Hello Friends –
September is here – time for that back to school shopping music once again. For that, shoppers, we present Gumshen as our AotM. For me this started with Rich Hinklin. I’ve known Rich for a long time. He used to send me tapes of his band the Colleagues back in GMR Mach 1 and we released a cassette of his sound collage solo stuff – Contradiction in ‘88 or so. More recently Rich has contributed trax to our Xmas albums, both as a solo dude and with the Gumshen collective. Rich first sent me the guys EP Stew, which he had just recorded and mixed. He ended up joining the G-team on bass and has done the last few EPs as an band member. These guys like to do the EP thing, they’ve knocked ‘em out – done 6 of them now, each with 5-7 songs or so. Charmingly, they have numbered them 1-6 on the front of each EP, so there is not confusion about what happened when. If you want to start with one, I recommend #4 What You Make It as a fine starting point.
They describe themselves as follows: Gumshen is a Seattle band made up of Ron Hippe (also in Caspar Babypants – with Chris Ballew of The Presidents of the United States of America); Jan Ciganik – former member of bands produced by John Cale and Ivan Kral; Dennis McCoy, son of the owner of the Seattle icon Oscar’s, and AIS instructor Rich Hinklin, formerly of Reciprocal Recordings (working with Jack Endino, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Gits…) Gumshen, your quintessential ProgPop band, draws upon an eclectic palate of musical styles dishing out a healthy dose of rock, pop, prog and funk\rap. Gumshen sounds like King Crimson and Weezer adopting Elton John, renaming him Prince, and celebrating with a sunbeam of absinthe. Now they can add Pink Floyd to their list as they have covered the Floyder’s Shine on You Crazy Diamond which we feature this month.
They have made a freaky video for it as well. These guys play out fairy regularly – (they kindly played at The Icons last record release show), so you can check their page to go see ‘em do the their thing.
Next month we will have my new CD put – I Ain’t Blue Anymore. The albums is 100% Tom all played, recorded etc. by me. We have shot a video for my cover of The Sonics –The Witch– which oddly, features me playing with a band. Hmmm. More importantly, it features murder most foul and who doesn’t love fake, bloodless murder?
2. Not Every One of Us
3. Jag It Up
5. Too Much Good Times
Ron Hippe: Vox, Gtr, Keys
Jan Ciganik: Gtr
Dennis McCoy: Drums, Vox
Rich Hinklin: Bass
Gumshen 6: Everything What We Recorded (2012)
Gumshen 5: What You Make It (2011)
Gumshen 4: March of the Februaries (2010)
Gumshen 3: Super Buffet (2009)
Gumshen 2: Stew (2008)
Gumshen 1: Menthol James (2007)
The following is an interview with the fellows from Officially The Hottest.
Gumshen began as Menthol James, a hard-rocking Seattle quartet who played several successful shows at the historic Rainbow club, and a well-received live performance on KBTC 91.3 FM. One year and a few demos later, the band became a trio and recorded the Menthol James EP, mixed by Glenn Lorbecki and mastered at Glenn Sound. This mid-2007 release was followed by positive reviews.
Early in 2007, the band enlisted the help of veteran Seattle music producer/engineer Rich Hinklin (faculty member at The Art Institute of Seattle, Word of Mouth Productions, Reciprocal Recording – helped w/ Nirvana, Soundgarden, Gits recordings), changed their name to Gumshen, and returned to the studio to record their next EP. The result was the diversely entertaining Stew, which was released in January 2008, and also received glowing, positive acclaim “…the latest group to catch our ears and make us take notice.”
Gumshen’s latest and most ambitious release is entitled “Everything What We Recorded”.
OTH: Please introduce yourselves to our readers. Who are Gumshen?
We are a diverse Prog-Pop four piece band from Seattle, who have been described recently by reviewers as a hybrid of King Crimson, Talking Heads and Franz Ferdinand. We consider every musical path to be of interest to us but lately we’ve been exploring the world of electronica in our sound.
OTH: How did you guys come together to form a band? What gave you the name ?Gumshen??
We began as a group of fellahs who jammed together in the drummer’s garage. Then we took things a little more seriously and over time assembled the tools required to make the sounds that were in our heads. Next thing you know, we’re a recording force to be reckoned with. The name came from a jam trio that the drummer had with some other gentlemen that became defunct. We were looking for a change from our previous name “Menthol James” and it was the best thing at the time.
OTH: When writing a song what comes first the lyrics or the melody?
The melody comes first every time. Each of us writes our own music and we also write as a band but the lyrics are always the last thing. Usually very tardy and hastily completed. At times we’ve toyed with the idea of more instrumental music to eliminate this defect but ultimately a great song needs to communicate something poetic to match the music.
OTH: How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard of you before?
We like to try different styles of music in search of our own true sound. We actively embrace different styles and learn what makes each style different from another. Then we write something that is both our own sound married to an inspiration from another band or sound. We’ve been compared to Floyd, Grunge, Prog rock, pop, funk, Elton John, Devo, Franz Ferdinand, Talking Heads and others, I’m sure.
OTH: Are you guys currently working on an album?
Yes, we are in the early writing and recording stages of our seventh CD that is taking a more electronic approach that our previous albums. We are incorporating more samples and digital beats to modernize and deepen our sound. This new recording will be an evolution of sound for us.
OTH: What are some of the craziest things you guys have done together?
We are all married with kids and work on the band in our off hours so we do very little crazy stuff together. It’s quite a boring answer. Some of the band has gone fishing together but that’s about it. And some of us get pretty drunk sometimes.
OTH: If you guys can switch places with one another who would it be and why?
I’m pretty happy being me nowadays. Each of us brings our own skill and talent to the band and that is important to our quality and success. Some of us have abilities beyond the musical element like sound production or web design, and each of us has our individual chops on our instruments. So although we may envy each other’s abilities on our
instruments I think we’re all happy as we are.
OTH: Where do you see yourselves in 2 years?
Recording our 9th CD, getting some exposure for a great song (online or otherwise) and playing to bigger and bigger stages in Washington. Or massive international fame and fortune, whichever strikes first.
OTH: What’s your advice to people who want to be musicians?
Practice, practice, practice. You can make a million in the music industry for many reasons related to image, but I don’t know how to predict the public taste for that. But if you want to make music, listen to the music that inspires you and then learn how to play it and then make your own music inspired by it. That takes the time to learn an instrument and that can only be achieved by practice. If you want to make a living playing in a band then there are other considerations related to business but to just play an instrument is what it’s all about for most people. If you never make a dime you’ll still be happy making music.
OTH: Lastly, how can our readers keep in touch with you?
Email us at email@example.com or facebook us (gumshen) or check out our webpage http://www.gumshen.com/