Gozu Interview with Marc Gaffney: Then You Recognize the Shape

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That’s saying something, considering that even as EssayOnTime.com.au: Can I Places To Buy Research Papers in Australia? Read further to find the answer and really smart solution to academic problems and The Fury of a Patient Man (review here) came together, their lineup was going through changes and Gaffney had an extended hospital stay. Bassists Jay Canava and Paul Dellaire both play on the record — put to tape, like the first one, by Benny Grotto at Mad Oak — and the position is now filled by Joe Grotto (yup, related), who joins the rhythm section alongside the scary precision of drummer Barry Spillberg, who makes the High on Fire-style gallop of “Charles Bronson Pinchot” as visceral as he makes the later “Disco Related Injury” swagger and groove.

But Gozu is no more Spillberg‘s show than it is any single member’s, and rather, The Fury of a Patient Man finds its best moments when everyone comes together around a central idea, as on “Ghost Wipe,” which excellently melds some of their heaviest push with an unabashedly pop-minded chorus, the line “The loudness of a broken heart” serving as a takeaway not just from the song but from the full-length as a whole — a sort of complement to the title, furthering the emotional crux and making a point of its melodicism even as its melodies top some of Gozu‘s most fervent riffing, culmination coming in the hypnotic tidal repetitions of the 23-minute “The Ceaseless Thunder of Surf,” on which the band doesn’t so much let go of the song as they do let it wander where it might, sustained lines meeting their deconstruction in a poignant, patient finale. Even this, Gozu makes asongand not a part showcase.

A triumph through the record is — it’s one of 2013’s best, make no mistake — it’s easy to imagine Gozu‘s finest hours yet lay ahead of them. The band have been recruited for a slot at The Eye of the Stoned Goat 3 in Brooklyn this July (more info here), and they’ll tour with Ohio-based labelmates Lo-Pan to get there. In addition, for the 2LP release of The Fury of a Patient Man, Gozu have recently put together a collaboration with Lo-Pan vocalist Jeff Martin — reportedly a cover of D’Angelo‘s “Brown Sugar” — and while gigging in April with Fu Manchu might seem like a high point for anyone who ever based a song around a riff, on May 20, they’ll be at the Great Scott with Norwegian rippers Kvelertak, so the hits, as it were, keep coming. Well deserved.

Please find the 3,500-word Q&A with Marc Gaffney of Gozu after the jump, and please enjoy.

First off, tell me what happened with Jay and how it worked out bringing Joe in on bass.

He was just dealing with working so much he’s actually a really good guitar tech. He’s also in Bodega Girls. They were doing a lot and it was tough for him to split his time between both. We had talked about it; he wasn’t able to give it 100 percent. Certain things I’m going to miss. He would also go on the road with bands and stuff. So he told us and then Joe, we knew through Benny doing shows. We called Joe and asked him if he wanted to be in the band and he said sure. It was a real nice slide to be honest with you. Joe‘s a young guy too so he brings some youth back into the band. He’s not in his 40s (laughs). It’s kind of nice.

What was the timeline on that and putting together material for the record?

For the record we had done, we had most of the — lyrics, I wrote a ton of lyrics last summer. I was laid up for about three weeks.

Why, what happened?

I had to have surgery on my toe and I had my tonsils taken out. I had a lot of time and I would just sit there. I just decided to write. I think eight of the songs I wrote in a week span, lyrically. Some of the music we had already had done so I just popped them together from stuff Barry, Jay and Doug and I had been working on before. So Paul [Dallaire] played some on the album and Jay played on the last songs we had recorded, which worked out great.

It sounds great. With Benny mixing you’re going to get a consistent sound anyway. You can hear the change in bass but it doesn’t throw you off.

Which is nice. It could have led to — they used similar gear, which definitely helped. Pete Peloquin mixed the album, actually. Up in Metronome Studios in Brookline, New Hampshire.

Any reason?

He’s actually a really good friend of mine and he had been wanting to mix one of our albums so we had him do it. The thing about Benny is that guy is so good and so busy it’s unbelievable. With the amount of albums he does.

It’s pretty much a new one each week at this point.

Yeah, it’s insane. Every time I talk to that cat he says, so and so was in. There’s no ill or anything like that.

How was recording this time around? Anything different about it?

