I met Guntrouble at their Sunday show at Bug Jar. After a shitty hike through the first real snowfall of the winter I crammed into a booth with the trio and their manager/roadie/groupie. As we waited for the Super Bowl to end and for the music to start we joked about creating a 24” record, creating music as a three piece, and the need for basement shows.
How did Guntrouble get started?
Mark: I had written a bunch of songs and wanted guys to play with. Kolbe, who plays drums, wanted to play in a band with me; I had heard that from my brother. That was a big deal by itself. Then Justin and I have been jamming together for a while so it seemed like a normal fit. And Cougar became our manager/groupie/roadie.
Cougar: Back up for whatever really. Plus, I am the only one with a Guntrouble tattoo.
Where is it?
Cougar: I can’t pull my pants down.
How long have you guys been playing together?
Mark: It is about one year to the day. We had our first show at skylark. We are still working on getting a couple of singles finished we want to release one or two songs at a time. We are settling down and working on that for now.
Are you working up to a full length album?
Mark: It would be cool to do a full length album, but if you can’t do that you can just put out singles. Each single can sound a little different, but if each song on a full album comes out different you are kind of fucked.
Cougar: We can put up with singles so people will catch on and we can put out a big record. I mean big, we are talking 24” double a normal record. We want people to need to get an extension for their needle.
Justin: It’s difficult enough for a band to put out a normal record, might as well do something no one has ever done before. Do those machines even exist?
Cougar: Just two 16 minute songs on both sides.
When you put out an album what would you prefer? Vinyl, cassettes, CD, or digital?
Mark: I would prefer to a 45 vinyl. I know it’s expensive but if we release a couple singles at a time and do two 45s at once wouldn’t be a huge deal. Put out the first one and hopefully get some money back to put out the second one.
How does the songwriting process go for the band?
Mark: I write the songs then we learn them and arrange them together. They change a lot when we get the whole band playing them and see how each song works out timing wise. There is a lot of arranging from start to finish.
Did the sound you guys play come naturally or evolve from the three of you playing together?
Mark: I think I learned it over time. The style we play is something we always wanted to do. After playing music for a long time I finally felt confident that I could play something that sounded as real as it sounded in my head. I have always had dreams of the music sounding like a rocky band with lots of movement. In other bands I’ve been in I kind of fooled myself that we were achieving that but after playing more and more it’s finally getting there.
There is a difference at what we can do as a three piece and what we want to do. I think that what ends up coming out is between those two things. But what ends up coming out is pretty original. If we were good enough to play what we wanted or had enough people to do what we wanted the music would be less interesting. It would be closer to what has already been done a hundred times.
What do you think of the music scene in Rochester?
Cougar: There are some really good bands and a ton of terrible bands and not enough places to play either way. Could be worse, its good but it sucks.
Mark: I would like to see less influence from fashion. There is a bit too much fashion.
Cougar: Inter scene controversy is the worst thing a city can have; it’s just people not liking other types of music. It’s not like there are turf wars or fights because you don’t like another person’s music. It’s just different people liking certain things. We all play the five same places we’re all in the same boat.
Mark: I think there is a problem with the unavailability of people to have shows at their homes anymore. Ten years ago that was a big part of it. I just got smaller as years have gone by to the point where they don’t happen too often. A place will establish themselves for two shows and fade away. We need a good place to go that isn’t a bar. It’s just good for people to talk and be around each other. In the basement even the band is on the floor with the crowd everyone in the room is equal.