Trio makes progress in power-pop journey

Fizzbin breathes new life into the cliché, "When it rains it pours." The two-year-old power-pop trio shared the stage at the Go Lounge on a recent Saturday night with fellow Orlando Music Award CD contributors Precious and MK Ultra -- the first show with new bassist (and current member of Thrust Supersonic) Brandon Horgeshimer. Their song on that compilation, "Sleeping on a Beach," enthusiastically conveys the band's peppy approach to rock & roll that is elaborated on during the length of their debut CD, Left End Girlfriend.

But Fizzbin's music might already be familiar to Central Florida cable-television subscribers. The band experienced their first wave of success shortly after their CD-release party in April at a packed outdoor patio at Barbarella. "A week later we found out that our music had been licensed for `MTV travelogue show` 'Road Rules,'" says guitarist/lead vocalist Russ Armstrong. "Two or three days later we found out about the VH-1 thing."

That "thing" was the VH-1 sponsored band competition "Rocking Across America" -- the Central Florida edition of which took place at Pleasure Island. Clips of an interview with Armstrong, drummer Dave Messina and original bassist Bill Childs were shown on the network, along with live footage of their performance.

Fizzbin trace their roots to early 1994, when Chicagoan Armstrong and Orlando native Chris Sugiuchi met in Savannah, Ga. The two aspiring musicians put a flier in a local record store in search of a drummer. "It was like an indie store -- the only hip one in town," recalls Armstrong. Messina answered the call. The trio threw themselves into the new project, which they dubbed Crawl. That band lasted for a year-and-a-half, but after a few trips to play in Orlando at the Go Lounge and The Edge, Armstrong felt that Florida was in his future.

Armstrong and Messina relocated to Orlando in 1996 and by the summer had formed Fizzbin, which nestles '60s British rock and amiable grunge riffs into ever-changing time signatures, laying colorful, ear-tickling vocal arrangements over raw, face-slapping guitar onslaughts.

The national airwaves seem like the next logical step. "FM radio was once my savior," sings Armstrong on the title track from "Left End Girlfriend." It may also be his destiny.


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