Monday 23 December 2019

Interview With Gino Bambino (Gino and the Goons)


  Hi Gino, many thanks for agreeing to the interview, I won't pretend to be a Gino And The Goons expert but I've listened to your music for a few years and featured you in blog updates a few times so hopefully my questions will turn out ok.  I suppose the obvious place to start is by asking where you grew up, what you listened to as a youngster and when did you start discovering the rock n roll acts that have been an obvious inspiration? 

  Honestly, I never completely grew up.  I was born and raised in Mudflap, Pennsylvania.  Which is in the northwestern part of the state.  Great for hunting and fishing which I don't do. Not that's a bad thing just ain't my bag.  I'm the youngest out of five kids and between my parents, brothers and sisters I listen to what they listened to.  To just name the good ones that stayed with me would be, Willie Nelson, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, The Cramps and the Rolling Stones. I still listen to all those bands.  Black Flag, Ramones and Motorhead changed my life.  Old country and blues music changed my life.  Shit, I could go on.  Minutemen, Meat Puppets and Butthole Surfers.... Link Wray, Dead Moon and all things Fred Cole.  New Bomb Turks, Teengenerate, Oblivians, The Gories, Pat Todd! The Lazy Cowgirls and the Rankoutsides!  There's a thing people say quality or quantity.  Both Pat Todd, Fred Cole and the Rolling Stones have both.  Hank Williams!! 

SIde note: I have to mention NY Dolls, Johnny Thunders, VU, Lou Reed...NYC in the 60's and 70's.  Oh, and the Devil Dogs.... I know I know I'll stop..


  Were Gino and the Goons your first band? I notice it was a good few years between you forming the band and your debut release. Any particular reason for that? 

  It was the first band where I played guitar, vocals and was songwriter and leader of the gang.  After playing drums for other people's bands and just being a fill in I wanted to control everything. Ha! Though I was opened to Goons ideas and trying to make it feel as much as a band as I could.  But I put my name in the band for a reason, ya dig?  I wanted people who were fun to hang out with and wanted to do it to the fullest.  Ability was last on the list though, it was on the list just towards the bottom.  Anyway, I wrote a few songs and really liked how they sounded. (Hit It! and Get On Down from the first record and Better Believe from the latest on Drunken Sailor). I Moved to Baltimore, Md. and was still playing drums. I didn't think I could start my own band at this point. I started playing with an old friend,  I was doing all the work in that band but not writing.  I figured if I'm going to do all the leg work, all the hard work I'll do it with my songs and my band. Though he wrote great songs I was ready to go it alone. So I pulled the first band of Goons together.  The drummer had a drum set but didn't know how to play.  So I took away his kick drum and we just did floor tom, with tambourine, snare and cymbal.  Right hand used a shaker for a bunch of songs.  If they couldn't make a show or a recording I did it myself or pulled other people together.  Most of the time it was last minute. Like person in the crowd last minute. Another point of putting my name in the band was I couldn't have anyone hold me back.  I didn't and don't have time to wait for anyone.  Nothing personal, I just have shit to do. Just when those Goons were ready to record in Baltimore time ran out and  I moved to Tampa, Fla. in 2010.  It was another year before I pulled another band of Goons together.  By the time we were ready to record and it was 2012.

  "Goons come and go. Some come and come again. Others don't."   

   Any particular reason for the fluid line up? Are you that hard to work with! or is it just easier bringing in different people as and when required?  

  I started this band some 12+ years ago myself, I laid all the ground work, do all the grunt work, and all the stuff that isn't the most fun, but I always envision  the Goons as a band, always considering a Goon's opinion and valuing their input. Sure I get final say, I'm Gino. I put my name in the title of the band for a reason. But I'm open minded.  I've been beat up, strangled, disrespected and left to the side of the road as the Goons rode away in my own personal vehicle. Leaving me stranded some 1500 miles from home.  Despite all that, I'm one of the easiest and most fun people to work for and to be around. Not to mention charming and handsome. Some Goons are Goons for life and some are not. I can't expect others to be on my schedule, and I sure as hell can't be on theirs.

  "Beat up, strangled, disrespected and left to the side of the road as the Goons rode away in my own personal vehicle" it sounds as though you have some interesting tour stories? Anything particular spring to mind and which do you prefer, playing live or releasing a new record? 

  Some of my favorite stories are when we pull into town, eat at a good local place, play a killer show and everyone there is into it and dancing, we sell some merchandise, hang out laughing and drinking, have a decent place to sleep, find a Waffle House in the morning and then hit the road. 

  Recording is ok but I definitively prefer playing live.


  It only seems like 5 minutes since I was featuring a song from your Do The Get Around album on the blog but you've already released album number 5, Off The Rails. Any particular reason for the fast turn around?

  Bart at Big Neck asked to do a record and when we recorded we ended up doing 20 songs. Shortly after Bart asked, Julian from Drunken Sailor asked for a record. I asked Bart if he minded us doing another record at the same time and he was cool with it and so was Julian. Off The Rails was supposed to come out first but it didn’t work out that way. We have 10+ more songs ready to go but I’m gonna wait to record them.

  About your song writing. How much is autobiographical. I'm thinking about songs like Pills In My Pocket, Glory Days Gone, Got No Friends etc. Also To me your songs sound like very good scuffed up pop songs, is it your intention to write "hits" even if you know in the modern world only anodyne overproduced crap makes the charts?

  I didn't write those songs you mentioned so I can't answer that.  For me, sometimes they are autobiographic sometimes half and half, sometimes not at all. I like that term, scuffed up pop songs.  I have no idea what the modern world is or what it likes.  I don't even know what people my age like.  I know what I like. So I write songs I like and hope other people like it too.

  I'll just finish up with the obvious question of is there a pencilled in release date for the other batch of tracks you mentioned?

  End of 2020 beginning 2021

  Thanks Gino



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