Gang Green – Back & Gacked – Interview

Gang Green

Back & Gacked (Taang!)
An interview with Chris Doherty and Walter Gustafson
by Scott Hefflon
photos by John Roser

Back & Gacked is your first studio album in how long?
Chris: Five or six years. Six, actually, 1991 it was.

Wasn’t your last record on Roadrunner?
Chris: Actually, the last release we did for Roadrunner was Can’t Live Without It, recorded live at The Marquee, in Monte. That was pretty much just to fulfill our contractual obligation to them and get off the label. We weren’t too happy with them. The last studio album we did was All The Budweiser with Roadrunner.

How many other albums did you release through them?
Chris: Besides those two, we did I Ate One Before You and You Got It. Four albums total. In Europe, I think they did an excellent job for us – with both publicity and distribution. But in America, they didn’t know their ass from their elbow. It was a really loosely run business and they didn’t have any clue what was going on. It made us ask ourselves what the fuck we were doing on the label. They would run full page ads in magazines, then they’d delay the release of the record for two months. So they’d spent all the money for promotions, then when the record did come out, they didn’t have it to spend it again.

During the crossover days, didn’t they market you as a metal band?
Chris: They had King Diamond and they marketed him well, so they kinda threw us in with him. They tried to work us like a metal band, and sometimes it worked. Some of the best shows we played were with bands like Megadeth and Overkill. Well, maybe not our best, but their audiences dug us. The funny thing was, the speedmetal kids just wanted it fast. We would play a song off This is Boston, Not L.A. like “Snob,” and the crowd would go fuckin’ wild. The song’s less than 30 seconds long, but they loved it ’cause it was the fastest thing they’d ever heard.

Now you’re back on Taang! Records with Back & Gacked, an EP, right?
Chris: It’s only a little over ten minutes long, so yeah, it’s an EP. Another Case of Brewtality was scheduled for release on September 1st, but I think it’s the 15th now. It’s 19 new songs Walter and I recorded, and four from Back & Gacked, so it’s 23 songs altogether. It’s a big bang for your buck.

What about production credits?
Chris: Want to handle this one Wally? I gotta call my future wife.

Walter: You going to announce your engagement here?

Chris: I think I just did. To Stephanie Marks, December 27th.

Walter: Chris and I produced the record with David Minehan at Capertown Sound. We did both Brewtality and Back & Gacked there with David.

What was the deal with Klover?
Walter: I don’t know. I wasn’t there. I guess the guy that signed ’em got fired, so they lost the support of the label (Mercury).

Chris, Klover: the melodies are there, pop/punk is selling like hotcakes, production is thin and shallow, what were you thinking?
Chris: I wasn’t happy with it at all. I was the guitar player in a band I was signed to start, and it ended up not even being my band. But, ya know, it was my first experience with a major label, so I took the money and ran. Ya know? It’s a good record despite the production being not so strong, but being on the road, a fuckin’ sideman to a guy in a mohawk wasn’t really my gig. I got Foghorn Leghorn leading the band, and I’m thinkin’, “This sucks!”

What happened? How did you loose control of your own band?
Chris: I started it, but I ended up wanting nothing to do with it. Brian (Betzger, drums) is one of my closest friends, but he’s off doing his own thing. After this whole Klover thing, we both realized we’d been through enough failures in life, uphill battling, and getting shit on, so we’re not playing together anymore. Mike Stone (singer) is very talented, and Darren Hill is a great bass player, but the band was seriously lacking in chemistry.

Hadn’t you played with Darren?
Chris: No, I’ve been trying to get Darren to play in a band with me for years. He was in Red Rockets, then in Raindogs, then in Paul Westerburg’s band, and now he’s got his own label, Soundproof Records. He rolling, he’s doing well.

So where are you at now?
Chris: I’m back doing the full-speed-ahead fun stuff. Back to the stuff I know how to do. It’s definitely a breath of fresh air. This is the stuff I love. Klover was a big corporate mistake I made, but the new GangGreen stuff I’m really psyched about.

I haven’t heard Brewtality yet, but Back & Gacked is short, fast, and a return to form.
Chris: We wanted to pump out a six-song EP really quick, just to show people GangGreen was back. Here’s what we’re doing – love it, hate it, whatever. We worked really hard on Brewtality. Walter was done in two days, but I spent the next three months on it. And I’m really proud of Walter – he didn’t have a beer the whole week he was mixing. He was in there day in and day out, too.

And now you’re back on Taang!?
Chris: Back with Taang!. In fact, I was just at Curtis’ engagement party. And the entertainment was Rene Rancourt, the guy who sings the national anthem at Bruins games. I was psyched! Ya know, I’m a big hockey fan, so I was like, “Hey man, how’s it going?” He was like, “Do I know you?” He made me feel like a dick. Whatta asshole that guy was. And he sucked, too. He definitely gets my vote for dick of the month.