Chicago 4-piece Gunner’s Daughter recently released a new 4 song EP entitled Trust Us When We Tell You via Death To False Hope Records. The band, active since 2007, consists of guitarist Chris Behm and Mike Schwab, bassist Joe Lee and Blake Miller on drums.
Their sound has something very reminiscent of what you might have heard come out of the San Diego scene during the 90’s when bands like Swivelneck, Drive Like Jehu and RFTC were ruling the music scene, but then again that would be one song and there’s a hint of Hot Water Music in some of the vocal delivery, so it really is a shortcut to trying to explain what they sound like. Regardless what associations can be made, the band stands on their own and the new EP on Death to False Hope Records proves that repeatedly.
Behm, who also shares vocal duties with Schwab, took the time to answer some questions for us.
(Ian): In a paragraph or 2 just give a brief history of the band i.e. the formation, how you guys met, where you’re from and how long the band has been together?
(Chris): Gunner’s Daughter started out in the summer of 2007. I had just moved back to the area after being on the road tour managing for a few years. At the time I promised myself that I was completely finished with music and band stuff. I was trying to get my post touring life started aka: a stable job.
I had met Joe in 2002 when I first moved to the Chicagoland area from Buffalo, NY to join a band called The Fold. When The Fold wasn’t working out anymore, I got a job at a nearby skate shop to pay the bills. I met Joe there and we immediately became good friends. I stayed in touch with Joe even after I moved away and anytime that I was on tour coming through the Chicago area I always gave him a shout to come down and hang out.
After the touring shoes were hung up, and I was finished with the band/music world. I still went to shows, but I was really trying to get my life going. Joe and I started hanging again and he expressed interest to me on multiple occasions that he wanted to buy a bass and learn how to play. I agreed that if he bought something I would show him a few things here and there. Not knowing it at the time, this was the beginning of Gunner’s Daughter. Joe was good friends with Mike and later on after going through a few drummers, we found solace in Blake.
From what I can gather you guys are from Chicago. How’s the local support for you when you play there?
Chicago is a double-edged sword sometimes. Yes. It’s a rad city, and it’s got a plenty of great venues to play at, however… there is always something going on, always competition against another show or venue. Which is great because it means the scene is strong. There are a lot of bands here as well. That’s to be expected though. We just trudge on and make the most of it. We get to play some great shows with some friends of new and old plus we drink copious amounts of beer in the process. Win win all around.
Are you guys able to get out and tour as much as you want or do the realities of the real world sometimes limit your time on the road?
When we started this band, touring was never a priority. We just wanted to play around Chicago and write and record music together. Obviously things have changed a bit since the release of both ep’s. I think our band is in a transition point right now and we would like to go out-of-town a little bit here and there. Provided our schedules all mesh. We actually have a very tentative plan to hit some West Coast dates before we play Way Out West Fest in April. We’ll see about that though. I personally hope it works out.
Was there a band, or even an album or a particular song that made that “light above your head” turn on and say “This is what I want to do”?
Great question! I have two answers, First time I knew I wanted to play music is when I borrowed my cousins cassette of Slippery When Wet. I had a toy fire truck with detachable ladders and I would run around the house ripping guitar solos on those things pretending that they were guitars. I also used to get down to Dire Straights as well or at least so I am told. Realistically, the first time I realized I wanted to be in a punk band such as ours, it was the first time that I saw HWM. Michigan Fest 1998. They headlined the first night and I was so looking forward to their set all day, remember the days when you would get butterflies before your favorite band would go on? When they hit the stage, I was blown away, awe-struck and just plain floored. They opened with Translocation, they were 4 guys spilling their guts out on the stage and giving it 1000%. That set changed my life. That’s when I knew that I needed to start playing and writing differently.
Where did you record your EP and about how long did it take?
We recorded Trust Us When We Tell You at The Bombshelter here in Chicago with Dan Precision of 88 Fingers Louie fame. We recorded our first ep New Skeletons there as well. Since the first recording when so smooth with Dan, we knew we wanted to work with him again. We booked 10 days and I think we went to the very last-minute with that recording. Dan put in a lot of extra hours which we are forever grateful for. I got sick in the middle of tracking main vocals so we had to delay a few days as well. We plan on working with Dan again in the very near future. Great dude, and is able to produce an awesome record.
The band’s Facebook lists a few influences but is any influence drawn from other art forms i.e. Movies, TV, Literature?
All sorts of influences go into the music. For instance “A High Fidelity Moment is derived from the Movie, High Fidelity. In the song, I am telling my story of what I went through in a certain point of my life. It’s pretty comparable to when Rob has his big freak out and asks “What does it all mean?” Except in my case, I never go back to old ways like he did. I decide to keep focused and stay on the path that I am on. It’s for the betterment of my own sanity, I think? I write a lot about my life experiences, I try to tell stories of my travels, all the stuff that I have seen and experienced. Sometimes in the end they just end up making sense to me and I am okay with that. I like to write open-ended as much as I can so interpretation can be left up to the listener. What something means to me may end up having a completely different meaning to you, and that’s okay. I love that!
So is there anything else you’d like to add that you think people should know about gunners daughter?
The four of us are loving what we are doing, so look for us on tour in 2012 east coast and west coast are in the works. We are about to go into the Bombshelter again with Dan Precision of 88 Fingers Louie and record a few songs for a 4 band split in the works. Look for us at WOW Fest in Tuscun,AZ in April 2012 we have already been asked to play it. If you are into us pick up both Ep’s on Deathtofalsehoperecords.com, iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp. We also set up a Big Cartel store finally so pick up some merch and help us keep the dream alive.
Check out the full stream of Trust Us When We Tell You and order from Death to False Hope Records HERE
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