Did you ever hear a song that you love, but you just can’t listen to it because you don’t like the artist? For me… That’s Kickstart my Heart from Motley Crue. A badass tune from a band that I don’t care for.
Of course… there are also bands that I adore, with songs that I despise… Like Crazy, Crazy Nights from Kiss! Where’s that throw-up emoji when I need it?
It’s a lot more difficult for me to fall in love with music. Maybe it’s because I’m a musician myself? I always thought that made me more forgiving of bands… but now I see that it makes me more cynical.
I don’t just want a catchy tune… I want the band to be cool too, I want their sound to be awesome, and I need them to be among the 8% of people on the planet, who don’t deserve a flaming bag of shit thrown at their front door.
Maybe you’re surprised that great people can be found in disguise and in unusual places? So if you judge a book by it’s cover, then you’re on the wrong website and you probably won’t ever find yourself at a Goddamn Gallows show either.
But if you’re like me…
You hate having popularity jammed down your throat. You prefer to stumble upon it when you least expect it, and sure enough, that’s how it went for me with the Goddamn Gallows. A beautiful thing when I least expected it.
I first saw them when they toured with the Koffin Kats in Philly… And while I don’t remember most of that night, a few days later, I saw them again at Roxy and Dukes in Jersey. On this particular night, The Koffin Kats wrapped up first, so I was on my way out the door… But as I was leaving, the Goddamn Gallows came on and played “Down With the Ship” off their new album ‘”The Trial”.
I turned around, gave them my full attention… And the hook was set.
I will forever describe that tune as Oscar the Grouch singing a nursery rhyme, and I loved it! So when I got home, I bought all of their albums.
Their genre was all over the place. One minute I thought that I was listening to John Denver, and the next minute I thought that I was listening to Necrophiliac from Slayer… The line between those two was a complete blur.
Over the next few weeks, I struggled to make sense of it all and to find my “comfy zone” within their very large catalog… Finally, it was time to put their music to the test. And my two-step authentication process… Never fails!
Step One; clean my house with your music on shuffle. If I don’t have to hit skip… Then you’re in.
The Goddamn Gallows passed this test with flying colors… Scoring extra points because I was inspired to grab a beer and hit repeat a few times.
Step Two is a bit tougher; it requires me to shake your hand. That’s not so easy when a band is touring all over the world, 320 days a year. So when I heard that the GDG were coming to the Stanhope House in Stanhope New Jersey, I got ready to do some driving.
2.5 hours to be exact.
I arrived at 3:30 in the afternoon, and at 3:30 on show night, a band is always in a state of flux… They don’t know whether they want rest, alcohol, food, or action, and in my experience, the choices that you make early in the day have a lot to do with how your night will end. So, I opted to stay away from them until show time.
The bands manager Mike and I went for lunch, which consisted of my pre-show ritual… a juicy steak and frozen margaritas! After that, we headed back to chill at the merch table while we waited for the show.
As the evening unfolded, the rest of the band crept out from wherever they had been lurking… Each resembling a vampire whom was unexpectedly awoken from a 100 year slumber, but each just as cool as the ice cream man.
I was instantly confident that I didn’t waste a two and a half hour trip on a bunch of nut-sacks.
I’m high-strung and OCD, so I envy people that can just roll along, and the GDG roll better than most bands that I’ve seen. Relaxed, calm, and enjoying the evening… Not running around like primadonnas who were out of Aquanet.
I got to spend some time with Courtney (the bass player) and Uriah (the drummer) before the show. Both were down-to-Earth guys that I’d have gladly driven 3 hours to hang out with, even if they weren’t playing any music.
I barely got to see Mike and Jayke before the show. However… They’re rockstars, so you need to give them their space if you expect to juice them for a killer performance… At least that’s what they told me.
And that they did deliver!
The band hits the stage, and unless you’ve ever seen them before, you can’t possibly be prepared for what’s about to unfold.
Even if you were lucky enough to guess how it was gonna go, it’d be some place else long before you ever had a chance to brag about it.
Their cross-genre attack immediately explodes in your face, leaving you intrigued, captivated, and hot on the heels of toe tapping. And just when you think that you have them pinned down, the wind kicks up and the tide has changed.
Stand there long enough, and you’ll likely be inclined to start throwing bodies around the room.
To say that they’re diverse would be an epic understatement, to think that it can’t be done would be a rookie mistake… Whatever they do, they do well, and you’re well aware of the fact that they wrote the book on it all.
The audience was at full attention at all times, and it was clear to me that no amount of sweat, beer, or volume emanating from the stage could keep them at bay for very long. It wasn’t just a big crowd… It was a good crowd too.
A tough, rockabilly, punk gang on the outside, but decent humans on the inside… And that’s just how we like em’. Good people.
The absolute last thing that a busy, adrenaline fueled stage needs is an idiot crawling around with a camera, but whenever an idiot is needed… I’m on it! The band let me creep around and get some good photo’s and video… and I made it out alive, so next time, I’ll bring better camera’s, cigars, and a bottle of bourbon.
I got to hear “Down with the Ship”, “Load your Guns”, and a cover of Venom’s “In League With Satan”… Which oddly enough is the first song that I ever learned on bass guitar about 35 years ago.
I couldn’t have been happier with the band and their performance.
The show was awesome, the talent was amazing, and when I started worrying that it all would be over too soon, it was clear to me that the GDG had also passed Step Two with flying colors.
If they were playing there every night this week, I wouldn’t have missed a single show.
To me, the Goddamn Gallows represent the little remaining great about America… You can be who you want to be, go where you want to go, and do what you want to do. Some of us choose to plant our ass on the couch and fritter our life away, others carve their path through the world, fully embracing everything that life has to offer.
The Goddamn Gallows have done this, and they’ve earned my praise and support.
They may represent the American dream… But behind the scenes, the dream requires incredible sacrifice. Life on the road, away from family, pets, comfort, and the security of a home, isn’t for the faint of heart.
When you consider that they’re doing it for you… How can it not inspire you to show up with a big appetite for a good time?
Take it from me… If you do, you will.
Go to their website, sign up, follow them on social media, and get out to see their show. You won’t regret it.
And… It’s a scientific fact that seeing a Goddamn Gallows show will dramatically improve your street cred… So it’s likely that you’ll walk out of there being up to 70% cooler than you’re telling everyone you are on facebook.