We did five songs in two days. We did all guitars, drums and everything. Then we went back in and in another two and a half days did everything. Then I did vocals in a day and a half. I sang three songs, did a half-day and then did seven songs. One full day, which is — don’t do that if you’re a vocalist. With all the backgrounds, yeah. Once it got going, it got going. We knew what we were going to do. It’s not like we went in there and winged it. I had a lot of thoughts down of what I wanted to do. It went well during preproduction too, so a lot when we go in, a lot of it is concrete. Some of it came out way different than I thought it was going to. Just because you try a few different things on a few different microphones, and just me thinking outside the box, so that was fun too. Engineers are great and Doug and Barry are very good about coming up with ideas without pushing. They always want the extra extra.

Which songs came out different?

Definitely “Charles Bronson Pinchot” and definitely “Ceaseless Thunder.” Barry definitely wanted something definitive on that, and that was just me following exactly what he wanted. So that was different, but he had an idea and I wanted to stay true to his idea. That was different. The one chorus is definitely, “The loudness of a broken heart.” That came out way different than I thought it was going to. I just wanted to try little things. We had a few different microphones set up in the studio and I just went back and forth from them.  There was a nice distortion in there that really caught. Basically it was done on a whim, and he kept all the microphones on and it caught some really nice stuff. It’s basically what I did, run from one microphone to the next (laughs), in my real professional way of doing it. It picked up a nice quality, but when we heard the distortion on it, it’s just a tiny bit, but it gave that feeling that it needed.

That line certainly stands out in that song. There’s something about it.

Lyrically it’s different than Locust Season — definitely, some of it I was doing a lot of reading while writing and stuff like that. A couple of the tunes, I was thinking about the band a ton. A couple of tunes, that’s definitely in the Richard Manuel vein. I sung about that guy and his life, going through it and having everything in your hands and then one night just bang. Wow man. That’s got to be an overwhelming feeling to just do that. You got to be struggling with something like that. Then the other guys in your band they think you’re doing fine, I wrote that to just where’s the disconnect or what’s really going on? This guy, you’re in a band, the guys pretty much know inside thoughts you have. To be able to shield that, some of those guys are pretty good actors I guess. Wow, to be able to do that day in and day out but on the inside be crumbling. Jesus, I don’t know if I could handle something like that. I definitely wrote that in that vein, thinking about what it must feel like to go through something like that.

And while you’re laid up, that kind of thing can’t be upbeat.

Oh it sucked. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t talk. It was — I came out and the doctor, I was like oh man. He even said, this is going to be the most miserable thing you go through. I’m like ah, whatever. I came out and said you have to be shitting me, wow! This is worse than I thought. He chuckled and said, “I told ya.” Then the surgery didn’t work either. But I got some good lyrics out of it (laughs).

You mentioned “The Ceaseless Thunder of Surf” and I guess that was Barry’s song?

He came up with the riff then the other stuff was him me and Doug and Jay going in there, and letting them roll and do it. The tunes we write, I’ll come with lyrics and I’ll come with a riff, or Barry or Doug will come with a riff and it’s definitely, we float off each other. Now we can say we can say what we like or don’t like, no one takes it personally or gets bent out of shape. We’re very honest with each other in terms of that. Sometimes you just don’t feel it. There’s no sensitivity amongst the four of us in terms of what we like or don’t like, you definitely don’t want to play something live that you can’t stand. That tune just became its own entity. Especially at the end. We just kept going, kind of keyed off each other. It was nice to see Doug be able to solo, we’re always okay with that. I was definitely happy with how it came out. We wanted it to be kind of trance like.

It was last summer that you were laid up?

Yeah, the summer before. We recorded the album the summer then before that, I was laid up. We recorded a bunch of stuff in October, we did five tunes in October then we did the rest later on. Lyrically, I got to get this stuff down on paper. It stuck.

What about the album title?

Doug came across that. We were throwing a couple of things around. Everyone wanted the title to relate lyrically to what was going on. He saw that, gave me a call, said, “The Fury of a Patient Man.” I was like, “That works.” We were throwing things around that were dumb. He had seen it and kind of out of the blue, him and Barry and I were like, “Yeah.” It definitely touched upon what the album was about. It’s one of those spooky things and couldn’t get it out of his head. Putting together musically and the lyrics it definitely fit 100 percent. It was easy. One day, it popped up and we had had it.

It fits. The artwork, where did that come from?

Alex [Von Wieding], in Germany. Doug had that the whole time, he saw these crazy pictures of an eye. That’s what it is. We get to Alex and we went, what if we did it in this vein? We really liked it. We showed it to Scott [Hamilton], he dug it too. I think Alex did it in two days. It was a nice process. It’s pretty spectacular. He’s so easy to work with. He’s such a music lover. He gets it. He listened to the CD, we sent it to him. He found in that the vibe we were looking for. He definitely related to it, which was great.

