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.
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 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
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.
Greg Allen's Fringe Religion
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.
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
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.