“Boomer has this one quality that I’ve been searching for since the moment I saw him, and that is Boomer is un-heckle-able,” says Joshua Homme, the leader of the Queens of the Stone Age, who’s been watching Lalli play since he (Josh) was 14. “There could be a wide array of reasons to heckle Boomer—but it’s impossible when you watch him play. The second he starts to play, when he squints his eyes? I’ve never heard anyone go, ‘bleh, shut up!’ I’ve seen people not like it, but I’ve never seen anything thrown at him. Nothing. Because you believe it.
“It’s for real.”
Fatso Jetson formed in the wee hours of 1994 after Tony Tornay, and cousins Mario and Larry Lalli spent way too much time together playing pool, drinking shitty beer and watching TV in the after hours at Mario and Larry’s nightclub, “Rhythm & Brews.” They decided that since they already played the appropriate instruments, that their time would be better spent playing music instead of eternally making double-or-nothing bets on a crummy pool table and watching History Channel documentaries.
After cobbling together 9 or 10 songs (and coming up with a name that references an old Ingmar Bergman film character) they played their first show in September 1994, opening for former Black Flag guitarist Greg Ginn. On the basis of this show, Ginn decided he wanted to release an album with the band on his SST Records imprint. The band then went on to play as many shows as possible including a tour with fellow desert dwellers Kyuss.
Then, in August 1995, Fatso Jetson’s first record, “Stinky Little Gods” was released. Just over 2 years later in November 1997, the band released their second full length opus, “Power Of Three”, again on SST featuring the bands first collaboration with Vince Meghrouni. It was around this time that the band hooked up with Brant Bjork (ex-Kyuss, ex-Fu Manchu skinsman) who played rhythm guitar. Brant stayed in this capacity until touring with Fu Manchu forced him to leave the band, though he did appear on two 7″ releases, one of them a split with The Bloodshot, and the other a split with Fu Manchu.
In late 1997 Fatso Jetson started to look for another record label and found themselves in the company of Bongload Custom Records. In April 1998, Tony, Mario and Larry entered Monkey Studios in Palm Springs to record their 3rd full length offering for Bongload, The album they came up with is “Toasted,” produced by Chris Goss (Masters Of Reality, Desert Sessions). Around this time famed artist Frank Kozik asked the band to record a record for his now legendary “Mans Ruin Records”. In August 1998 the band re-entered Goss’ Monkey Studios to lay down the tracks for a record that would eventually become “Flames For All.” Long time Lalli collaborater Gary Arce joined the band as a rhythm guitarist for a tour with Queens Of The Stone Age and continued to play with the band for a European tour and an appearance at the Dynamo Festival in Holland and an appearance at SXSW in Austin, Tx. in 1999 until he finally departed in April 2000.
Amidst all of this activity Fatso Jetson also contributed to “The Desert Sessions” releases. The Desert Sessions were the brainchild of Josh Homme (Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age). He organized these recordings bringing desert musicians, outsiders, freaks, and other creative like-minded rock musicians together to collaborate. At these sessions Mario Lalli co-wrote two songs with Homme (“You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire” and “Monster in the Parasol”) these would eventually make their way on to the Queens of the Stone Age albums “Rated R” and “Songs for the Deaf.” All three members contributed music to other tracks that would find their way onto “Desert Sessions” records
After some regional touring in the United States and a second appearance at SXSW in 2000, Fatso Jetson headed back into the studio to record their 5th full length studio album: “Cruel & Delicious.” Recorded in Silver Lake, Ca. at Donner and Blitzen Studios with earthlings? and Twilight Singers collaborator Mathias Schneeberger. The album was subsequently released on Josh Homme’s “Rekords Rekords” in November of 2002.
After some highly anticipated dates with Queens Of The Stone Age, Fu Manchu, and Beck, Fatso Jetson quieted down for a few years. The permanent members Mario, Tony, and Larry had found themselves living in different cities with other obligations taking over their time. They consistently played regional shows and spent time in various studios recording but it would be a few years before any new music would come to light.
Even in their quiet they managed to still make noise: LA Weekly nominated them as one of the “Best Rock Bands” in Los Angeles in 2003.
