Societys Ugly Son preps for Oct. 24 show, new albumWritten by Mike Bauman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Like many who grew up in Toledo, Michael “Fish” Fisher was ready to get out and experience life under a different sky, and he had good reason.
The South Toledo native had some record deals down in Atlanta shortly after graduating high school. However, Fisher said those deals got diminished each time, and his songwriting partner ended up falling in love and decided to stop playing music.
After getting his then-girlfriend pregnant and coming close to never walking again after falling in a hole and breaking his back, Fisher’s musical wanderlust eventually led him back to the Black Swamp.
“I wish that I could say that that was for my love of Toledo and that I wanted to come back,” Fisher said. “I actually got manhandled into place and was dragged back here with my teeth in the mud pulling against it the whole time.”
Though things didn’t pan out in Atlanta, Fisher was able to find his footing, albeit in the mud of the Black Swamp he initially escaped from as a teen.
“When I tell you about my love for Toledo now, it is a learned love, if you will,” Fisher said. “Ultimately, I ended up back here not knowing what to do or anything, and that’s when I wrote a lot of songs. I couldn’t walk. I was on a cane. I was told I wouldn’t walk again. I was trying to learn to be a father.”
Having toured and played many a show as a folk musician, Fisher was also a heavy metal guitar player. With time he grew eager to create a more outlandish, larger-than-life, southern rock grunge alter ego to feed that avenue of his musical creativity. The result was Societys Ugly Son.
When Fisher came back to Toledo, Societys Ugly Son—which originated while he was still down in Atlanta—started to gain more traction. Since 2007 Societys Ugly Son has released six albums, while Fisher has released three additional solo records.
“In Atlanta, they made me feel like this was the end of my career; I’d never do one great thing,” Fisher said. “In Toledo, I still feel 10 albums later within seven years, I feel like this is the beginning of my career. I can do a lot of great things, and it was the weirdest thing to have that flip for me.
“It was like getting a second life.”
For album No. 7, Societys Ugly Son—comprised of Fisher (vocals), Jason Jared (guitar), Justin Fuller (bass) and James Graham (drums)—is also finding new life in terms of the band’s recording process. Instead of playing the new songs live before the actual album drops like it had done previously, Societys Ugly Son decided to flip the script for its new record and write the entire album before anybody hears it.
Moreover, instead of focusing on all the band members’ different musical influences when creating the songs like previous works, Fisher said Societys Ugly Son decided to hone in on creating a fluid album with what each member has in common for the new material.
While the band’s sound is a confluence of primarily 80s metal and 70s southern rock, Fisher said the one common denominator amongst Societys Ugly Son is 90s grunge.
“All we came up with was the guys just laid down this riff that just slayed me,” Fisher said of the new album’s title track “Gentlemen, Creatures and Robots.” “It just, it sounded like if Muse got in a fight with Soundgarden and Jay Z came to break it up, it would be the breath of all of them yelling at each other.”
Fisher added that “Gentlemen, Creatures and Robots” also has a deeper meaning.
“I mean, I guess it’s a little bit [of a] metaphor for just how in this day and age it seems like people all just pick to define each other by, like, the most extreme version of everything,” Fisher said. “And so we make each other into either gentlemen, creatures or robots.”
Prior to hitting the studio to begin recording “Gentlemen, Creatures and Robots” at Little Elephant Recording in Rossford, Societys Ugly Son will perform with R.M.O. on Oct. 24 at Mainstreet, located at 141 Main St. Tickets are $5 and the show starts at 8 p.m.
Societys Ugly Son will also perform with Texas Hippie Coalition on Nov. 19 at Frankie’s before heading down south to play some shows in December.