GAM Releases New CD entitled PHASE 8:
An E-mail Interview
Year band began: January 1993 (present incarnation); first GAM was a husband and wife team of anthropologists back in 1923, a pet project of Nicola Tesla's...
Band members: Kevin (guitar), Keith (vocals), Sean (drums), Mike (bass)
Based in what city: Savannah, GA
Type of music: Sci-Fi Freak Rock
Record label: Unsigned (Blast-O-Disk)
Web site: http://gam.home.ml.org
If there's any unsigned band on the horizon that is destined for BIG success, it most certainly is Savannah's GAM. Based solely on their own talent and drive, these four men have captured the imagination and support of a surprisingly large number of fans all up and down the east coast.
GAM is like a chameleon. The band is as comfortable playing harsh, violent punk music as they are playing cerebral, spacey pop. This is particularly true on the band's latest full-length CD Phase 8. From the violent chaos of "Brain Damage" to the progressive concert favorite "Speedfische" to the frightening "Sleep" and everywhere in between, these four guys have managed to capture the curious, highly charged, explosive energy of their live show on CD. Up to this point, the band has managed to build their reputation largely based on their live performances. The band incorporates spectacular lighting, tons of smoke, various headgear (masks, wigs, face paint), outlandish costumes, and just about anything imaginable to create an overwhelming sensory assault on the audience. And frequently, the audience gets carried away and ends up becoming a part of the show.
If there is any independent disk I recommend with any reservations whatsoever, it is Phase 8. The disc is available for $10 by writing to Blast-O-Disk Records, P.O. Box 10364, Savannah, GA 31412. Order the damn thing. You will NOT be disappointed.
The following E-mail interview with the band was done July 1997...
What is daylight?
Daylight is the sweet nectar which courses up my spine as I sleep, nourishing my mind and... What? Oh that's Orange Sunshine.
Are children good or bad? Why?
Children are good. Children like to ROCK and their shiny young brains power our Rock n Roll Overdose Machine.
Is it important to understand things? Why?
No, except for the three things that matter.
Is punishment effective?
Only if it is administered by the person who was harmed.
Explain the difference between wrong and right.
Wrong is directly or indirectly hurting another person. It is wrong to hurt animals, unless you need to perform FDA testing of a new sugar substitute. Right is the answer which logic supports, as long as it is published in a major, referreed scientific journal (such as babysue). Morals seem interwoven with right and wrong, suggesting that it is a subjective matter. Of course, I could be wrong.
What traits do you dislike in people?
No trait is bad unless it is taken with other incompatible traits! Example: Big hair sucks, unless you're into the 50's retro thang or are one of the seemingly thousands of Ramone brothers. Generally, however, stingers are the worst traits people have.
Describe an early memory.
As a child I would be transported every night by floating hands into a terrible land within the hollow earth. There I learned the secret of Mung-Fung, Chinese Whiffle Ball Fighting.
Why do you continue living?
Life fuckin ROCKS!!! It is GREAT TO BE ALIVE!!! If you ever forget that, then go for a walk in the woods and smell the goddamn flowers. If that doesnt work, shoot yourself in the face so we dont see how fucking UNHAPPY you were.
What are three things that matter? Why do they matter?
Sex, Drugs, and RocknRoll. Why not?
What is wrong with people?
Umm, ALL people? They work too damn much. Slack off, everyone.
What are the most important items in your home?
PC, turntable, microwave, set of roto-toms, and that purple gum stain on the oriental rug.
Have you ever been arrested? If yes, what happened? If no, what was your closest call?
Near-miss on subculture cultivation. They had no proof of brainwashing, however.
If someone paid you a huge sum of money to kill a dog or a cat, would you do it? Why or why not?
No. There is no sport in killing anything that doesnt pay taxes or engage in Sex, Drugs and RocknRoll.
Name some famous people who are disgusting.
All famous people are disgusting.
What are the last three things you do before you go to sleep?
Sex, Drugs, and RocknRoll.
What should everyone know?
If you can't laugh in the face of disaster... You're fucked.
Black Hole, Big Bang. Modern cosmogeny holds that the existence of God is not precluded necessarily by the Big Bang, especially since the cause of the initial explosion is unknown. I posit that there are a series of infinite universes, each varying in size, shape and orders of magnitude. These universes connect to our know perception by means of black holes and cosmic clouds (nebulae) such as the star-birthing columns observed by the Hubble telescope. Given this possibility, any activity outside of our universe could have begun the chain reaction which created the Big Bang. It is a silly notion to believe in a creator who simply "threw the switch" and stood back, not influencing the conditions which are observable today. If that is true, why did we need the creator at all? If God exists, he is surely not a kind or just god, as the major religions insist, for he does not intervene in the case of those suffering unjustly due to no fault of their "free will." On the other hand, the first passage of the Bible may be taken metaphorically (as the whole tome should be): God said, "Let There Be Light."
Is there a reason for everything?
