Gas House Gorillas take music to the extreme

The Gas House Gorillas' need to involve the audience in their music is nearly primal.

"Our show is kind of unhinged," said lead singer and founding member Rick Fink. "You never know what's going to happen."

Fink fronts the band with Crusher Carmean, who earned his nickname from the way he treats the basses he has used, and Fink said that the band exists nearly entirely to please an audience.

"Crusher tends to destroy his basses," Fink said, "and really there's a lot of stuff going on. We climb things, we're in the audience really it's about the music because if it wasn't we'd just be annoying. But we really want the audience involved in the music."

The Gas House Gorillas also includes Seltzer Jim Davis on saxophone, Snake Osburn on guitar and Eddie Everett on drums and will perform Saturday at Building 24. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.; doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15, and no one under 21 will be admitted.

Once you're in the door, get ready for a show that is "bombastic" and "eclectic" according to Fink. The music has been described as a mix of swing, rock, rockabilly and punk.

"It's eclectic," Fink said. "It's a mix of all the kinds of music we like. It's punk rock and rockabilly. We've been called swing, too, but we've never liked that label."

The band's soon to be released CD, "Punk Americana" represents the breadth of their sound as well as the hybrid jazzy punk rockabilly sound the band has created.

"It's what we're doing right now," Fink said of the album which will officially drop Tuesday from Lanark Records, but will be available at their shows. "People like labels, so we came up with our own, and punk Americana describes our music."

Fink has written most of the tracks on the new CD as well as several on the band's previous CD, "Five Gorillas Walk Into a Bar."

Fink approaches songwriting as a purely inspirational process. A song has a few minutes to catch his ear or he's on to something else.

"I like to work fast and furious," he said. "When I write I sit down with my guitar and come up with songs. If something takes more than five minutes I abandon it, but if it comes back later I'll finish it then."

He said that when he realized he needed another song to finish the CD he looked at his notebook of ideas and saw that there were many songs he had possibly abandoned too soon.

"It was funny to me how many of them really were viable," he said. But I don't like to belabor things when I'm writing. At least not with the songs."

Fink's start in the music business was as a rock musician, but he said that writing was always something he favored, but he likes to collaborate, too. He and Crusher sometimes write together.

"Since I started this band I feel like I wear so many hats I don't have as much time to write," he said. "But a lot of what we do is a group effort."

He especially credits Carmean with moving the band forward.

"Everything we do starts from our partnership," Fink said. "We just clicked. I think it's because we are crazy in different ways."

Fink said that they are very much like brothers with a deep connection that manifests itself in great music and epic fights.

"Everyone leaves the room when we fight," Fink said. "But really it works. Especially on stage."

Because it's on stage that the entire band is invested in creating an experience with the audience. Fink said they can play for five people or 5,000 and the intensity of creating the experience is the same.

"We want people to feel comfortable," Fink said. "We want them to be moved by the music. For us it's all about the audience. We want to grab them by the lapels and shake them. We want the whole room to be part of the same thing."

Fink's always been that way, he said, ever since he started his first band when he was an eighth-grader growing up in northern New Jersey.

"I've had my down times, too," Fink said. "But I think I was just born to be a musician."

For information about the show visit

Tracy Rasmussen, Reading Eagle, 7/25/2013