Around this time Tony spent some time playing with Black Flag alum Chuck Dukowski recording a record and playing shows in both the States and Europe with an appearance at Coachella, while Mario toured and recorded with a reactivated Yawning Man and a desert “super group” Orquesta del Desierto along side Pete Stahl (Scream, earthlings?, Goatsnake), and Alfreado Hernandez (Yawning Man, QOTSA, Kyuss)
In 2007 The band now joined full time by Vince Meghrouni playing multiple instruments and singing, released “Live” a, well as the name implies, a live record recorded in their adopted hometown of Los Angeles and released on Cobraside Records
2010 saw the release of “Archaic Volumes” again on Cobraside Records with subsequent European and United States tour dates with Oaks Mary and The Atomic Bitchwax including sold out performances at The Roadburn Festival and Stoned from The Underground Festival.
In 2010 Tony started Deep Dark Robot with famed record producer Linda Perry. They recorded an album “8 Songs About A Girl” in 2011 and spent the year touring America in support of the album and making videos starring the likes of Kat Von D and Juliette Lewis.
In 2013 Fatso Jetson was joined by Dino Lalli (Mario’s son) and released a Split 12” record with fellow desert dwellers Yawning Man and headed out for a European tour to promote it including sold out co-headlining performances at both Desert-Fest London and Berlin.
Tony spent a few months at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 recording and touring with childhood friend Brant Bjork on his project “Brant Bjork And The Low Desert Punk Band”. They hit Australia, America and Europe before Tony bowed out to re-focus on Fatso Jetson
2014 has seen the band playing festival shows and some regional touring while being featured on the Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways documentary.
2015 promises to be quite a busy year for Fatso Jetson with both the recording and release of a new record and extensive touring in bothe The States, Europe, and beyond…
Perhaps most impressive about the tracks is that no matter where Fatso Jetson seem to head sound-wise, they still sound so distinctly like themselves, and they seem to be in full command of their aesthetic, not so much conforming to the desert rock style they helped create as taking those elements with them on a creative journey outside genre bounds. – The Obelisk
“Strange and wonderful is the best way to describe the much-overlooked Southern California sort-of-stoner trio Fatso Jetson. Its third full-length record, Toasted — originally recorded and released in 1998, and reissued in 2001 — is an unusual amalgam of Melvins/Mudhoney grunge, slabby desert rock riffs (à la its dearly departed buddies Kyuss), Monster Magnet space rock, Clutch grooves, and Black Sabbath dirges, but with enough quirk and flair to keep the proceedings under a subtly humorous thumb without delving into joke-band territory. –Jorn Serba, ALL MUSIC
Although squarely in the realm of desert rock, Fatso Jetson has more in common with Delta blues fashioned with matter from a neutron star than it does with the sun-baked cow punkery of fellow desert dwellers the Meat Puppets. On record, there are surfy, jangly elements that would fit snuggly in a Dick Dale instrumental. Live, the band unleashes mammoth riffs and maintain a dizzyingly high level of energy. Its performance is one of seasoned professionals: loose and adaptable, yet tight and immediate. –Eric Bensal
Fans curious about stoner rock’s heritage would do well to check out this and every recording from desert rock godfathers the Lalli cousins, who influenced stoner superheroes Kyuss while playing in desert bar bands like Englenook and Yawning Man. Fans of Josh Homme’s fluid soloing on Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age discs will enjoy and recognize the guitar stylings on “Corn on the Macabre,” just one of the five instrumental tracks that reveal Lalli’s talent for combining punk anti-music with all out jam rock to create the big, primal, desert sound. Mario Lalli’s vocal approach differs significantly from many of the genres subsequent practitioners. Eschewing ’70s blues riffs, Mario Lalli’s voice and lyrics echo his punk influence as strongly as his guitar playing reflects surf and psychedelia. –Vincent Jeffries
Though spiritual fathers of a musical genre that has made repetition its trump card, Fatso Jetson stand out from any other band for their mobile and heterogeneous sound, especially in 2010, when the band came back on the scene, after eight years of silence, with a record that sounded almost “punk.” –Rock And A Hard Place
Like Kyuss/QOTSA, Fatso Jetson built a name for themselves by putting their own unique spin on the Sabbath sound, but unlike their counterparts, larger than life singer/guitarist Mario Lalli’s true love lies in both jazz (Thelonious Monk, Eric Dolphy) and experimental rock (Frank Zappa, Devo). On paper, this conglomeration of different styles sounds like the perfect recipe for a train wreck, but it somehow all comes together on disc, as evidenced by the trio’s 2003 offering, Cruel & Delicious. –Spin Magazine