The Buzzhorn Biography
Last updated: 12/17/2002 08:58:09 PM
• Bert Zweber – guitars
• Ryan Mueller – vocals
• Todd Joseph – bass
• Rob Bueno – drums
Acclaimed for their "trademark balance of melodic moodiness and stadium-sized power" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), the Buzzhorn have earned an intensely loyal fan following via two self-released albums and tireless touring throughout the Midwest. "DISCONNECTED," the Milwaukee-based band’s Atlantic Records debut, is an electrifying collection of mightily melodic rock ’n’ roll with an inventive, aggressive edge. Powered by guitarist Bert Zweber’s sweeping sonics and lead singer/lyricist Ryan Mueller’s roughhewn, impassioned vocals, tracks such as the extraordinary "Ordinary" and the unstoppable "Rhino" reveal the Buzzhorn to be a thrilling new band whose drive and talent will most certainly connect with rock fans everywhere.
Inspired by a diverse range of music, the four members of the Buzzhorn first came together back in 1996. "You could tell right from the first practice that we had the chemistry," bassist Todd Joseph says.
"We all really like the same stuff but we come to it from different places," notes Mueller. "I think it helped bring diversity to our music."
The band decided right from the start that they would devote themselves to writing and working out material before hitting the Milwaukee club circuit. "We stayed in the house for two years and just wrote," Joseph recalls.
"The plan in the beginning was to just write all original music," says Mueller. "We weren’t going to do any covers, and we weren’t going to play a show until we felt like we had a solid set, so we took a year and a half and basically wrote our first independent album."
1998 saw the Buzzhorn finally emerging with their self-released "A COMPLETE PACKAGE OF ACTION-PACKED TRAGEDIES." The album – recorded on a shoestring budget in just three long days – drew instant local acclaim, as did the band’s powerhouse live sets. The shows were marked by the Buzzhorn’s dynamic musical vision as well as ever-increasing crowds drawn by the band’s insistent self-promotion..
"The minute we decided to start playing live, we knew that the advertising and marketing had to be larger than life for us to have the kind of shows we wanted to have," Joseph recalls. "We went into debt for each show, buying half-page ads in the local papers, and flyering until we were exhausted."
"After a short while, we were headlining," Mueller continues. "By the time we were ready to do our second album, people were really anticipating it."
Once again the band pooled their cash to record and release 2000’s "THE BUZZHORN." The eponymous album garnered substantial attention in the Midwest, enabling the band to take their live show to cities like Kansas City and Chicago. The Buzzhorn soon signed to Atlantic and found themselves venturing out to sunny Los Angeles to record their major-label debut with producer Howard Benson (P.O.D., Motörhead).
"To go out to Bay Seven and work with Howard, it was pretty amazing," says Joseph, a skilled engineer in his own right. "Howard’s a genius. His knowledge of theory is just crazy. It was humbling."
"Howard is a hands-on, full-on producer," Mueller says. "If he doesn’t think a song is a slamdunk, he’s not going to stop working on it until it is. He’s really passionate about what he does and that passion definitely helped us make the best record possible."
Having spent the preceding months stockpiling the best possible material, the Buzzhorn arrived in La La Land with an extensive selection of songs to choose from. Of course, that didn’t stop this incredibly prolific band from continuing to pen songs throughout the sessions.
"I think the fact that we wrote ‘Carry Me Home’ and ‘Disconnected’ while we were out there tells you where our heads were at," laughs Mueller.
Benson showed the band how to refine and perfect their ideas – as songwriters, as musicians, and as recording artists. Having spent their own hard-earned cash to record their two previous albums, the Buzzhorn were accustomed to a more severe workrate than the producer’s rather methodical technique.
"It was very laidback," Mueller says, "as opposed to what we were used to, which was getting in there and working till we were done. This time we really had the time to focus and make everything the way we wanted it to be."
The Buzzhorn’s meticulous approach towards songwriting and recording paid off in the rich sound and vision of "DISCONNECTED." Tracks such as the tender "Out Of My Hands" and the turbulent title track see the band’s complex riffs and relentless energy contrasted and colored by Mueller’s earnest, introspective lyricism. "It’s just rock and roll," the singer says humbly. "All the songs come from a real place, they all come from a situation that’s happened to me, or someone in the band, so when I sing about these things, it hits home with everybody out in the crowd."
"Ryan’s lyrics are so amazing," Joseph says. "All of our material is very deep and emotional.’"
In addition to the remarkably productive sessions, the trip west offered moments of true transcendence. "We went to Joshua Tree and camped out there," Mueller says, "which was awesome. And I got to see the ocean. I had never seen the ocean before. That was just amazing."
With "DISCONNECTED" hitting the streets, the Buzzhorn are excited to see the rest of America as they bring their vital and vibrant live performances from coast to coast. "We’re really looking forward to getting out there and playing as many shows as possible," Mueller says. "There’s definitely a different element there when we play live. There’s a lot of energy, and a lot of emotion."
"I’m ecstatic," Joseph beams. "Man, I can’t wait till the album’s on shelves. We wanted this from Day One, and we all knew that this was the band to do it."