You guys are doing The Eye of the Stoned Goat 3. How did that come about? Were you approached?

Yeah, Pat Harrington did. Yeah. He approached us and I said we wanted to do it. He talked to us and we spoke to the band, that’ll be a great show. Yeah! Any time we get to play with Lo-Pan. So what we’re going to do is do a little mini-tour of the whole band before we do that.


New Hampshire. I know Jesse [Bartz, drums] from Lo-Pan, him and Doug are putting it together. Three or four shows is what we’re going to play, Wednesday through Saturday.

A long weekender.


Anything else you want to add about the record?

We set out for it to be different than what the local scene is doing. We’re just listening to different shit. We kind of wanted to show some different vibes in there. I hope people enjoy it. Some people do. I think it was nice in terms of us growing as a band and all to do different stuff. That was fun to do. We don’t want to just go into the studio and have it be Locust Season II, you know? We definitely went about it a little different, I think that comes across.

I agree. I don’t think you came out with Locust Season II at all. It’s a much different record. The thing that really stood out to be about it is the songwriting. It seems across the board, the songs themselves, as songs, are more confident and stronger.

I think so. In terms of Locust Season, I never put out an album like that. We were playing troll music before. But we’re huge fans of that genre of music. I think the band was able to gel more. There’s definitely that feeling of the comfortableness in the studio. That’s the thing when you work with good engineers too, they don’t put up with any of your bullshit. We’re getting the sound, and we’re doing it. That helps. When you record with good guys, once you record with them you have that sense that you’re so much more comfortable, which makes it a nice experience.

Hopefully next time you don’t have to be completely out of commission to make it happen.

Yeah. We’re probably going to do three more songs. The vinyl will be a double vinyl. We’re going in on April 13 to finish the last three tunes. We’ll do two covers and an original.

What are you covering?

That you’ll have to find out. Not what you would think. We wanted to cover something that was definitely from our past that we loved doing, but in a different vein.

Marvin Gaye? Al Green?

Almost yeah.  I’ll give you a hint. We’re doing a D’Angelo tune, but it sounds nothing like D’Angelo. If it did, it’d be a little different (laughs). We wanted something that definitely, because I’ll tell you. Mr. Jeff Martin is going to sing on this too. I’ll do the first and third verse and Jeff is going to do the second verse. We’ve been talking, Jeff and I. Even Lo-Pan and Gozu are doing something together. I’ve done some acoustic shit he had seen, he said any time I wanted him to sing on something. He definitely has, he’s a monster fan of soul music too. We thought that would definitely work. Those cats are in Lo-Pan are some of the nicest dudes around. Any time we hang with them someone ends up pissing their pants from laughing. He wanted to do it, so we’ll have Jeff sing on a tune. Throwing something in that definitely that was with some of our buddies. On this album it was just us, no one else played on it. It’s been cool, we’ve been out and Ian [Ross, guitar] from Roadsaw plays. He’ll do tunes with us. At the CD release party a few cats will come up and play. It’s always nice, anytime you can play with your buddies and have them pop up with you, it’s fun.

That makes the bonus on the vinyl that much more of a bonus.

It’ll be nice to sing with another singer.

I look forward to hearing out that comes out.

Then the new tune we wrote; that shit we’ll start playing regularly. That came together really quick. That was all four of us, Joe, Barry, Doug and myself; we really came up with all the different levels of that tune. That was great, to have something that cohesive. That worked in one night, man. We went in and it came out of a groove.

That’s the best feeling.

One night we went in and it came out, we said, “Okay, fuck.” Something about it. Even lyrically, it came so easy once we worked on one part. The other two parts just lend itself in there. It’s just striking when it’s hot. It was just fun. Anytime you can have fun in there, it’s so much easier than if you’re dissecting things to the T. That shit gets old, man. Then you just second-guess yourself. You become your own worst nightmares. It was nice for something to go — usually the stuff that comes so easy are the ones we enjoy playing the best, which is great. Do you have a favorite tune on the album?

“Charles Bronson Pinchot” is up there. “Ghost Flight” and “Tracy Lords.” I would say I hover between the three.

That was in the High on Fire vein (laughs). He was channeling his inner Matt Pike on that one.

The vocals make that track, though. What I like about it is; you’re not doing the High on Fire vocals. You take that and you make it your own.

