Smoke signals


Fumamos, living up to their name. From left, Dave Lowson, Scott Michaelsen and Evan Mellinger.

Fumamos, living up to their name. From left, Dave Lowson, Scott Michaelsen and Evan Mellinger.

Photo By David Robert

Pot-smoking monkeys are to Fumamos what the LBC [Long Beach City] is to Sublime. The cannabis-based band uses the symbol to depict its personality. “The name ‘Fumamos’ came from a friend, who uses the word a lot,” says Evan Mellinger, the band’s 22-year-old singer and guitarist. “It means ‘we smoke’ because we are so hot.”

Joining Mellinger on a musical journey towards entropy are 25-year-old Scott Michaelsen on drums and 32-year-old Dave Lowson on bass. Seemingly driven by the melodious motivations of Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Brad Nowell of Sublime, the Fumamos sound is interestingly diverse, not to mention experimental—much like a wild mix of the above bands and Jimi Hendrix.

“Our top three inspirations are Bob Marley, Operation Ivy and The Reverend Horton Heat,” says Mellinger. “We stop at nothing.”

Fumamos has been playing together for about a year-and-a-half and is currently in the process of recording a full-length album scheduled for completion sometime in August. “We’ll be going on the Summer of Smoke 2007 Tour, which basically just includes us at the moment,” says Mellinger, grinning from ear to ear as he satisfies his urge to incorporate the word “smoke” into his interview.

“However it will be so badass, that by the time we’re done, we will be broke, permanently hung over and will probably require some blood tests afterwards—just to be safe,” says Mellinger. Aside from getting wasted on tour and returning for physical exams, Fumamos plan to hang around Reno, getting their fix of the local music scene.

In addition to making music and smoking, Mellinger has taken to heart his avid watching of the HBO television series The Sopranos; he excitedly reveals visions of eventually compiling his very own mafia, “just like Big Tony S.” As for the other members in the group, Lowson is a tattoo artist in his spare time, and Michaelsen “lives and sleeps so much in his car, you’d think he didn’t have a house of his own,” says Mellinger, laughing and nearly dumping his warm beer all over the carpeted floor.

Mellinger and Michaelsen met a little more than four years ago, when they were employed at a local golf course. They spent most of their hours at “work” jamming out in a golf cart garage before finding a more secure place to rehearse in Fernley. After losing a previous bassist to a severe drug addiction, they met Lowson through a newspaper ad.

The band members have some rock-star dreams, but their heads are remarkably out of the clouds when it comes to their real goals.

“It would be nice to ride around in an Escalade-stretch with a hot tub in the middle, smokin’ Cubans, accompanied by an entourage of supermodels,” said Mellinger. “Everyone has their dreams. But the way we see it, making the music we want to play and playing it the way we want to play it is what being a musician is all about. Money’s a plus and all, but I’d rather be broke (like I am now) than be a little meat puppet for the industry.”