Buffalo Fuzz, a Minneapolis heavy blues band, had just finished recording their second album and filming the music video for the first single when their drummer, Jake Allan, tragically died. Jared Zachary, the other half of Buffalo Fuzz, has planned a tribute show at the 7th St. Entry on Aug. 10, and Buffalo Fuzz’s music video for “I’m On Fire” is released today. Zachary hopes that with the video and the subsequent release of the full album, Allan will be remembered for his impact on the music scene.
The two first met at an open mic night and Zachary knew Allan as a singer-songwriter for a while. Then, Tucker Jenson of Dirt Train told Zachary to speak with Allan in his search for a drummer for what eventually became Buffalo Fuzz. Allan learned the rest of the songs that ended up on their self-titled debut and they recorded and it was released in Sept. 2016.
“We kept playing, and got to know each other better and better and became best friends. We toured to SXSW together, went on a few regional tours, played with some cool bands. It was definitely like…the time of our lives” says Zachary of their friendship.
The duo began writing more music together and planning for a second album, a ten-song record, co-written by Zachary and Allan, which is set to be released in the late spring of 2019. “I would say that his impact in the songwriting was a lot more key to this record compared to the last one,” says Zachary. “I still did a majority of the writing, but he helped shape those songs a lot more, he took part in vocals, he did a song with harmonica, and the drums were a lot more him this time. He made a huge impact on this record and it’s nice that he had something to leave behind that he was really proud of.”
Out of Zachary’s grief came this urge to release this music because he says that, “without him, I can’t imagine what [Buffalo Fuzz] will be like, but I don’t believe that I would be able to be happy and fulfilled without continuing this project. I think the album will honor Jake, and there’s going to be some sort of avenue for the music to carry on.”
When Zachary made the announcement of Allan’s passing, he was met with an outpouring of support and sympathies from friends, family, and fans all over the world. The comment section on the band’s Facebook post is pushing a count of 150, filled with folks sharing their condolences and favorite memories of Allan. One particularly standout comment by Emily Meenan seemed to capture Allan’s spirit, resonating with those who knew him personally.
“Jake came into my coffee shop every day before or during work and talking with him was always one of the highlights of my day,” writes Meenan on Facebook. “He once told me, after I apologized for the wait, that waiting was one of his favorite things in the world because it gave him an excuse to just do absolutely nothing and enjoy it. It stuck with me. I’m really sorry for your loss, he’ll be missed around the Lyn-Lake neighborhood.“
In Allan’s honor, a benefit show and silent auction have been put together for Aug. 10 with all proceeds being split between Allan’s family, his high school’s music department, and Ronald McDonald House Charities who helped his family during a series of heart surgeries Allan had as a child.
Porno Wolves will be headlining, preceded by the Carnegies, both bands that Buffalo Fuzz played with in the past. Laura Hugo and Nathan Walker will be opening the night with their individual singer-songwriter acts. Hugo, Zachary mentions, was very close to Allan. Zachary says that he thinks it will be a cathartic way for her to celebrate Allan’s life and their friendship.
The silent auction will feature an array of items including a guitar signed by local musicians (donated by Twin Town Guitars), drum lessons donated by Klash Drums, and even a few gift cards to Steamship Coffee and Tea, the same one mentioned in Meenan’s Facebook comment. They are working on getting an online option available for those who can’t make the show but would still like to bid on items or donate.
Zachary hopes that with this show and with the release of this new single, that Allan will be remembered for his impact in music, and that they will be able to give back to organizations that meant so much to him and his family. “Jake was excited about this album because it really showcases his talent and it was how he wanted to be remembered,” says Zachary, “his legacy in music.”