All the World's a Stage for Gogol Bordello
Photo courtesy of Red Light Management
For Gogol Bordello, every day is Halloween.
Leading up to Friday's Halloween-night performance at Warehouse Live, front man Eugene Hütz says that his band of misfits doesn't have anything specifically spooky planned, but that it would be out of character for them to bring anything less than their very best.
"We're kind of a band that never developed a routine," he says. "Anything celebratory, we're kind of a natural fit for it."
Gogol Bordello's live performance is a carnival in itself. The band's unique amalgam of various musical genres is often affectionately referred to as "gypsy rock," and it goes without saying that the Manhattan-born rockers will take the festivities to another level.
"I welcome the unpredictability of it all," Hütz says. "We're the kind of band that takes it by the horns, really."
Born in Ukraine, Hütz immigrated to America in the early '90s as a political refugee, eventually ending up in New York City. Along the way, he developed an affinity for the authenticity of traditional country music.
At House of Blues Houston in 2011
Photo by Groovehouse
"Country music is built around story-telling, and that resonates with me a lot because I've got stories to tell, literally begging to be let out," Hütz says. "Storytelling is a crucial part of epic songwriting, and that's where my country music obsession comes in."
Strip down any Gogol Bordello song, and Hütz says that listeners will find the same songwriting techniques utilized by the likes of Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Glen Campbell, just a few of the front man's many musical influences.
"The chords will be a little different, and the progression and the melody," he explains. "But underneath it all, it's a very coherent story. It's all quite tastefully told. I'm kind of a long-standing student of that kind of songwriting."
Hütz's music also offers listeners an authenticity that the front man feels has been sorely lacking from the industry recently.
"The experience-driven generation is kind of ending," Hütz says, citing artists like Jim Morrison and Lou Reed, who he says paved the way for modern music. "Soon after that, the music started imitating them. Look at any rock and roll magazine, and it looks like they just walked out of the mall.
"It's not their fault," he adds with a laugh. "What they're singing, they're having fun with it, but it's not experience-driven."
Story continues on the next page.
Gogol at FPSF 2013
Photo by Jim Bricker
But Hütz himself is no foreigner to real-world experiences. Though he is not currently in the most settled-down of positions, he recently lived in Brazil with his girlfriend and is currently splitting time between his home there and his residence in New York.
In Brazil, he found a beautiful mess where art has not yet been segregated from the outside world into galleries and venues.
"The compartmentalized treatment of art is unnatural," Hütz says. "When it gets to that point, the art loses its vitality. And it's not just the States; it's Western civilization. Art has just become compartmentalized. The places where it's still leaking out...That's just a more natural setting for me."
Despite his renowned status, Hütz maintains a humble disposition. When he's in New York, he still busks around city and doesn't even have a case for his guitar.
"Who fucking needs the case, man? What a waste of time," he says. "The guitar is my altar; it's my prayer. I am at my altar at all times. Any creativity that comes to me goes directly into it."
And a big part of being prolific, he says, is never being away from his outlet. Gogol Bordello's music, beyond anything else, is about unity and the oneness that can be found through music along the way in our own individual journeys.
"People remain who they are, but the music is truly a place where the frequency is shared," Hütz says. "You can be riding the same fireball around Andromeda as everyone else, but your experience will be completely different. However, music is that very special frequency where you're right there on the same note, on the same page."
Hütz believes that the soul years for that experience of communal belonging, which is where the therapeutic power of music comes from.
"We need individuality," he says, "but we also need to feel like we're a part of something."
Gogol Bordellos kicks off its "Crack the Case" tour at Warehouse Live Halloween night as part of Pegstar's tenth anniversary celebration. Doors open at 8 p.m.
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