It’s no big secret that Troy has one of the most eclectic music scenes in the Capital Region. For starters, veteran David Bowie and current The Cure axe-man Reeves Gabrels calls the Collar City home. So do buzzing local artists like Girl Blue, Julia Alsarraf, The Sea The Sea and Zan and the Winter Folk. Troy Savings Bank Music Hall hosts a steady stream of national talent, and local collectives, like Organ Colossal—cofounded by local musicians Sophia Subbayya Vastek and Sam Torres (who, full disclosure, plays bass in my band)—host multi-genre events around town regularly. (Hopefully, those will return post-COVID.) And The Hangar on the Hudson, a smaller performance space, hosts a range of indie and alt-country rockers. Plus, to whet your appetite for the audible stuff, there’s the long-running River Street Beat Shop and the soon-to-open Sound House Records.
So it makes sense that a city that eats, drinks and sleeps music would need more than one music shop of note. There’s, of course, Collar City Guitar, which recently did some custom work on one of the aforementioned Gabrel’s guitars. And then there’s two-year-old Love of Fuzz, a growing small business, which specializes in recycling, fixing and selling vintage amplifiers, effects pedals and other electronics. It’s also a licensed dealer of Guild and Sterling guitars, among others.
While Love of Fuzz has bounced around, location-wise, over the last two years, starting off on Fulton Street in Downtown Troy, before moving to River Street, it has finally found a permanent vacation destination for later this summer. Owner TJ Hiemel announced on the shop’s social media earlier this month that Love of Fuzz would be moving into the historic Rodino’s building at 348 Congress Street in Troy. Its projected opening day, Hiemel tells Capital Region Living, is August 1.
For the uninitiated, Rodino’s, a longtime Collar City family business, first opened in 1948, as a tuxedo rental and menswear shop, and was in business for the next 71 years, before closing in 2019. The building sat empty until Hiemel purchased the 10,000-square-foot space. “It’s cool, because it’s a Troy staple,” says Hiemel. “We’re not going to change it too much, but it’s great to have more space, because we’ve just outgrown where we’re at.” That will include keeping and potentially preserving the classic black-and-white tuxedo advertisement on the side of the building that drivers can see coming down Congress. “We’re talking to some masons about maybe putting a clear coat over it, so that it doesn’t disappear.”
Hiemel is excited by the prospect of moving up on “the Hill,” too, an area where Downtown Troy business Funcycled recently relocated and perennial Bestie-winning Polish restaurant Muza also makes its home. “We’re going to be in good company up there,” he says. “I could see a lot more happening up that way. I think the downtown area is pretty saturated—it’s really great, but there’s not a lot of buildings left.”
Maybe best of all for the Troy music scenesters that Love of Fuzz will be catering to is its new building’s versatility. “There’s a potential for [putting] some rehearsal spaces and rentals in the basement,” he says. “That’s always in demand.”