Milwaukee Talks: The Gufs
Podcast: The Gufs talk about their new album
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The Gufs have a somewhat unique, Milwaukee musical story. They've tasted success, led "regular lives," and now are ready to finish a new CD and play on own
their terms for their faithful fans.
After 18 years together and with all of the original members still in tow, the band has just put the wraps on "A Different Sea," their first new record in seven years. Their last album, "Holiday from You" (1999), featured the radio-friendly songs, "Last Goodbye" and "Give Back Yourself," with guest vocals from Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20.
The band has come a long way since their independent debut with 1990's "Staring into the Sun." Their subsequent indie releases, "Songs of Life" (1992) and "Circa 89" (1993), and their touring throughout the Midwest built them a strong fan base and solid exposure on college radio.
Then, in '95, they signed a major label recording contract with Atlantic Records based on their fourth and last independent album, "Collide." Even today, the title track from this release gets radio play in our market. In 1998, the band hit the studios with renowned producer Arnold Lanni (Our Lady Peace, Finger Eleven, Simple Plan) to record their second and final album for Atlantic. "Holiday from You" (1999) was the band's last record for Atlantic and would mark the time for a break and reflection on their disillusionment with the music industry.
Since 1999, the band has maintained that "the release of a new Gufs' album was never in question; it was only a matter of time."
At Kevin Sucher's Laboratory Recording Studio Downtown, OMC's Jeff Sherman caught up with band members Scott Schwebel and Goran Kralj for this edition of "Milwaukee Talks."
OMC: The music industry has changed a lot since you started. Can you please talk a bit about the industry and how it's evolved?
Schwebel: The great thing about the music business part of the industry that has changed, is accessibility to recording. Studios were these things that were expensive, you needed a major label … now we can instantly release a record to the world tomorrow.
OMC: Do artists and bands have more control now?
Kralj: I think they are definitely more in control now. The mindset now is that you don't necessarily need a big label to be able to get your music out, whereas when we first started and when we first signed (with Atlantic Records) you needed it … that was the next thing to. First you make it big in your town and you needed to get a record deal if you wanted people to hear you. Now, it's not the case. Like Scott said, if we wanted to we could release our new record worldwide tonight.
Schwebel: The power of Internet and your ability to find music in so many places is overwhelming. It used to be the best bands that you probably never heard of -- you never were going to hear of. Now you just have to have the time and you can find everything. There are all of these new avenues for people to share access to music. There's so much.
OMC: Does it seem like 15 years since your first record?
Kralj: For me, it seems like yesterday. It's like, where does time go? The older I get time is just disappearing. But we all feel good and it's great that we are still all together. The band was based on friends so it's obvious that as we get older we are all still friends and having fun.
Schwebel: The fact is, we are still the same guys. Whether you like our music or not, as a musician, (I like) having the chemistry among the four of us and the give and take and exchange of ideas … that's what is so fun about it.
OMC: Define success.
Kralj: I think it's going to bed feeling good about what you did. We honesty can feel good about what history we have created, and it was so unintentional too, that's the beauty of it. We just really got together to drink beer and pick up pretty girls. And, who would have thought that 15 years later … well, we are still doing that now, just with our wives.
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Newbomb Turk said: Although I've never met these two guys, I have met the other members and they seem pretty genuine. Sadly, they're becoming the new Bodeans. A big fanbase that turns out every couple of years for their occasional gigs. I must agree Bill Clinton seems like an odd choice. I could think of others who have a more dynamic personality that I'd have a drink with.
eaglescout said: Joel, like most narrow minded repubs you missed the point. you are so sensitive to any critisism of the war you freak out, and cannot understand the real issue. i apologize for dragging politics into the discussion, but my point still stands- i think Clinton is as odd of a choice if goran would have said dinner with the Maytag repairman would float his boat. i do not care who goran has dinner with-tonight, or any night-just thought his choice was funny. now can we talk about their music? it's not very good.
Joel said: Cubscout - what the hell do you care what he says about who he wants to meet anyways? So I'm "holier than thou?" because you chose to turn an article about music into some anti-war, Cindy Sheehan rant? You're pathetic.
Jason said: The Gufs? Didn't they used to be a band with a future?
eaglescout said: Joel, spare us your typical holier than thou right wing defense of an idiotic reason for a dinner date choice. the guy could have picked a musical hero, or any number of people he admires, and he wants to ask Clinton about his sex life? a man and a band truly stuck in the nineties.
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