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Andy Gabbard channels AC/DC at Yellow Cab

By Morgan Laurens

Photo: Andy Gabbard, of Buffalo Killers notoriety, strips away heavy guitars for his solo, bare-bones rock; photo: Sven Kahns
 

A favorite childhood band can say a lot about a person: their passions, their priorities, their preferred style of air guitar. Andy Gabbard’s early obsession with Angus Young, fed through rabidly devoured cassette recordings, is no exception.

“If you were coming over to my house to play video games or whatever we did back in the day, you were being force-fed massive amounts of AC/DC at loud volumes,” says Gabbard, recalling his teenage years.

When you hear Gabbard’s Cincinnati-based band, The Buffalo Killers, it becomes clear that AC/DC’s influence has survived the journey into adulthood. Loud riffs and a touch of psychedelia dominate the sound of a band that has toured with both The Black Crowes and The Black Keys.

Though Gabbard’s solo act strips away the heavy guitars and makes way for ’60s pop influences, you can still hear his love of bare-bones rock on every tune. His 2015 debut, Fluff, is a no-frills exercise in melodic power pop with the help of a simple backing band; you need look no further than the holy trinity of drums, bass, and guitar for your rock and roll needs.

In anticipation of his March 31 solo show at Yellow Cab, Andy Gabbard tells Dayton City Paper about his ’90s nostalgia and what to expect from his next solo release.

How did you get your start as a solo musician?

Andy Gabbard: Writing and recording songs on my own is how I started out. When I was 14-years-old my parents bought me a Tascam 4-track cassette recorder. I used that thing until it eventually busted. After playing in bands that paid for studio time for such a long time, I kind of lost the desire to record at home other than just making simple demos and whatnot. It wasn’t until I acquired a digital 8-track and a drum set a couple years ago that I started fantasizing about making a solo record. Just something to share with my friends and bandmates. I never thought it would be released officially and I’m eternally grateful to Patrick and Suzy at Alive Records for basically making a dream come true for me. Now that I’m back on the horse, I can’t stop. I love writing and recording songs on my own just as much as I love doing it with a band and cake and ice cream!

 

You’ve referred to your solo work on Fluff as modern grunge fuzz pop with ’60s aura. Who are some of your predominant influences on the album?

AG: With Fluff being my first official solo album, I wanted it to start at the beginning. It is a tribute to how I started writing and recording. I was in a very nostalgic headspace at the time. I played all instruments. Recorded it in one 12-hour session. Straightforward and to the point. Drums, bass, guitar driven by vocal melody. Bands like Nirvana, The Breeders, Superdrag, Guided By Voices come to mind as influences for Fluff.

The Buffalo Killers are known for big guitars mixed with a healthy dose of psychedelia. How do you reconcile their style of music with your solo work?

AG: I write a lot. And having an extra output for releasing material is beneficial to me as an artist. I go through phases and get on different trips. I’ve learned that by making solo stuff that I can really get things out of my system. And with Buffalo Killers we can do what we do when the four of us are together. BK is a special thing and it’s hard to explain to someone how it works. Songs just fall into place and it’s very magical when we play together. Recording solo is a whole different experience. I write and record everything myself so there are no rehearsals. It’s all in my head. My solo group [Grape Whizzer] learns the songs after they’re recorded usually. It’s really cool to be able to hand someone a finished product being the only person who’s heard it.

The video for the single More from Fluff has a charming, ‘90s-esque appeal, complete with lo-fi production techniques. What was the source of inspiration for that video, and how does it tie into
the song?

AG: I’m a very lucky guy to have such talented friends. Sven Kahns can do it all. I personally enjoy music videos where you just see a band playing the song. The basic idea was to get a lot of shots of the band playing and goofing around. And Sven sliced and diced it, added that really cool Nintendo glitch stuff in the background and we were really happy with it. Spin Magazine premiered the video online, which was really cool.

Fluff is coming up on its two-year anniversary. What projects can we expect from you in the near future?

AG: I have a new album coming out this summer. It’s called Plenum Castle. It’s completely different than Fluff or anything I’ve ever recorded. It features some of the best songs I’ve ever written. It’s sort of a concept album about my brain and memories within. Buffalo Killers have an album coming out later this year as well that we recorded ourselves at our studio barn. I have two more solo albums written and half recorded. Just gonna keep on writing and playing out as much as I can.

 

Andy Gabbard performs Friday, March 31 at Yellow Cab Tavern, 700 E. Fourth St. in downtown Dayton. Show starts at 8 p.m., doors at 7. Tickets are $9 at the door or $7 in advance. Dawg Yawp and M Ross Perkins are also on the bill. For more information, please visit AndyGabbard.Bandcamp.com or YellowCabTavern.com.

 

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Morgan Laurens
Reach DCP freelance writer Morgan Laurens at MorganLaurens@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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