Well, we’ve been a band for fifteen years now, though it’s really only felt like a couple. Me and Ben have been doing this for that long or maybe longer, I just know that our first show was in the fall of 2002 sometime, and it was a fundraiser for our high school Drama Club, back when Show Low High School still had one. More on that later.
There’s going to be a lot to reveal historically, I suppose, but I’d like to get down something of a history of the band thus far, through our songs. Recently I was organizing my stuff at home and found I had written over 200 songs, a bunch I can’t remember but plenty that I do. One could sit around all day waiting for something to happen, or one can put out music, so it appears I have a lot of catching up to do.
The demos I post to Gorky TV are going to be completely out of any kind of chronological order. I still have stuff I found that I’d written when I was 16, so it’s going to be a fun challenge to reinterpret those songs now that I am in my thirties. For many of them, it will be the first time anyone has heard them.
Here’s a newer one, ‘Never Leave It Alone’…
“Won’t stop ’til you curl your toes and shimmy your hips, baby…”
To me, this song sounds like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and Prince all sat down and wrote a ballad together. It might not sound like that to you, though. It’s weird when you think of your work one way but people compare you constantly to Fall Out Boy or Pennywise or something. Everybody hears music differently.
Arranging songs into albums has always been difficult for me because I am more of a singles person. I love the format and art that comes with crafting an album, but for me, looking back at all of my work, so many songs can go together on different albums. I’d rather prefer they be arranged into playlists or something, where each song can stand out on its own.
That’s pretty much what I am going to be doing with Gorky TV, and I would like to invite you, dear listener-reader, to join us on what I hope is going to be a joyful and amazing celebration of life, art, and sound.
As a live band, Gorky thrives on the rock and roll spirit. There is no greater feeling than playing rock and roll on stage to people, but I am not one of those guys who feels that records and bands need to sound like each other. When I am recording a demo at home, or when we are in the studio, it’s 50 percent playground and 50 percent laboratory. We’re there to realize a creative vision, and when we perform that vision to a crowd of people, suddenly it becomes something else. It becomes participatory. Sometimes these genius things you conjure in the studio don’t translate as well live, or like ballads are another thing. I have dozens of these slow, emotive songs, but I can’t see Gorky playing them live to people. Sometimes they might work. It really depends on the moment, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad songs, or that they don’t fit on the records or aren’t good singles, it’s just that I would prefer to play something else.
It’s a good thing, then, that I’ve got 200+ some odd songs to share with you, like this one, ‘Maybe I Am (And Maybe You Are Too).’ I wrote it in Flagstaff probably June or July 2011 when I was finishing my undergrad there at Northern Arizona University, listening to a lot of Simon and Garfunkel, The Byrds, just a lot of 60s folk rock in general, but I was also still heavy into glam rock, by which I mean T. Rex, so you might hear some of that in here too.
“Any which way you choose I’m all about it, ’cause I know it’s gonna be alright…”
Eventually you look back at your songs and forget what your influences were, because it all becomes blended. I am aware it’s different for everyone, but I started out by mimicking all of my favorite artists, and then once you figure out what you’re doing you find your own sound that way, through all the little tricks and things you pick up. Takes a lot of work and time, but it is absolutely imperative you find your own sound. If you just copy someone else’s sound without putting yourself into it, you’re literally accepting that whatever that other artist did, your work will never be as good or original as that, and so you might as well just do what they’re doing to be successful.
Fuck all that.
“So delicious and so boring…”
I can’t say what the timeline is going to be for my recording and releasing these songs through Gorky TV. There are also new records and singles on the way and some potential big changes not far down the road, so mostly these are going to be versions of songs I make myself, playing all of the instruments, and maybe some of them can be formed into albums. Also I am going to keep writing music indefinitely, and we are also doing more as a band. Me and the boys are fixin’ to blow the lid off soon, so sit tight.
Also, since we don’t really belong to any particular scene here in Arizona, one could consider Gorky TV to be a beacon from another world, transmitting you strange music from a far away place, because that’s exactly what it is.
Anyway, I guess I could write forever, so I will leave you with ‘My Big Bad Blues.’ This song is part of the soundtrack to a film I am currently writing the screenplay for. That will be happening and I am very excited for it. In the meantime, please subscribe to Gorky TV and navigate your way through the Gorkweb!
Thanks for reading, Gorkheads. Until next time…
11 June 2017
For already-officially released stuff, please visit the GORKY Bandcamp Page