Yeah, I couldn’t do that stuff anyway. Certain cats can do that. I think that guy, we got to hang and watch two feet away when we were at SXSW. Every time you can see a guy of that caliber and a guy that enjoys playing music so much, it really affects you. When you see him up there, the nicest cat. Saying hello, talking to everyone. Really getting out there. You watch that, wow. How is this guy not a household name? He’s such — you watch that guy. Some of these cats are just; you couldn’t meet a nicer dude that is that talented and just so passionate about what he does. It definitely wears off on you, man. When we get to see great guys playing, it gives you such a — you get so excited to play. We’ve been lucky, some of the Boston bands and through Scott playing out of town. We’ve been lucky to have some stuff rub off, you could not ask for anything better than that.

Boston. It seems everything is always changing, but it seems to be pretty tight knit over the years. You’re always seeing the same people popping up in different bands.

Yeah right? Roadsaw is the one band. They started in 1993 or something? They still go out and put an ass whooping on. Those guys never have a bad show. You talk about the definition of guys who enjoy playing, that’s it. I love watching them. When I first moved here, I’d go see those cats and it was like; man these guys. They have their sound, but it wasn’t similar to a lot of those other rock bands. I think a lot of it had to do with [vocalist Craig] Riggs and Tim [Catz, bass], Ian doing their thing. It’s nice to have those guys to see. Those guys are the godfathers of what’s been done in this scene here. Again, guys you really enjoy being around. Riggs has probably been, for me, in terms of helping, he’s one of the guys. Without Ian, I’d have no idea what guitars I play or how the fuck to plug anything in. Just last night, I was like, “What about this?” He’s like, “All right Gaff try this and this.” I’ve always had fun with that cat. “Okay, what do I do here?” I have no idea what the fuck I’m doing (laughs). I’m the most non-technical cat in the world. I ask Scott Hamilton a shit ton of times too. What about this pedal? What about this head? I ask [Lo-Pan guitarist Brian] Fristoe about pickups, he’s like, “Well man, if you want to try this, this and this.” I’ve been pretty lucky to have guys that are pretty crafty in their technique to really always try different settings. That’s been great. For me, it’s about tone. I’m not going to rip any Jake E. Lee solos. I like the Kyuss tone, the Fu Manchu tone. For me, it’s the tonality. Whereas Doug, that guy hops on and he’s — he has so many genres running through his head. He’s a tasty cat. There’s not a lot of guys that wear the guitar high up. He does what he does. It’s nice. Playing with Doug is the best, in terms of becoming a better guitarist. Rhythm-wise, having Barry back there, it makes it so much easier to play guitar and sing when you have that cat laying it down. Now with Joe, such a solid player. His stage presence is phenomenal. Everything is starting to click at the right time.

You were sick the last show I saw you guys, but it seems each time I’ve seen Gozu over the course of however long, you can see things coming together.

It’s four really different personas up there. You have four guys that are their own cat in terms of fucking clothing. You don’t get a lot of dudes wearing Dickey shorts when it’s fucking 30 below. Each guy has their own headset, which is great. It’s fun. Sometimes you know it’s going to be fun, sometimes we’ll bust balls with each other. That makes it much easier. The band goes out, people can’t hear. Sometimes, let me make a tune and I can chuckle a little bit after. It’s definitely metamorphisised. This is the most solid we’ve ever been. Playing and writing, which is fun. If it wasn’t fun, I would not be able to do it. There’s so much other stuff going on with work, kids and family. It’s the only outlet you have. If it’s going to be work, it takes away the pleasure. That’s why we really enjoy playing with each other at this time. Even Jay comes sometimes, he’ll sit in. I speak to him weekly. He can’t be happier, he loves the album. He helps a ton of the times. If something happens, we’ll bring it down to him. “Oh, you guys have a show tonight, let me fix this or that.” He’s one of my best friends. He’ll always be part of the band, which is great.

Nice that you can keep that relationship like that.

With him it wasn’t anything. He was just so busy. We knew it. A lot of those guys wouldn’t have done anything; he loved the band that much. He wants to see us get to where we need to be. Just the fact that he did that tells you just how great of a guy he is. It’s nice to still be buddies with guys, it’s great. There’s no VH1 behind the scenes (laughs). No one got into a fight or took a Harley Davidson and was drunk on it.

Gozu, The Fury of a Patient Man (2013)

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One Response to “Gozu Interview with Marc Gaffney: Then You Recognize the Shape”

  1. Merrits Girlfriend says:

    Great article and interview. Killer band, kick ass album! Hope it sweeps across the world and goes platinum. Can’t wait to see em again. Mommy, mommy? mommy!lol 8*)

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