Fuel: Monuments to Excess

Monuments to Excess (CD)
Rough Trade (Re-released by Ebullition Records on Vinyl in 2000)

Fuel featured Mike Kirsch on guitar/vocals, Aaron Arroyo on bass, Jim Allison on guitar/vocals, and Jeff Stofan on drums. Mike Kirsch was also a member of about a dozen 90’s HC bands like John Henry West, Torches to Rome, Bread and Circuits, Saw Horse, Navio Forge, etc. I never caught Fuel live, but I did have the pleasure of seeing Kirsch’s mid 2000’s project, Please Inform the Captain This is a Hijack at a little coffee shop on Broadway in downtown San Diego. They had a bit of a gimmick, wearing plastic animal masks, but their music was pure unadulterated hard core in the tradition of Fugazi/Nation of Ulysses.

Fuel on the other hand was one of the more influential bands in my back catalog. It was one of the first CD’s I bought at Wax Trax along with Tree People’s Something Vicious For Tomorrow, and Split Lip’s For the Love of the Wounded LP. A friend had recommended them knowing my man crush on Fugazi and everything and anything that sounded like Fugazi. So much so that they often were called Fuelgazi. Whatever though, these guys laid the groundwork for Hot Water Music, er at least the first couple HWM records.

“Disengaged,” comes in with a palm-muted riff and a tempo of immediacy that echoes throughout the album, like the band knew this LP would be their only one. Most Kirsch projects proved that the first time is the best time and this first is definitely a history maker. A few bands of the early 90’s utilized the instrumental, Pegboy, Fugazi has consistently had an instrumental on almost every album and Monuments to Excess has its own version of “Locomotivelung” or “Arpeggiator” in the track simply named, “Instrumental.” Employing some dueling guitar acrobatics, backed by a solid rhythm and a Chris Bauermeister inspired bass line the song leads nicely into the brilliant “Some Gods.”

Every song on this record is amazing. It has been reissued TWICE. If you look at their Amazon page a bunch of douche bags have posted some comments saying that this Fuel isn’t the same Fuel that brought the world such grunge-lite tripe as “Shimmer” or “Million Miles.” You know the kind of shit you’d find on a late 90’s Nicolas Cage romantic comedy?  Like the kind of music you’d open a vein to in the waiting room at the abortion clinic hanging out with your future ex-girlfriend.

Do yourself a favor and find Monuments To Excess then go out and purchase Kirsch’s newest endeavor, Baader Brains.

3 thoughts on “Fuel: Monuments to Excess

  1. Great post. You won’t believe this, but I was never really that into Fuel. They just didn’t do it for me. But I sort of worshiped Mike Kirsch’s other bands, especially John Henry West, Navio Forge and Torches to Rome. So it’s cool to see a blog post with the tag Mike Kirsch. (Probably one of the only blog posts to ever use that tag.) There’s something about his music — he really perfected that pissed-off, screaming, flying through the air hardcore sound. And no one was ever able to make guitar feedback sound so great. Oh, don’t get me started…

    The last Kirsch project I heard was Please Inform the Captain… I’ll have to check out Baader Brains.

  2. I am merely trying to locate Aaron Arroyo……If someone could please let him know I am searching for him, he will remember me and understand. Thankssssssss. and good luck on much success.

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