About a year ago, former Disengage bassist Sean Bilovecky had a chance encounter at the Grog Shop with Buzz, frontman for noisy local rockers the Duvalby Bros. When Buzz told him the Duvalbys were imploding (again), even though he had written a bunch of new songs for the band, Bilovecky realized it was a good opportunity to cut a record with him. So they got together and formed Non-Fiction.
"I have a studio in my house," says Bilovecky. "I always wanted to work with that dude because his voice is amazing. I thought I could try to do a record with him. Over the course of a year, he would come over for a couple of hours a week. I didn't know how complex it would be. I just thought it would be Buzz and his guitar. We just started adding more layers."
"Wateredownway," the first song they recorded, didn't turn out to be representative of what the album, Make Believe, would become.
"It was kind of uplifting," says Bilovecky of the tune. "As we got into it, I liked the fact that the songs were downbeat. I didn't think of it as being too down in the dumps. They fit my mood by the time I got home from a hectic day of work. I just like his voice more than what he's actually saying."
Buzz, who sounds like Bob Seger after a hard night of drinking, actually gets to show off his powerful voice on "War to Restore," an a cappella tune that wouldn't sound out of place on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. The song sounds like the kind of thing you'd sing while working on the chain gang. For Buzz, singing deeply emotional songs about love ("Hurricane Blues") and death ("Shoulder to Shoulder") proved to be cathartic, since he was going through a difficult period in his life.
"It's been a crazy time," says Buzz, who wrote two of Make Believe's songs in rehab. "I'm just trying to get stable. I'm moving next weekend for the seventh time in two years. I've been unemployed for a while. Since my divorce, it's been kind of crazy. This one girl took my heart, and that didn't work out. A couple of songs are about her. I've been trying to maintain with the kids, and to keep going has been tough."
Because they worked on the album in short bursts, it was hard to finish. Buzz's ever-changing moods didn't make it any easier.
"When I was happy, like last fall and last winter, it was easy to work on the album," he says. "But then I would take huge stretches because I didn't want to go there. I didn't want to deal with what I had to do. It was me and Sean the whole time. When you're with a band, they can pick your spirits up right away. When it's just you and the producer, it was a different experience."
Along with former Hilo drummer Pat Ginley, Non-Fiction have been rehearsing the material to play at this weekend's CD release show.
"There's lots of room for improvisation," says Buzz. "The songs are more uptempo than what you hear on the record. They're a little more dynamic. I'd like to see how it goes."
As far as the Duvalby Bros. are concerned, Buzz says he'll "never give up" on the band, even though they "shut [him] out."
"We could be on another 10-year hiatus," he says. "I can't wait for the band to hear [Make Believe]. I want to put together about five shows with Non-Fiction for the fall and play out and see what people think. I hope I have another album in me. I don't know when it's going to come out. I put a lot into this. I want to move on from this, but I don't know if I can. I'm just going to keep going and see what the muse brings out."