You'd have to be bananas to miss their concert.

Band describes music as 'mish-mash' of different styles
The next time the Gas House Gorillas come swinging into a venue near you, you'd have to be bananas to miss their concert.

Music and ape references aside for a moment, the name Gas House Gorillas may sound familiar to cartoon enthusiasts. The Gas-House Gorillas baseball team battled the Tea Totallers in the "Baseball Bugs" cartoon featuring Bugs Bunny.

So, how to describe a band that got its name from a Bugs Bunny cartoon?

The Gas House Gorillas' website,, says, "The band's repertoire encompasses a broad range of styles that include jump blues, gypsy swing, early rock 'n' roll, cajun music and even the occasional funk groove."

Rick Fink, a former rock singer who started the band, said, "Originally, I wanted to start a big band, but that wasn't really economically feasible. I went with a decision to make a band with a mish-mash of a lot of different styles."

So, Fink decided to make a demo with some friends, and then went out and "got a gig."

"When I got a gig," Fink said, "I went out and made some phone calls and they became the first configuration of the band. A few months later, Crusher came into it, and that's when it really came into its own."

Crusher is Crusher Carmean, who plays bass for the group, and who got his name, "Crusher," the website says, "because of his penchant for turning a perfectly good instrument into kindling."

Asked to elaborate, Carmean said, "When I first started playing a long time ago, the way I play is naturally physical. I play the music I really love. I would get a little physical with an instrument. I would have to learn how to repair it. The leader of the band I was in at the time introduced me as Crusher Carmean."

Carmean eventually found a way to save some instruments and cut down on the kindling.

"I got myself some aluminum and built a bass," Carmean said. "Now, I build them and sell them to people."

In addition to Carmean, and Fink on vocals, the band consists of Seltzer Jim Davis on saxophone, Stu Newman on guitar and Eddie Everett on drums.

Using the name Gas House Gorillas wasn't just a spur-of-the-moment idea.

"I've been holding on to that name for years and years," Fink said. "Crusher and I have the love for all things Warner Brothers and Marx Brothers. Years ago, I knew I was going to start a band called the Gas House Gorillas."

Among the New Jersey venues the Gas House Gorillas have played is Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse in Dunellen. The group is scheduled to play there at 9 p.m. Nov. 10.

Audience interaction is a big part of a Gas House Gorillas concert. During a show, Fink will head to the dance floor, as well as use chairs at nearby tables for an impromptu stage.

To interact with the audience, Fink says, "I do whatever I have to do. The thing for us, we walk into a room and I feel it's our job to make it our own. What we're good at is coming into a room cold and being able to completely change the atmosphere and take the audience where we want to take them."

Fink is quick to point out that he doesn't do this alone. "It's definitely a band," he said. "I think each one of us kind of has a role. Personally, without Crusher, it's not the Gas House Gorillas. Crusher and I are like peanut butter and jelly."

Carmean likened them more to another famous duo.

"We're kind of like (Dean) Martin & (Jerry) Lewis," he said. "I left the band a few years ago, and after about two weeks, I felt it was the stupidest thing I ever did. When I'm with Rick, when we're on stage, we're like one. I think it wouldn't be the Gas House Gorillas without Rick. It's a great band as a whole. Rick and I just make it more colorful. But we're more in tune to inspire the other guys to be what they are."

"When it comes down to it, it's all about the interaction of the band working together," Fink added. "When you form a band, what you're really creating is a personality more than music, and I think that what you're selling is a personality. It's something that requires everybody to be 100 percent on the same page."

Those attending a concert by the Gas House Gorillas might wonder why Carmean appears in a kilt. "That's all I wear," Carmean said. "I've always loved the kilts. I don't know why. My neighbors used to think I was nuts. I wore it around the house, and then I wore it on stage. I did it to get Rick as a gag. I liked it, and so did the audience, so I figured, 'Why bother with pants?' "

Bradley W. Wadlow - Courier News, Friday, September 14, 2012