mojo hand

Jules Leyhe is a regular at San Francisco’s Biscuits and Blues, a venue devoted to live blues music and Southern cuisine. Here, Leyhe hits a sweet spot on his Fender Deluxe Special Stratocaster while playing at the club in 2019.

Photo by Bob Hakins

Jules Leyhe is gonna piss off some blues guitar purists.

His main passion is the blues, and he cuts the best blues-slide licks since Derek Trucks—maybe even Duane Allman. But you won’t find one blues song on his newest release, Your First Rodeo. In fact, they’re not really on any of his albums. His songs are a steady stream of EDM, ’70s funk, Hendrix-like psychedelic jams, and horn sections from south of the border. Think Oz Noy and his admittedly twisted take on jazz. That’s what Leyhe brings to the blues.

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This silicon fuzz uses interactive controls and variable voltage to yield a fantastic array of shape-shifting sounds.

Once upon a time—not so long ago—fuzz was regarded in certain quarters as downright sleazy. Never mind that the effect helped shape classy sounding mega-million sellers from Dark Side of the Moon to the Isley Brothers’ “Summer Breeze.” By the late ’70s fuzz was held in low esteem—the essence of everything trashy, regressive, and vulgar. And whether you used a Fuzz Face, Tone Bender, or something more crude and terrifying, you huddled with fellow sleazoids in loose clans of outcasts and deviants.

Then a strange thing happened. Fuzz found favor again. And factions within those ranks of weirdoes began to appear. Suddenly “civilized” fuzz cultists (generally favoring smooth, germanium-derived vintage tones) sang the praises of the “few true” fuzz pedals with aristocratic tones and nose-upturned postures more associated with brandy aficionados. What Mojo Hand Fx has given us in the form of El Guapo is a shape shifting, variable-voltage, silicon fuzz that could potentially bridge the divide between the (yuck) connoisseurs and the outsiders that relish sputtering, sick, and more perverse fuzz cacophony.

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