No. Reasoning is a human faculty. Therefore, there are reasons only for the actions of humans. For instance, there is no reason for humans. Throw your own bunny.
What is intelligence?
Intelligence is a four-syllable word that has nothing to do with Sex, Drugs or RocknRoll.
Are morals relevant?
Morals serve a purpose. They are safeguards which lie between
instinct and reasoning, and as such, are causal. In the case of "don't
have unprotected sex with a different partner every night," such a
system neglects the effect, "...or you might get a disease, which might
threaten your life." But neglecting the effect does not negate the
relevance of such a morality. Religion, in fact, is the ultimate in moral
systemics. It served its purpose in human evolution: to bring intellect
out of the quagmire of the physical realm, to unify the masses, to answer
the question of death as well as explain the sublime experience. Now, its
morality infringes on our freedom to explore these issues ourselves. Jihad.
Some morals are too restrictive. But all morals are relevant to the mind
which has questioned them and still found them to be of use. Some people
will try to hand out morals like they're going out of style. Morals are
useless to me. Reasoning is much kewler, d00d.
Although I am exposed to literally hundreds of bands every year, only occasionally does one of those bands make a really big impact on me. Gam is one of those bands.
I recently caught Gam live for the third time in the past six months. Just like the last two times, they put on a stunning live show which left my mind reeling. The concert was shorter than the last two because someone had made an error by booking three bands in one night...but it was no less intense.
The concert began with a brand new tune entitled "Brain Damage," which may just be the best damn Gam song I've heard. Lead singer Keith hit the stage looking like some sort of game show host or something, while the band totally rocked out. I could sense that the audience was immediately spellbound. Most of the folks who were hanging around in the restaurant side of the bar quickly decided to pay the $3 to find out what the HELL was going on next door. That song was followed by another one of Gam's best songs entitled "Speedfische," with it's eerie chorus refrain of "That's what I like about the South..." Gam then whizzed through several other numbers, leaving an uninformed Atlanta audience literally blown away with astonishment. It is a rare thing indeed when a band can hold an audience's attention like this band does.
Gam is unusual in that they hail from the historic city of Savannah, Georgia. Gam is not like any other band I've ever heard from my home state, however. They almost defy categorization. One minute they're country, one minute they're heavy metal, and the next thing you know they're playing straight-ahead rock and roll. But whatever they do, they do it well...and all four musicians seem completely immersed in what they're doing. Sean's trance-like drumming, Kevin's atmospheric acid-drenched guitars, Mike's complex, hypnotic bass lines, and Keith's almost indescribable vocals...all add up to one HELL of a unique sound. And once they start playing, they virtually don't stop until the end of the show.
During a Gam show, virtually ANYTHING can and does happen. Accidents become a part of the show. Audience members yell things at the band that become lyrics to songs. Band members jump off stage and dance with total strangers. Spontaneity is a key part of what this band is doing, and perhaps that is why they come off so fresh, different...and funny. You can always bet that something during the show will send you into complete hysterics.
Two friends who joined me for the concert had never heard of Gam before. They left as total converts.
Before the show, I was fortunate enough to speak with the band, which consists of Mike Walker (bass), Keith Kozel (vocals/moog), Sean Krause (drums/vocals), and Kevin Rose (guitar, strings, vocals). I wasn't surprised in the least to find all four fellows pleasant, interesting, intelligent, and seemingly unaffected by the egotistical trappings that plague so many rock musicians.
The name "Gam" did not come from the 1920s slang term for "leg." It comes from a character on a Japanese TV show called Space Giants. The concept for the band began Easter of 1991, coinciding with the unfortunate suicide of one of the band's friends. Gam played their first show in June of 1993.
Kevin describes the band's music as "having no parameters. We do whatever is appropriate at that moment. We don't have any set conditions. We don't play a certain style." Why does the band use all the smoke machines, special lighting, costumes, and props? Keith responded by saying, "First and foremost, we like to put on a good show for people. We like to try to create a mind altering atmosphere to set a mood that transcends the room we're playing in. Plus, spinning lights and shiny objects make it easier to brainwash people." I, for one, am totally brainwashed.
Most of the conversation I taped with the band was hard to discern, due to the noisy environment of a pizza joint. From talking with the fellows, however, the one thing that they all seemed to have in common is that they are all very sincere in their attitude about the music they create. They aren't making a living from playing music...yet. For the time being, Kevin is an architect intern, Mike is an artist and bartender, Sean is student of architecture, and Keith is a manager at a pizza parlour and a freelance artist.
Gam currently have a CD EP out called Thunder Bomb that effectively captures their live sound. You can obtain this fantastic little disc by writing to Standard Records, 14 West State St., Savannah, GA 31401. The band is now trying to put together a small studio to record demonstration tapes. They are also brainstorming on ideas to put out an album.
Kevin told me that the band takes what they're doing very seriously, but that they don't take themselves seriously. That may just be Gam's greatest strength.
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