Good With Guns grew out of a couple of Suckapunch bands, Craig Reier and Brett came from the recently disbanded Fatty & The Twins, Nick Tarlowski currently plays in JV Allstars, and Wyndham played with Brett in bands up in Omaha. That they've all played together in bands in one form or another is very clear, because for the short time they've been together they've honed a really tight sound. I caught up with Nick Tarlowski and Craig Reier to find out what's up with Good With Guns.
SCS: Did Good With Guns start as a result of Craig being done with Fatty & The Twins, or were you looking to move in a new musical direction than what was going on in F&TT, & JV Allstars anyway?
Nick: Craig and Brett started GWG an acoustic side project. Craig was stumped for writing in Fatty and felt like his time with the band was coming to a close. I've always liked craig’s songs, so I told him Id play bass in the new band. I wanted something on the side from JVA, just so I could relax and play music, just for the contrast.
Craig: Yeah, we actually started Good With Guns while I was still in Fatty and The
Twins. I was just ready to try something new after being in the same band for so many years.
SCS: How and when did GWG form as a band?
Nick: I think it was at village inn... Wyndham came
from Brett's old band and was in a couple rock n roll band in Omaha.
Craig: Last summer, Bret and I had been talking about starting a band when he
came to Lincoln for UNL in the Fall. So when he got here, we started writing songs together and were planning on playing them acoustic until we found the right people to fill in the holes. That didn't last for long. Nick said he really wanted to try his hand at playing bass in the band. Wyndham came down for a practice and we knew we had found the right people for the job. By October GWG was complete.
SCS: If someone asked you “what does your band sound like?” how would you answer?
Nick: Punchy... Diverse... Pop-sensible. ;)
Craig: Hybrid indie/punk. Nick came up with that, so blame him when it sounds
SCS: How would you describe a Good With Guns show? – What can someone who’s never seen you yet expect?
Nick: Expect a fun time. We arent guys who get up on stage and refuse to talk. We blurt out all kinds of things in between songs. We have a good time, everytime and expect those in attendance to do the same.
Craig: Energetic, fun, and rocktastic
SCS: What types of music and which musicians/groups influenced the band members?
Nick: I listen to lots of punk and ska music. I do now and have since the 1996 or so. Ive been listening to a lot of atmosphere lately - that and Brian Setzer.
Craig: I am influneced by a ton of musicians and styles. In GWG, I have been
playing slide guitar and I think that comes from listening to Neil Young "Harvest" on repeat when I was younger. Bands that influence me in GWG... off the top of my head, I would say: Osker, The Lawrence Arms, Tom Waits. Probably a lot more but I haven't had my coffee yet.
SCS: Where’d the name come from?
Nick: It was Good With Guns or Torpedo Face. I think craig just insisted on GWG.
Craig: Bret brought it to the table. I think it was just from a comment he
had heard some weird hick guy say while walking downtown; he came up to them and said "Hey, are any a ya'll good with guns?" That could be wrong, but in the end, we chose it cause it has a nice ring to it.
SCS: Is there a single songwriter in the band? / How would you describe the band's working relationship, as far as the songwriting/arranging process is concerned?
Nick: Craig and Brett are the lyricists. They bring a skeleton of a song to practice, where we all work on the layout of the song. Most practices where we are writing new music are very spastic, because each new idea gets us a bit more excited. We'll jam songs into a frenzy when they arent even finished
SCS: What was your most memorable live performance and what made it that?
Nick: 9th street basement with????
Craig: Our first show in Frank and Ben's Basement. I was nervous for the first time in years.
SCS: What do you like and dislike about the music scene in Lincoln?
Nick: People dont know what they have around here -- and I dont mean our band or JVA. There are so many awesome bands in this town that people dont know about. Its ridiculous. The good part about that is that I get to play in this scene and have a good time. Any given show is gonna have a killer band on the bill.
Craig: I am really happy to be in Lincoln. I think our music scene is the shit.
SCS: Even thought you’re pretty young, you’ve all played in bands for a while.
What have you learned in your experiences that you feel newer local bands
could learn from, or what mistakes have you made that they should avoid?
Nick: Never underestimate the power of a dedicated community of musicians.
Craig: Don't get a big head. No one likes an asshole.
SCS: Who are some local bands or musicians that you admire or feel should be recognized?
Nick: Stuart from SOJH
Craig: I think Youth In Asia is a band that doesn't get recognized enough.
Their new cd owns.
SCS: Who’s your favorite local band to play with?
Nick: Same Old Crap
Craig: Face for Radio, Youth In Asia, Same Old Crap, Rent Money Big to name a few
SCS: Do you think growing up/living in Lincoln influences your music in any
way, beyond the people you play with?
Nick: Like I said, there are lots of great bands around here, and the competition is tougher than it might seem. Since most of us in the SPR scene are friends and play shows together, we are constantly trying to impress each other. Lincoln isnt LA or New York, but thank God.
Craig: Yes, growing up here and living here has become an ever increasing
theme in songs I have written.
SCS: Who was the first person or band you saw that made you want to play music?
Nick: A cover band in High school called "Acrylic Caulk" Playing guitar had never occured to me until then, even though Id been "into" music for a while.
Craig: Locally, James Valentine when he was with Happy Dog. Also the first
Less Than Jake show I went to gave me a new perspective on the meaning of "rock show"
SCS: What was the first album/CD you bought?
Nick: Kris Kross, "totally krossed out" Yeah, laugh it up.
Craig: I think it was Technotronic "Pump Up the Jams".
SCS: What are your top five albums of all time.
Nick: Soudgarden "Superunknown"
Descendants "everything sucks"
Face To Face "Live in LA"
The Gamits "Endorsed By You"
Ben Folds Five "Ben Folds Five"
Craig: Billy Joel "An Innocent Man"
Tom Waits "Mule Variations"
Neil Young "Harvest"
Paul Simon "Graceland"
Rancid "Life Won't Wait"
with many more moving in and out all the time
SCS: What single song, in the entire history of music, do you most wish you'd written?
Nick: Good God, I have no idea.
Craig: Either "Bad Liver and a Broken Heart" by Tom Waits or "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey
SCS: Last record you bought?
Nick: Hot water Music, "Caution"
Craig: Motion City Soundtrack "I Am the Movie"
SCS: What’s the best gig you've ever seen, local or otherwise?
Nick: Andrew WK at the Bottleneck. There were more people on stage than there were in the crowd. It was absolute insanity.
Craig: Tie between Less Than Jake/Suicide Machines at the Ranchbowl, and Flogging Molly/Andrew W.K. at the Beaumont Club in KC
SCS: What can we look forward to in the next year from the band?
Nick: Hunters safety courses.
Craig: Tour in June, Warped tour in KC in July, Heavy Drinking in August.
SCS: Anything else you want to share with our readers?
- Tery Daly