Out of Boone, RUGG
Tears It Up
By Kreig Marks, August 2022
KM: Hi guys. Welcome to Tru Rock Revival Magazine. We've recently relocated to Asheville and we're celebrating this move over the next few months, by featuring some of the top rock bands in North Carolina. So, that's why you're here. Let's get this started. Who are you guys?
RUGG: We are a heavy Psych Rock/Garage Fuzz trio hailing out of Boone NC, recently located to Asheville! We have a somewhat non-traditional setup with guitar, baritone guitar and drums, which allows us to make some crazy soundscapes & high-octane fuzz Rock. Brendan Grove plays guitar and sings, Brandon Mangano plays the baritone, and the wonderful Carolyn Becht is on drums.
KM: How did you get together?
RUGG: Brandon and Brendan had an extremely shitty band in high school playing Black Keys covers, and it laid the groundwork for what was to come. We both discovered Psych Rock around the same time, and from that moment we knew what we had to do. Carolyn and Brendan played together in a Funk band called Speedball for a while, where they learned the ropes of the DIY scene. Brandon came to live in Boone, and we hit the ground running. We released an EP with a different drummer but when Carolyn joined, the stars aligned, and our work had just begun.
KM: You're a relatively new band. How are you promoting yourselves? Self -promoted?
RUGG: Brendan just graduated with a degree in digital marketing from App State-- promoting and social media are his bread and butter. We have only been around for a little over 2 years, but we have built quite a following in the greater NC region, and a good amount on social media, too. Now we get to open for groups like Acid Dad, Spaceface, and Hot Garbage, with intentions to go much further! We are going on our first extended tour in September, all completely self- booked. We are also signed to a small DIY label in Charlotte called How's The Pie Records who help us out from time to time. DIY music is very much alive and we've realized anything is possible.
KM: With your first tour scheduled, will you also do some shows outside the state?
RUGG: Yes, we are heading south! Starting in Blacksburg VA, we're going through Charlotte, Atlanta, Athens, Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, and Miami (2 nights)! We're traveling with Seismic Sutra, another great psych band out of Asheville, who happen to be our very good friends.
KM: Who are the bands' influences?
RUGG: Growing up we all listened to Garage Rock, Punk, Classic Rock: Black Keys, Ween, Black Flag, Bad Brains, White Stripes, Rage Against the Machine, for example. This developed our love for riff- based music, as well as heavier and fuzzier futures.
While Carolyn turned her focus to Electronic Music (and you can hear it in her drumming), Brandon and Brendan dove into classic and contemporary Psych Rock. There we found our home and set out to carve out a special slice of the psych rock pie for ourselves. Our biggest influences in our sound have to be Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, & Frankie and the Witch Fingers, but we take incredible influence from many different places.
KM: Who would you love to tour with?
RUGG: Thee Oh Sees, they are the godfathers of Modern Psych Rock and our sound, although distinct, would be incredibly harmonious.
KM: Most memorable fan interaction so far?
RUGG: We were playing at Skylark Social Club in Charlotte for the first time, opening up for some classic rock/jam bands, and after our set a very inebriated individual came up to us and throughout our (20+ min) conversation, he made it a point to tell us that we "ripped his fucking dick off" and "melted off his fucking face" at least 10 times. It was the response we've been waiting for. His wife had to tear him away and was apologizing on his behalf. We loved it. LOL!
KM: LMAO!!! Hilarious. The venue you guys love to do a show at?
RUGG: We would love to play a show at the Death By Audio stage in Brooklyn, NY. Death By Audio makes the guitar pedal that is the backbone of our sound: Fuzz War. They have done multiple live shows/recordings in the past and press them on vinyl. I hope someday we can make it to that room. A venue we love to play at is the Milk Parlor in Blacksburg VA. It's an amazing basement venue, serving grilled cheese and white Russians.
KM: Sounds great! Anyone you'd like to thank or give a shout out to?
RUGG: We'd like to thank everyone in the Boone music scene. Without them we could never be in the position we're in or have the overwhelming support.