This is a tricky song that Anomaly played well. It was a "second set" song, one of those we added after our first gig -- we didn't start working on it until a few months later, middle of 1998 or so. In spite of this, it was an older song, I wrote the music in college nearly 10 years earlier, to lyrics my friend Don Marvel had written in high school, before we met. Interestingly this was a song that never got performed by any college group of mine. Like the earlier "Meat Balm," it shifts between 6/4, 7/8 and 4/4 liberally, which can be challenging for many bands. I wonder if those college bands could have pulled it off -- I imagine so, but it would have taken some doing. Mr Ability did pull off an 11/8 groove for "Caribou" after all. Anomaly, however, developed into a crack ensemble and "Get Fuzzy" became one of our stronger numbers. I thought we rocked our time changes on this one about as hard as anyone.
I still haven't heard the original song made from these same lyrics, though Don has promised he would share it with me. As I recall Don gave me the lyrics at some point during the first semester we worked together, when we were playing with OCMR. He said he was never satisfied with the original music, and I was free to set it. I worked on it over the summer of 1990, and brought the result to Don when we returned to school that fall. This was the fall of Mr Ability, but it never was discussed that we should try this new song, nor that earlier collaboration, Meat Balm, which were both songs we were pleased with. Both were pretty difficult, rhythmically. I think I just carried Get Fuzzy around in my head for a few months, finally taking the time to notate it during a semester working for Philip Glass in NYC in the Spring of 1991. Later I recorded a demo of it on my 4-track recorder in 1994, after I moved to NYC.
I recently found some old notes about this song that I wrote back in '99, particular to one of our final gigs,
"this song has emerged as one of our hotter numbers. we're playing it really well these days. It's very tricky, it's got this 6/4 groove on the verses that finally came together when Matt started scratching a rhythm to it, that smoothed it out and locked it in. Plus I get to do my pseudo-blues voice on the vocal, which starts low and goes very high, in jumping 4ths. there was one minor gaff in the middle of this, but it sounded fine."
I believe I have a recording of that performance. I can't sing that "pseudo blues" voice anymore by the way, it kills my voice to do that kind of thing. In the recording Matt takes the scratching thing I referred to to another level, with the use of some delay. This little trick excited us when we were putting finishing touches on the song in the studio. We did do one verse with the naked scratching, which is good by its own right, by Matt's insistence, but then let the delay take off on later verses.
After a quick quote of the 7/8 chorus, the song's intro is a straight rockin' four/four. It anticipates the chorus melody, slowing it down, syncopatedly and stretching it into 4/4. The verses are 6/4 with an ending phrase in 4. Then the chorus jumps into 7/8 with some sneaky bars of 4 in there. 7/8 has an aspect that is like jumping off a diving board, if you phrase it as 4+ 3 or 3+4. I like how this song uses this to leap from section to section, like the last bar of the chorus jumps from 7 back into the rock 4 of the da capo, on the word "mine" in "if you's fuzzy you's a friend of mine." The chorus's chord voicings are straight out of my jazz theory learnings from the Greater Hartford Academy of Art (in the '80s it was Performing Arts), care of the great Dave Santoro. Another interesting thing about this song is that you could say it was in C major, but it spends a lot of time on F# major, which of course is the most harmonically distant major key from C. I have always been interested in this relationship, though when you go from one chord to the other it just sounds odd and jarring. I'm always excited when I hear a song pull it off in a non-jarring way, like Stevie Wonder's Sir Duke, which goes from C to F# minor in the verses. This song suggests C major, but not strongly, as it's not very 'chordal.' The verse uses leaps of 4ths to get from C to get to F# major (down a fourth, up a minor 7th, down a fourth, up a minor 7th, stacking 4ths melodically ). Because the C harmony is only suggested, when the F# major comes it's not that jarring. I'm not sure if this qualifies as a tritone dominant, as they analyze some Debussy, but it's close.