that we put out” Ben said as I picked up the cd.
Ben: We had a slight name changed. We were Uncle Van and The Buzzards of Fuzz and this is our uncle. But to save everybody the trouble it was just a lot easier to do the Buzzards of Fuzz.
Van: We were gonna change the band name every six months because I thought it was funny and then I got fought hard on that. We started doing well and there were a lot of flyers where it wouldn't fit and a lot of marquises. It just became a pain in the ass to try a shove all of our names onto something.
Zach: You could only hear fuzzy buzzard uncles so many time before you’re like hey this name’s gotta change. You gotta trim the bristle if you know what I’m saying.
The Buzzards describe their music as "the sound of a ‘72 Corvette Stingray plowing through the desert on half a tank of bourbon." If you're looking for a good rock show, then come out tonight and snag a picture with Vanessa.
The Buzzards of Fuzz play April 13 at The Earl 488 Flat Shoals Ave. SE, East Atlanta, GA, 30316.