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Gutbucket: Cascades and Collisions

By Published: June 21, 2011
TC: When I was writing that I was concerned with very long- toned, thick, rich harmony and texture, contrasting it with the tune "Set the Trapeze to Gravity" (another that I wrote tune from Flock) which is very notey—although it's kind of a low register unison line. With "Murakami" I had the notion of creating music with a very dense sound, without the interruption of note articulation. Especially given that the band has been experimenting with looping pedals for number of years, it's something that I like to play around with in solo guitar endeavors as well. I love the synergistic effect of long tones looping and creating these dense harmonies.

And so, with "Murakami" I thought it would be interesting to use the bass, guitar and saxophone for that, and let the drums add the notes, and the kind of percussive contrasting voice—and let it be improvised. Because we do have a lot that's so written and highly composed nowadays I thought it would be interesting to offer Adam the opportunity to explore. The beginning, the first two minutes of his part is composed, but it's very sparse, and once the tune reaches this moment where everyone kind of backs away, it begins this drum solo which I really love what he did with it. And basically he's given a departure and an endpoint, where we launch into the last section of the song.

AAJ: Are you into Japanese fiction like Haruki Murakami?

TC: Yes. Actually the title of that song came from a nonfiction book of his, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (Vintage, 2008). I'm a runner, although not a competitive runner. He's a serious marathon runner, and his book is about how that parallels his work as a novelist. He talks about having a long-range perspective as both novelist and runner. I think the patience of Murakami, and the way it evolves so slowly and organically is what I was thinking about when I titled the song with it in mind.

I studied Japanese in college. I lived in Japan in the summer of 1994, outside of Kyoto. I wasn't thinking about writing music too much at that point, though at the same time there's a lot of interesting Japanese bands that I've become aware of, for example The Ruins.

AAJ: Now you are a very young band, but you've been together for a long time. Are you going to stay together? Gutbucket is such a great group. It's evolved so quickly, and it's got so much more room to evolve, I guess you can't even predict. But do you have any intentions?

TC: We all have somewhat different musical lives. But we're all very committed. All of us get a lot out of the group creatively.

AAJ: Going back to Monk: one difference between Gutbucket and Monk is this continual radical evolution—whereas Monk was pretty much defined stylistically very early on— 1950, even. He had a template and he just varied that template. He's one of the greatest artists who ever lived, but Gutbucket will make more of a mark, too, in the long run; even what you are doing now will be seen as having been significant and important work. That plus what you're going to be doing in the future: there's the inertia and momentum that you still have, but it really seems that there are some radical innovations to come.

From left: Eric Rockwin, Ty Citerman, Ken Thomson, Adam Gold

TC: I appreciate the prophecy. I know we'll continue to explore the way we do, and given the way the worlds of jazz and classical and rock—the genres are less stratified than they were 15 or even 20 years ago, there is this kind of fluidity in terms of performance venue, opportunities to collaborate. No one expects just one thing from Gutbucket—and perhaps if we become more famous someday, people will start to expect that; though I sincerely doubt that, because part of what defines the band is that it's a very expansive and broad-sounding group.

AAJ: Also your idealism: you're not there to just prove that you're innovative or clever; you have ideas about what music can do and how it can bring people together. The group itself is a collective...

TC: I think if we were out to prove something we would have lost steam a long time ago. So yeah, it's a deeper interest than that.

Selected Discography

Gutbucket, Flock, Cuneiform (2011)

Gutbucket, A Modest Proposal (Cuneiform, 2009)

Gutbucket, Sludge Test (Cantaloupe, 2006)

Gutbucket, Dry Humping the American Dream (Cantaloupe, 2003)

Gutbucket, Insomniacs Dream (Knitting Factory, 2000)

Photo Credits
Pages 1, 3: Daniel Sheehan

Page 2, 5: Natascha Rockwin

Page 4: Nestor Diaz

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