Band: Smokin' Gunnz
Members: Chris Della Porta, guitar and vocals; Bob Morris, lead vocals and drums; Mike Brady, guitar and vocals and Terry Sherry, bass guitar and vocals
Who we talked to: Brady
Where did the name come from? Actually, this band has been together for about 10 years. In its current form, it's only been three or four years. I just joined the band a year ago. I think at the time, they were looking for a name that would imply a Southern rock context.
Can you describe your sound and style? We're a 99 percent Southern rock band. We do a lot of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, ZZ Top and stuff along those lines. At the moment, we're a cover band. We have two originals that we're playing out now that are going over really well and that encourages us to work on more stuff. But for the past couple months, we've just been concentrating on our show that's coming up.
Did you see the Lynyrd Skynyrd show at the York Fair? Yes, I was at that show. We did a pre-show warm-up for them. We played two one-hour sets in the arts hall. 93.5 (WTPA-FM) hired us to do a warm-up.
Do you guys have any more recent influences? I can't speak for everyone else, but a lot of the new music now doesn't really impress me. It's all homogenized, and it all pretty much sounds the same. When Nickelback came out, that was different for the time. Two months later, there were more bands like Nickelback. Everyone tries to sound like what the new big thing is. I just like playing the old music.
Is there a place that you guys like to play in the area? Earlier this summer, we played at Delmarva Bike Week. That was interesting. We are trying to get more into those type venues, the bike shows up and down the East Coast. It seems to strike a chord with (bikers.) Everyone can relate to (our music). As soon as we start playing some Lynyrd Skynyrd, everyone is on their feet. We have almost 90 shows booked this year.
What is your take on the York music scene? It depends a lot on where you go. There are certain areas that are receptive to live music and some that aren't so much. York is basically a cover band town. If you don't play covers in York, you're probably not going to play anywhere, which, in my opinion, is one of the reasons the York live scene is kind of slow. A lot of these bars were hiring bands for minimum pay. You have to pay for quality.
How do you guys set yourselves apart? We're actually a higher energy band than others. When you come out to a Smokin' Gunnz show, you're going to see us all over the stage. Our bass player is all over the place. He gets up on tables. We're up there dancing with the people. It's just a fun show.
How is Southern rock different from mainstream rock? I think in Southern rock it's not just the music that is different. There is a whole feeling as far as the lyrics go. It's more about home and family and God. At the same time, it's also about partying and having fun. In most of the music today, they're just crying about how some girl left them. Southern rock is distinctive. The guitars are loud and in your face.
What are the band's long-term goals? The next step in this whole process is having a product to sell. (Making) some of our own original music would be the way to go. We spent a lot of time working on this show and everything got put on the back burner. By early next summer, I would imagine we would be ready to have a CD out.
- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF