Whoa. When I develop geriatric tinnitus, I’ll know where it came from: experiencing Detroit band 002 at Kelly’s Bar during the incredible Hamtramck Music Fest. It was a GWAP-tastic ear meltingly psychedelic good time!
The Hamtramck Music Fest is an ambitious and enthralling array of 160+ bands at 20+ venues over a 4-day period of musical kickassness in the city of Hamtramck (inside Detroit).
Fortunately, we caught 002’s midnight set at Kelly’s Bar and we’ll never be the same. Big props to Jarrett Koral for being the gracious gatekeeper that night.
002 (pronounced Double-O-Two) is a Detroit duo consisting of Pete ‘theGWAP’ Arsenault on double bass drums and Matt ‘The Maniac’ Mruzek on the double-neck bass-guitar hybrid.
If you haven’t caught the hypersonic mach 5 tornado of sounds emanating from Maniac & GWAP, you’re sleeping. You need to wake up and catch 002’s next live performance.
Their live set included tunes:
- Carpet Bombing (“002’s improv dedication to Jimi Hendrix’s Machine Gun”)
- One Stone (“A fighter’s anthem. It took only one stone to kill Goliath, so you should keep persevering no matter how tough the odds are.”)
- Horror of the Bells (their newest song. “Fusion of blues and Celtic”)
- Air Raid (“One of our favorites to play. Reminiscent of uplifting Steve Vai tunes”)
They rolled in a huge speaker. Behringer 8 x 10 cab (aka: cabinet speaker) made in Germany, a 2,000-watt beast with eight 10” speakers.
“That thing is a monster,” exclaims Matt, “I got it on the cheap because no one at the store felt like moving it. When the head is on, it’s over 6 feet tall and reminds me of a robot.”
Pete and Matt met via Craigslist
“I placed a Craigslist post in the Musicians section entitled ‘Psychedelic Drummer Seeks Guitar’” Pete says, “A few days later, I see a weird post that says ‘Psychedelic Guitar Seeks Drummer’. Turns out to be this awesomely talented musician named Matt Mruzek. Matt comes to our first audition with a Bass & Guitar Hybrid and I was fucking floored. He played that franken bass-guitar for 3 minutes and I knew immediately that I wanted to be in a band with this guy.”
“Pete and I tried to find a bass player to replace the one we lost,” says Matt, “but we kept on having no-shows and last-minute call-offs from potential candidates. So, I decided to bring the double axe out when we decided we were better off progressing alone, rather than waiting for another member to join.”
“I just took two inexpensive guitars and put them together with a drill and a couple of old Peavey cab handles” says Matt, “The guitar is a Lotus Stratocaster. The original pickups had a very beautiful bright sound to them but I had to replace them with some Seymour Duncan hot rails because the amount of noise and feedback they produced made every show feel like I was rolling the dice with our sound. The bass part of the guitar is an Ibanez Gio 5-string, which I spray painted silver.”
“Matt is certainly one of the best musicians I’ve ever played with,” Pete says, “The saying goes, ‘You always play better when you play…with someone better than you’. Remember that. After drumming for almost 30 years, I would rather cut off my right testicle than play another cover tune. Jimi Hendrix said ‘Music is like a living being that grows and evolves’. Therein lies the secret beauty of 002. We are live beings, free to grow, evolve and improvise freely. It’s the best band I’ve ever been in.”
Pete’s musical influences include Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Buddy Rich, Mitch Mitchell and Ginger Baker.
“I’m a self-trained drummer. Never had a lesson in my life,” Pete declares, “My Dad was a drummer who grew up with Vic Firth and knew Buddy Rich. I’m 61 years old now and got my first drum kit in 1989, when I was freshly divorced. I became a drummer by headphones, radio stations, playing by ear, thousands of hours of re-exceeding my own endurance and speed limits.”
Matt’s musical influences are Jimi Hendrix, Michael Angelo Batio and Les Paul.
“Les Paul was the original shredder and an electronics genius who pretty much invented delays and the loop pedal, among other things,” says Matt.
002 is Psychedelic Improvisational Rock Music
“All of our musical compositions are created in one single take with no pre-thought conceptions,” explains Pete, “Matt busts out a riff and I syncopate with bass or guitar and join in with whatever rhythm is feeling right at the time. I turn on my cellphone video camera, so we can duplicate the structure of the music again later. Then we resume the tangent for 5-10 minutes until the Riff Trail runs out.”
“A large part of our sound resembles what I imagine ancient or primitive music was,” Matt says, “From a music theory standpoint, our music could be described as very modal. Music was played long before it was ever written down, so we’ll never know what it truly sounded like in the beginning. I believe that music was more introspective and had more of a spiritual purpose in ancient times. You could definitely describe our music as having a psychedelic flavor on top of that.”
“I just want to play music,” Pete muses, “Beyond that, ‘Vaginal Access’ and a little gas money would be way cool!”