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Curt Florczak's guitar playing was an instant attention getter when we first heard it in Greg Allen's Fringe Religion. There was a depth there that is not common. People told us a few things about his earlier groups but we never got it straight. As his group The Hi End releases their new album we did a little q & a.

Curt Forczak

BGN:We first saw you with Greg Allen's Fringe Religion but we know you have history before that; fill us in with groups and places.

CURT:The main gist of my background happened in Los Angeles with my old band The B-Movie Rats. Over about seven years we toured our asses off in the States and Europe, released three full length LPs and a slew of singles and releases on various comps. It was a pretty good time for underground rock and roll. I'm getting ready for a European tour this spring with a few guys from the old days under the name The Mochines. I'm also doing a few shows with the B-Movie Rats out west this summer. It's cool how stuff I was involved with years ago is still presenting new opportunities.

The Movie Rats
The B-Movie Rats

I did a couple of short lived projects here in Boston. The Avenue Tricks was one. We played a few good shows, recorded an ep and then disbanded. Majestic Twelve was another. Good bands that for whatever reason or another fell apart too quick.

BGN:Some of your solos with Greg's group were little works of art to us. What was there about Greg's songs that inspired you? Lyrics or song structures?

CURT:Well thanks, that's very kind. I try to approach solos with an ear for the song. I'm not one for improvising my parts too much. I write my guitar parts as one would write a bridge or a chorus. My favorite solos of music I love are the ones that I can actually sing back to you and I strive for that in my playing as well. If whatever noodling is going on doesn't take the listener somewhere within the context of the song then it's doing a disservice in my opinion. Self editing can be tough because the guitar is just so much fun to play.

Curt Florczak
Greg Allen's Fringe Religion
Photo:John Keegan

I was really fortunate to spend time playing with Greg. That band was really a first for me in that I'd always been instrumental in forming the bands I was involved in. With the Fringe Religion I viewed myself as a bit of a side man and again, always tried to serve the song. Greg's music did give me the opportunity to explore some melody ideas that I might not have otherwise. They took me out of my comfort zone a bit and I learned to hold back when necessary, really use space.

Generally Greg would have pretty solid verses and choruses worked out. But there was always room to restructure and arrange and I think one of my main roles became that of an arranger to some degree or at least someone to bounce arranging ideas off of. I had a great time playing with the Fringe Religion. We played some great shows and I'm proud to have done a bit of recording with them. I still consider Greg a great friend.

Hi end
The Hi End

BGN:You repair guitars. Tell us how that works.

CURT:Being on the road as much as I was in the late 90s I began learning guitar setup out of necessity really. It just grew from there. I phased out of my straight job as a scenic builder and started doing guitar repair full time. Michael DeTemple in Los Angeles really took me under his wing and gave me an incredible opportunity to apprentice in his shop building his guitars. I really am fortunate to have learned from a true master.
I had my own shop at Downtown Rehearsal in LA for a few years and then moved to Boston and started up my shop here. I've been working from my home ever since. Nearly all of my clients have been word of mouth and I've developed some really extraordinary relationships over the years.

The Hi End
The Hi End

BGN: Your new group influences are different than The Fringe Religion. What are they?
Why did you go in that direction?

CURT:The Fringe Religion is really Greg's band so of course all of his influences come to the forefront. The Hi-End is a completely different kind of animal. You've got five guys who've been listening to and playing music for most of their lives so everyone's experience and experiences shows up at the table. It took us a little time to find our stride. Our first ep is very much us trying to figure out what we wanted to do. There's stuff I'm proud of there but I feel that material pales compared to what we are writing now a few years into it.

Influence wise? Man, you name it. Whatever was or is considered rebelious and had attitude and style. Proto Rock and Roll, British Invasion, 70s punk, glitter, pub rock, hard rhythm and blues, early metal, power pop etc.

I don't think we went in a conscious direction so much as we kept developing the things that we felt represented us honestly and that we all enjoy playing. I feel like with the new record Before I Run out of Luck, we've set ourselves up with a sound and vibe that is truly us.


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