Fujita Scale describes their music as a little Americana, a little Suburban Blues, with a touch of “Tornado-Rock”. There was definitely a twister happening at The Toad Tavern Friday night.
Vocalist Brian “Tree” Roundtree, Matt “Action” Jackson on Bass, Ken “Leroy” Goodwin on Guitar and Swede Grooms on Drums really bring originality and a cyclone of talent to this band.
This band classifies themselves as a level F6 on the Fujita Scale. They say “this trailer-tossin’, relocating whirlwind of rock is capable of rearranging the landscape in front of it. Basement and week’s supply of food and water is recommended for survival.”
They were once “trapped in suburbia, but are now emerging from the basement and bringing some original, tornado tripping, roots rock to Colorado and the world.”
They have certainly been influenced by the music world in general.. from Dylan to GnR to Buckcherry, Hendrix to Stevie Ray to Johnny Lang, Ray Charles to The Constellations, Black Crowes, Black Sabbath, Black Keys to Truth & Salvage Co., Clapton to Eddie Van Halen to Slash. Neil Young to PearlJam.Jagger to Weiland. The Stones to Zepplin. Blues Brothers to the Reverand Horton Heat and back. John and Paul, Plant and Paige. Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Albert King and Junior Wells to Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears. Les Paul. Elvis. Chuck Berry. Just to name a few.
Matt states that Fujita Scale was born when he and Brian met at a Black Crowes concert at Red Rocks. Brian said it was more of a drunken conversation, but however it happened, the wind whipped up and hasn’t stop blowing since.
Brian Roundtree is the perfect example of a prodigy. He started singing in the shower after the release of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. He attempted to sing Johnny B Goode at the age of 11 or 12 in front of an audience, got stage fright and choked. A few months later he recorded it in a studio in Pacific Beach CA in a little studio that would set up the track and record your vocals for $5.
Born as a Leo in Phoenix, Arizona, Brian has two brothers that also Rock-n-Roll and two sisters who like the fact that they have brothers that Rock-n-Roll. I have not had the chance to meet Brian’s mother Peggy in person, but have chatted with her on Facebook and can tell you….she is definitely proud of her son. I don’t blame her. Brian’s father played guitar in high school and jams every now and then with Brian, but Brian regrets that he never had his father teach him how to play when he was young.
Brian says he wants to be Mick Jagger when he grows up. While he is a little hard to keep track of through a camera lens on stage, I’m glad he’s not Mick Jagger. Brian has his own stage presence that no one can imitate and is thrilling to watch. It probably would surprise you to know that Brian admires Tony Bennett even though if he started his car right now Grace Potter and the Nocturnals would start playing.
Brian’s favorite song Fujita Scale plays is Shotgun Sally because of its tempo and contradictory lyrics. He said they borrowed Chuck Berry’s signature opening lick from Jonny B Goode for the intro and then Bob Seger’s riff from Get Out of Denver and the lyrics about a woman who says one thing but does another just came to him instantly…hmmm…..I won’t take offense to that and still love ya Bri!
Brian’s spare time consists of his kids, the time he spends with his wife, concerts and snowboarding. When you go to their next show, buy Brian a shot of Patron or bring him a Reese’s peanut butter cup, he loves anything with chocolate or peanut butter.
Matt “Action” Jackson was born right here in Colorado. He lettered all four years in high school in swimming and wanted to be a policeman when he grew up. I for one am glad he chose to pick up a bass and meet Brian at that concert at Red Rocks instead. He self taught himself to play the guitar at age 13 and has been playing bass the last two years. His band mates would like him to move around more on stage but I think he has enough talent to keep you intrigued while staying in one spot.
Matt enjoys Elvis and any blues or classic rock band and thinks people would be surprised that he also enjoys Lyle Lovett. His first rock album was Bob Segers Old time Rock and Roll. This is Matt’s first band and I would say he is off to a great start. He feels this is right where he is supposed to be because when he and Brian found Ken and Swede it all clicked right away. The music between the four of them just flows so effortlessly. This is right where he wants to be and I don’t blame him.
When Matt is not performing or rehearsing with Fujita Scale, he enjoys watching sports teams, softball and barbecuing ribs. I’m hoping to do a review on those ribs in the future. He enjoys reading Rolling Stone and Sports Illustrated and I bet The Scoop 303 will be on that list also.
I know you will be surprised to know that one of Matt ‘s skills is that he can “Sew like the Wind”. Really glad the hair and spandex scene has passed or he would probably be making amazing costumes for the band too.
When I asked Matt if he ever traveled out of the country his response was, “Mexico, Canada and Oklahoma (but that’s another story)”…guess we will have to find out more of that story later. Maybe over Barbecued Ribs.
Matt likes Crown Royal, Pecan and Coconut Cream pies and usually dreams about flying or floating higher. He doesn’t know what that means but I think it means this is only the beginning for Matt “Action” Jackson and he will be in the whirlwind of the F6 tornado hitting Colorado and beyond.
Ken “Leroy” Goodwin was born in Washington D.C. and started formal training of the guitar at age 9. He didn’t like the regimentation and dropped it completely after one year. Thank goodness at the age of 21 he decided to pick it up again and joined Fujita Scale in 2011. He likes the chemistry and the interaction he has with his band mates and it certainly shows on stage.
