Gutbucket is a free-range band. The seven-year-old New York quartet is not only equally comfortable playing in front of 900 sweatily pogo-ing teenage skate-punks, a crowd of stoned jamband freaks, or on an anarchist German art collective houseboat, but most importantly, their music fits right in.
Flitting from hard rock to Latin to thrash to klezmer and back, often within the space of a few bars, the group veritably attacks their music with the kind of ferocity usually reserved for punk, despite having earned their jazz bona fides. "We’re all pretty serious about rock," says saxophonist Ken Thomson, "and not just a token throwing-in of some different tunes. It’s something intrinsic to who we are as people. We’ve all had training in jazz, but we’ve moved outside that world into the rock world, to try to actually bring something new to that."
Though the band might seem rooted in the genre exploding of avant-squonk (their 2001 debut, InsomniacsDream, was released on the Knitting Factory house imprint), their shift to louder sounds began with their controversially-titled Dry Humping the American Dream (released in 2003 in Europe on the legendary Enja label and in 2004 in the US on Bang on a Can's acclaimed Cantaloupe label). It was an easier move than it might at first seem • bassist Eric Rockwin claims to have learned every Paul McCartney bassline by heart before his father humbled him with a Ray Brown CD. Guitarist Ty Citerman was "into everything that was Hendrix and Van Halen and Led Zeppelin." And drummer Paul Chuffo learned to play by mimicking The Who’s Keith Moon.
It’s only fitting, then, that the band initially came together as Ty, Ken, and Paul looked to expand their musical horizons at Columbia University’s WKCR, where Ty had a late-night radio show and Paul was the self-admitted "crazy guy in the corner smoking cigarettes and writing papers." After playing together for four years in the soul-jazz Ex Caminos, the three split off in 1999 to form what would become Gutbucket. Introduced through a friend, Eric and Paul found an instant rhythmic rapport, and the band was born. Four months later, they debuted before a packed house at Manhattan’s Baby Jupiter.
Gutbucket set to work building their all-important live rep, gigging first throughout Manhattan, before spreading across the collegiate markets of the east coast. The release of Dry Humping the American Dream and their full scale US rock club/art gallery/bar touring introduced them to their new "favorite places" -- San Francisco, Santa Fe, Hattiesburg, MS, and Wichita, KS. The band also hit the US festival circuit, including Seattle’s heralded Earshot Jazz Festival, New York’s Winter Jazz Festival, and played the colleges of Brandeis, Colgate, U. Missouri, and more.