The Goddamn Gallows Get Set to Meet ‘The Maker,’ Their Fifth Studio Album

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:: Triple Nickel (Colo. Springs) :: August 21::

:: Bluebird Theater :: August 23 ::

By Brian F. Johnson

Based strictly on their instrumentation, The Goddamn Gallows could fit in at any bluegrass festival around the country. But the Rust-Belt-based group takes their instruments —a big standup bass, banjo, guitar, washboard and accordion — and makes some of the harshest, most raw sounding music that has ever been played on acoustic stringed instruments.

The Goddamn Gallows, a heavily inked group of misfits that are almost as much carnies as they are musicians, play loud, driving “hobocore” — a blend of psychobilly, street punk, rockabilly, punk rock, and roots music which takes the instruments of Flatt and Scruggs and essentially beats the piss out of them.

“It was a slow process to get to this,” said bassist Courtney Kostrich, a.k.a. Fishgutzzz, talking about the evolution of the band during a recent interview with The Marquee. “We started as a three-piece with myself, Mikey [Mikey Classic] and ‘Baby Genius’ [Uriah Baker] and we started playing on the streets. It was much more of a punk rock and psychobilly sound. But as we’ve added people, like “Avery” [the fire-breathing washboard and accordion player]the sound just grew,” he said.

When the band formed, two-thirds of its members were living in flophouses around East Lansing, Mich., and with some prodding they got the one “settled down” member, Classic, to dump his girlfriend, quit his job and move into a van to start touring. Since that time nearly a decade ago, the band has been full-time road warriors, playing more than 200 live dates a year, their van becoming the closest thing to a residence that many of them have known in years.

Over the decade, some members have come and gone, but the founders remain in the group and these days are joined by banjoist Joe Perreze and the aforementioned Avery.

It was Avery who said in a video that accompanied their 2011 release 7 Devils, “I had a job, a future, potentially. And it’s these douche bags that did it — that ruined my goddamn life.”

Kostrich explained that he and Baker met Avery at the Heavy Rebel Weekender Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C. several years ago. “Uriah and I were walking through the cafeteria and he said to me, pointing to Avery, ‘I’ve seen this guy around. I think he’s fucking crazy.’ He was sitting there eating a biscuit and as we walked by him we smashed his biscuit,” Kostrich said. “He picked it up and threw it at us and Uriah picked it up and started eating it. And that was it. We hung around with each other all weekend. Then, not much later, we had a show in St. Louis, where he was living at the time and he just kind of showed up and became part of the band. We gave him a washboard and said, ‘Go at it.’”

The Goddamn Gallows have released four studio albums, as well as a live recording and a 7-inch, and sometime this fall they plan to put out their latest, The Maker, on the roots label Farmageddon Records.

“We recorded it with Andy Gibson, who plays  steel guitar in Hank III’s band. We’ve done a couple of records with him before and for this we went down to Nashville this winter and spent a week there working on it,” Kostrich said, who added that the group plans on being slightly less underground for this release.

“Since we’ve always been a touring band and spend so much time on the road, every time we’ve finished a record, we immediately started selling it on the road. But for this one we wanted to sit on it a bit instead of just throwing it on the table and saying, ‘Here it is,’” said Kostrich.

He went on to say that the album is different than anything else in their discography and that a large part of that is due to the inclusion of Perreze and what he brings to the table as the relative new guy.

“Joe played on 7 Devils, but the songs were already written and he just came in and added parts. But for this one he wrote a lot, including the title track, ‘The Maker’. The process of making this record was much more interactive, with everybody working together,” said Kostrich.

In addition to the new band album, and an impending 7-inch release which will proceed it,  three of the group’s members will release solo albums this year, and Kostrich said that they just “got some legal matters cleared up — old warrants and what not” — which will allow the band to travel to Europe later this year.

:: The Goddamn Gallows ::

:: Triple Nickel (Colo. Springs) :: August 21::

:: Bluebird Theater :: August 23 ::

 

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