Ken tried basketball in Junior high but it didn’t work for him since he is a non-competitive Leo. He likes Classical music but his favorites are Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and 70’s Funk music. His first rock album was Foghat’s Fool for the City. He was fortunate enough to see Van Halen in 1978 opening for Black Sabbath in West Germany. If he started his car right now, Classical music would play. Way to fight the road rage Ken.
Ken’s former bands include Heartbeat, Funk Munks,The Ricky Earl Band, Second Chance, Subtle Edge, Bow Street Band. When I asked Ken what inspires him to write a song he said, “Songs come from every direction and any inspiration”. He hopes in the next 5 years that the band grows and becomes locally famous. I think they will go beyond that. He hopes to stay healthy and remain employed.
Ken doesn’t follow sports (the non-competitive thing I bet) but likes to watch news channels, movies and Family Guy animation type shows but watches everything on the internet. He only reads online so I bet The Scoop 303 is in his favorite bar.
Ken went to high school in Germany and traveled all around Western Europe. Wonder if that is where he picked up his love for Chocolate and Crown Royal? He enjoys playing his guitar because it is peaceful and rewarding. I think we are the ones getting the reward of his playing.
Swede Grooms last band “imploded”. Isn’t that something that happens in a tornado? Must have been what happened when he was looking for another band and in walked Tree and Matt. The rest is history. Swede is amazing to watch, twirling sticks and all, he is a whirlwind behind his kit. He enjoys playing with Fujita Scale because they are like brothers and have a lot of fun. He thinks the audience might think he is goofy and flashy at the same time and I have to agree. He is fun to watch but amazingly talented at the same time. You would think the way the sticks spin he would be a breeze on the computer but surprisingly only type’s one letter at a time.
Swede started playing the drums in 5th grade. He doesn’t remember why he picked the drums but just knew that was the instrument he wanted to play. His Dad took him to a music store and bought him a snare. Thinking back he doesn’t know why his Dad did, but he loves the fact that he did. I asked him what other instrument he would want to play if he had to but had no idea there was anything else but DRUMS!!!
Swede was born in Inglewood California and is still a Lakers Fan. He has one little sister Julie and was a band geek so no sports are in his past, but he still was on the football field at halftime at every game.
Swede love racing BMX and just wants to be care free and have fun when he grows up. Swede has way to many favorite artists to list but you might be surprised to know he likes Tom Jones, old school and anything from the late 60’s to early 70’s. His first album was Sugar Hill Gang’s Rappers Delight, but if you count 8 track (and if you don’t know what that is Google it), it was The Beach Boys.
Swede’s first band was High Risk when he was only 14. In High School it was Midnight Raid, MAYA, Quick and Dirty. He has a side project happening of Outlandos Del Mar/Surf Tunes.
I asked Swede how hard it is to continue to concentrate and play when there is someone in front of them dancing worse than Elaine did on the Seinfeld show. He said,” Tree is always in front me and I always tell him, Good Job Bro”.
His favorite Fujita Scale song is Ken’s Funk Jam because of the funk and lyrically. “It’s always different and fun to listen
to”. Swede would love to see Fujita Scale on a late night talk show and maybe that will happen soon with his determination.
Swede’s goals are to see his daughter through College and open a small business. He likes the outdoors; hiking, biking, skateboarding and snowboarding. He loves pro cycling, football, basketball, rally racing, monster trucks, pro beach volleyball snowboarding, freestyle BMX and surfing team and THE BRONCO’s!!! Wow, amazing he has time for music. Swede can actually ride his bike backwards.
He has visited The Caribbean, Cancun and all over Baja. He disagrees with Tree and loves a good Tequila but “not that Patron crap”.
Fujita Scale is hoping to get out a LIVE album by spring. They have been playing all over Denver and have been well received for almost a year. My next contest for Hope Haven (www.hopehavenmusic.com) will be young bands doing songs with their own twist and inspiration. The rendition of Bob Dylan’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door that Fujita Scale did Friday night will be my example for these prodigies. It was chilling to me. You knew what song it was but they twisted it like a tornado and I was in awe. I love how they put themselves into covers to turn it into their own. This band is going to be an inspiration to my young prodigies and I hope this F6 never dies down. Catch a listen www.reverbnation.com/fujitascale
See the rest of the pictures from this show at http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.352286964783123.95799.100000054670928&type=3&l=804e7887d1
Please catch Fujita Scale at one of their upcoming shows. I know you will not be disappointed.
Thursday, January 19th, Doors Open at 8:00 PM
Lion’s Lair, 2022 East Colfax Avenue Denver, CO 80206
Friday, January 20th, Doors Open at 8:00 PM
Bender’s Tavern, 314 E 13th Ave Denver, CO 80203
Sunday, January 29th, Doors Open at 8:00 PM
Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom, 2637 Welton St Denver, CO 80205
Saturday, February 4th, Doors Open at 9:00 PM
Sidekicks Saloon, 2695 W 92nd Pl Westminster, CO 80031
Next week I will be reviewing The Hurricane. Rachel Jane and The Hurricane that is, Thursday night at Ziggies.