... Gus Company, Musicians. Part Two!
In the second half of our multiple part Two Cents & Five Questions, we talk to Jon Gus, the band's lead singer and guitar player.
Gus Company is a local Los Angeles area band that will release its self-titled debut CD TONIGHT at a CD release party at The Knitting Factory in Hollywood.
If you like the song currently playing on TheTwoCents' MySpace page - that's Gus Company! You can hear a handful of their original tracks on the band's MySpace page!
Jon took a few minutes out of his day to fill us in!
Two Cents: Please tell the Two Cents about yourself and how you found your passion for music.
Jon Gus: I grew up in a small town in Connecticut and currently reside in LA. I found my way out west some 5 or 6 years ago by following a girl out here. We're still together, too. She's the muse for most (if not all) of the songs I write.
Music was always around for me growing up. My mom had the stereo playing continuously in our house and my dad was always doing something with music. He's played sax in one band or another since he was a kid and instilled within my brother and me his same fervor for music. I remember walking around downstairs in our house one time when I was a kid and checking out his band equipment – huge black speaker cabinets, PAs, and cases that smelled of smoky clubs and glasses of scotch. As a kid, I think the curiosity for this mysterious 'thing' that he did with his band on weekend nights became subconsciously ingrained in me somehow. Like, ‘I want to do whatever this is that he’s doing.’ So when I was 12 and he asked me if I'd like a guitar for Christmas, man, I jumped right for it. That same Christmas day I was strumming 'The House of Rising Sun' with my dad and my uncle and it felt like I could finally hang with the grown up folks on a different level. Yeah, not exactly a holiday tune, but it was gritty, and it just made sense. From there, my brother learned the drums and we were off. My dad was always packing the car with our music gear for family parties and persuading us to play. Yeah, at first it was pulling teeth because we felt really uncomfortable and shy about it, but now it’s a great time. This past August, my dad packed the car with our gear and we played my cousin’s post-wedding party in Plymouth . And we’re playing my brother’s wedding in May. Hope the Gus Clan isn’t too sick of Mustang Sally yet…
There's something about picking up a guitar, or any instrument for that matter, that transforms you. Something comes over you when you’re playing a song, either by yourself or with a band. You’re somewhere else. And it can be quite addicting.
TC: Your new CD "Gus Company" goes out to the masses TONIGHT, what's going on in your mind about this enormous step for the band?
JG: It’s the second big step of the journey. The first step was simply getting out there. Sure, we’ve been playing around LA for about 2 years, but this really feels like the beginning. Scary and very exciting. It’s funny. This CD stemmed from the need to have something to give clubs in order to get gigs. Something quick and dirty. Once we began to put these 5 songs down, the three of us realized that we had something here. We put a little more time into it and kind of surprised ourselves in a way. My first thought is very simply that I hope people like listening to these songs as much as we like playing them. If that happens, hopefully folks will share these songs with friends, and so on.
TC: If you could go back in time and have been responsible for a recording a song that is now legend, which song would it be?
JG: So many great songs out there, but I'd have to choose Where the Streets Have No Name, by U2. To me, it’s one of those undeniably great songs. If it comes on the radio, I never turn the station. It gets me every time. It’s the perfect marriage of great lyrics and unique music. From the opening synth swells to the soaring vox at the climactic double chorus at the end. How can you not want to play guitar like The Edge after hearing that opening riff? I’ve read articles with Bono quoted as saying that every time they play that song, “it’s like God walks through the room.” I’ll admit at first that was a pretty lofty notion to me and it kind of put me out. But then I saw them when they stopped in LA on their last tour, and something definitely happens when they play that song. Something moved me.
TC: What fun websites do you visit for your own entertainment?
JG: I head to Fender.com a lot and their Custom Shop link. It’s fun to drool over some of those new-vintage guitars and gear. There’s also CNN.com, www.apple.com/trailers, MySpace, and…. THE TWO CENTS, of course! I’m into this music biz blog right now written by Bob Lefsetz (www.lefsetz.com) that deals with the state of the music industry and how we’re not exactly playing by the record companies’ rules any longer. It’s a strange new place these days for music, and he doles out advice and his thoughts and seems to make sense. Okay, and I’ll admit that I check out the websites for Battlestar Galactica and LOST when I’m nerding-out about those shows…
TC: What is your utopian idea of where Gus Company goes from here? Utopian is a good word.
JG: Ideally, I'd like this band to accomplish, by remaining true to ourselves, those feats that our musical heroes have accomplished. From here, I’d like to see this band spread out and play for as many people as we can – across the great venues of Los Angeles and who knows how far after that. Maybe we’ll make it to Connecticut and New York.. . And people will come out to see us because they really like how our music makes them feel. I’d like to see us get to a point with this band where we can quit our day jobs and do music for a living. That would be pretty great.
*Two Cents Bonus Question*
TC: If someone were to climb off a desert island and only have time to watch five movies to learn what American cinema is all about, what five movies would you show them?
JG: Godfather I, Pirates of the Caribbean, Three Amigos, Star Wars, and Casablanca. Not necessarily in that order.
Big thanks to Jon for giving us some time on this very busy day for him.
In case you missed part one of their interview, we got Two Cents & Five Answers from the band's drummer, T Taddeo.
Be sure to check out Gus Company's show Thursday night, visit their MySpace page and let them know you read about it here at TheTwoCents!!!