Eric Rosenzveig, Phil Giborski and Jeff Noble    

Eric Rosenzveig, Phil Giborski and Jeff Noble

 

FAT was formed in Montreal, Canada in 1982 by Phil Giborski (drums), Jeff Noble (bass) and Eric Rosenzveig (guitar) and recorded their last record in 1991. In that time the group had recorded a total of seven records, though had released just four before disbanding in 1992. FAT released three albums in 2015 - Masters of Haha, Citron and Duos (with bassist Noble and guitarist Rosenzveig) which the group had recorded in 1990 and 1991 but had never released.  After five years in Montreal the group resettled in Barcelona in 1987 and lived and toured in West and Eastern Europe and Morocco from that time until 1991. 

FAT was a bass-drums-guitar trio and while using only simple effects on stage and in studio was able to manipulate their sound in highly unusual ways. Both bass and drums used digital delays, while guitar was generally only enhanced by an overdrive pedal. However, the group also used many modified instruments - fretless bowed guitar; walkman-bass; contact mics on drums as well as employing  a large array of tools and devices to strike their instruments - rubber balls, metal bars, screen doors, contact mics, vibrators, clothes pins, combs etc etc.  In later years, drummer Phil Giborski enhanced his kit with an Octapad and Alessis drum machine for digital special effects fills but always integrated this into his acoustic kit sound. The exception to this was for FAT and the Masters of Haha where he used exclusively electronic drums for the session to complement the hefty percussive attack of Aouad Mia's duo bendirs, n'kouss, handclaps and foot-stomping percussionists.

After moving to Barcelona in 1987, FAT lived together for the remaining time until disbanding in 1991. Using their home in the Sants neighborhood of Barcelona as a base, the band was able to organize small tours throughout Western and Europe Europe (and eventually Morocco) and was able to spend considerable chunks of time living in Berlin, London, Prague and in the Essaouira area of southern Morocco, often finding accommodations and rehearsal space through the generosity of the underground music community. Subsisting on meagre rations, these ad-hoc accommodations were often supplemented by sometimes long stretches living in their LT-28 van. Even fully loaded with all the band's equipment (including its own small PA system), the van space still allowed for two mattresses in the back with one member sleeping in the front seat. As the LT-28 van had by now passed its youth, fully loaded it clocked in a top speed of just 80km/h and for FAT's first gig in Europe - the 1987 Leipziger Jazz Tage Festival in Leipzig, East Germany performing required a 48-hour drive from their sunny home in Barcelona, crossing the iron curtain at 4:00am as the workers walked to their factories in a dimly-lit, coal-smog haze. In compensation, the group was paid the equivalent of six-months salary for a typical East German worker and forced to spend all these non-convertible Ostmarks in 3-days was able to fill their van with many of the glittering products of the former Eastern bloc country. 

The forced intimacy of FAT's living conditions invested the music with great intuition and collective spirit. As a good day in the early Barcelona years may have seen a spare 100 pesetas in the band jar for a cafe con leche at day's end, the band spent most of their time in their Sants basement studio (formerly a commercial, urban chicken farm). This period yielded all the material for FAT's second album Hit, which was recorded in Baby Monster studio in NYC in late 1988. Despite the meagre rations, FAT's sixth sense, nurtured over years of communal living was foremost in creating their unusual and un-definable musical output.