AN INTERVIEW WITH SON OF A GUN
Born out of summer boredom, Son Of a Gun’s transformation from a one man bedroom recording project into a full band is captivating. With Garrett Luczak (guitar/vocals) at the forefront, the band has been constantly evolving since 2012. With a rotating line-up including Chris Zalejski (bass) whose been there from the very first show in 2013, the band cycled through a few members ultimately adding in Nick Usalis (guitar/vocals) and Steve Howe (drums). Confident in their post-punk roots, the current line-up released their latest LP Larry’s Cookies in November, a screeching daze of distorted guitars and gritty lo-fi. These four dudes might have “nothing to lose” but sure have a lot to gain.
SON OF A GUN STARTED AS A SOLO PROJECT, CORRECT? HOW/WHEN DID IT EVOLVE INTO A FULL BAND?
GARRETT: Son Of A Gun originally started as me recording everything by myself in my bedroom in August of 2012. I didn’t start playing live until 2013 with a slightly different line-up than we have now. Right now, it’s me on guitar and vocals, Nick Usalis on guitar and vocals, Steve Howe on drums, and Chris Zalejski on bass who has been in Son Of A Gun since the first show.
CHICAGO! HOW ARE YOU INFLUENCED BY THE MUSIC SCENE THERE + HOW DO YOU CONTRIBUTE TO IT? ANY BANDS IN PARTICULAR THAT ARE SHAPING IT?
NICK: The music scene here is undeniably one of the best in the country. You really gain a new appreciation for it when you go on tour and play smaller cities that don’t have as big of a scene. In the past few years the scene has been changing a little bit which is cool. I think local bands like Whitney are shaping some of the new music that’s starting to appear in Chicago. It’s not all about playing three chord garage rock anymore. Although we still fall into the garage rock genre, I feel that we have changed a lot over the years and with every release. We’ve been trying to incorporate more jamming and improvising, sometimes live in between songs. Maybe we’ve been listening to too many Grateful Dead records.
YOU GUYS PLAYED AN ALBUM RELEASE SHOW IN NOVEMBER AT THE EMPTY BOTTLE. HOW DID THE AUDIENCE REACT TO YOUR NEW STUFF?
GARRETT: It seemed like the crowd was digging the new stuff. We even played some brand new stuff that we are excited about recording as soon as possible.
LARRY’S COOKIES. ANY THEMATIC CONCEPTS THAT RUN THROUGH THE ALBUM? FAVORITE LYRIC + WHY?
CHRIS: The album doesn’t really have a specific theme or concept, but is more of a collection of snapshots leading up to the production and recording of the album. Certain songs have been influenced by long and short lived relationships, experiences observed by my friends, and the music was there to narrate the those things. Any of the songs can really go in the direction of listener’s interpretation.
GARRETT: My favorite lyric is from the song “Larry’s Cookies” ‘It’s been such a long time since I went and had a look, I got a lot of questions you just cant find in a book.’ I feel like it represents the whole album pretty well, it’s a song about thinking hard.
DO YOU DESIGN YOUR OWN ALBUM ART? DO YOU THINK THIS REFLECTIVE OF THE MUSIC YOU ARE PORTRAYING? TELL US ABOUT LO FO SUPPLY AND HOW THAT CONTRIBUTES TO YOUR TUNES/LOCAL MUSIC.
GARRETT: I designed all of the artwork for the Son Of A Gun releases except for one cassette that came out in 2013. Usually I have an idea or an image burning in my brain while we are making the music. It’s fun to have total control of the artwork and the music, it’s nice to be completely independent when trying to get your message or image across. For this album I knew I wanted to make a flat still-life with 3-dimensional objects, with this ceramic skull I made as the centerpiece. There was no other option. Lo-Fi Supply is a small business avenue/record label that we use to release music sometimes and for me to sell my weird silkscreen ideas.
WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING AN ARTIST IN THE 21ST CENTURY? AN OVERWHELMING AMOUNT OF TECHNOLOGY?
NICK: I think it has its ups and downs. It’s great that anybody can record a song and post it onto the internet so easily. Music has become so accessible which is awesome, but one of my biggest fears is that someone is going to listen to our music through the speaker of an iPhone or something like that. You spend all the this time in a studio recording onto 1” tape and using all these expensive compressors and preamps but the listener is not going to get the full picture. You're losing a lot of data. The song “No End” off of our new record touches on the obsessions of phone usage.