Blackwitch Pudding plays in Bend

Portland band practices sludgy stoner-metal wizardry

By Ben Salmon / The Bulletin / @frequencyblog


Published Jan 24, 2014 at 12:06AM / Updated Jan 24, 2014 at 01:04PM

If you go

What: Blackwitch Pudding, with The Kronk Men and The Beerslayers

When: 9 p.m. Tuesday

Cost: $5

Where: Volcanic Theatre Pub, 70 S.W. Century Drive, Bend

Contact: www.volcanic theatrepub.com

The drummer for Blackwitch Pudding — who goes by Wizard Wizard — has just dropped his band’s tour van off at a decidedly non-wizardly place: the tire shop.

A flat in Vegas has stalled the trio’s tour of the West, which stops in Bend on Tuesday (see “If you go”).

“We’re just getting some food, waiting for them to do their magic,” Wizard Wizard says.

Oh, are the tire-shop workers wizards, too?

“Sort of,” he replies. “They could be a little cooler and play rock ’n’ roll, but I suppose we need some kind of tire wizards.”

And with that, we have entered the fantastical world of Blackwitch Pudding, a Portland band that plays a sludgy, serrated brand of stoner-metal and psychedelic doom, and does so in wizard robes, bathed in a smoke-and-light show worthy of music’s most theatrical characters.

It’s an act the band works to keep up all the time, even in its bio: “Legend has it, they were raised from a stagnant used puddle of ergot, left by the mysterious Blackwitch, hundreds of years ago.”

Wizard Wizard — who grew up in Bend — is more forthcoming. His name is Patrick, but he declines to reveal his last name. (“I’m sure if you say Patrick, people who know will know.”) He is 26, and he “learned a few wizard skills” at Bend High School before moving to Ashland for college.

There, he played in a band called Frogburd that wasn’t metal, but was loud. (His bandmate in that band is Blackwitch Pudding’s guitarist, Space Wizard.)

“Just about every little bar that we played in Ashland, they’d tell us, ‘Turn down, turn down, turn down. You’re too loud, you’re too loud. You’re scaring away the customers,’” Wizard Wizard said. “We even played a show downtown and the Shakespeare festival, which was probably half-a-mile away with their outdoor stage, called the cops on us.

“So after four years of bars and venues not really knowing that they’re throwing a rock show when they’re throwing a rock show, we’d had enough of that and moved to Portland,” he said. “First place we played said, ‘That was fantastic. You guys should’ve played louder.’”

Wizard Wizard’s love of heavy sounds goes way back, he said.

“It’s kinda what my parents listened to. I still have like half of my parents’ records in my record collection, and it’s like Black Sabbath records with my mom’s maiden name still written on ’em,” he said. “I grew up with a mix of Black Sabbath and Stevie Ray Vaughan, so I just kinda smashed those two together.”

Upon moving to Portland, Frogburd dissolved, Space and Wizard hooked up with a bassist, Lizard Wizard, and Blackwitch Pudding was born. The band released an excellent album, “Taste the Pudding,” in October, which Portland alt-weekly Willamette Week called “in the same class as Sunn O))), Jesu and Boris.” (High compliments, if you’re unfamiliar.)

That’s the sound. As for the look, Wizard Wizard says Blackwitch Pudding’s theatrics are about making a stoner-metal show “more than just a smelly guy in a jean jacket.” It’s goofy and tongue-in-cheek, and if that makes it not very metal and some folks’ eyes, that’s their problem, he said.

Plus, “the robes and stuff, I don’t think we could do it without it,” he said, “because you’d look like a pretty dumb wizard without a robe.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0377, bsalmon@bendbulletin.com