'Seekers and Finders' solidifies Gogol Bordello's unique perspective
On Gogol Bordello's website, there's a mission statement that seems a bit rambling:
"The troubadours of neo-authentics are comin' as a trans-global art syndicate family that has never been witnessed before."
But after listening to the band – especially on its new release, "Seekers and Finders" – it's evident that Gogol Bordello is indeed a unique musical collective. Appearing Oct. 6 at Mr. Small's in Millvale, Gogol Bordello, fronted by the charismatic Eugene Hutz, features a cross-section of musicians from around the world. The sound, often described as gypsy punk, is similarly diverse.
The new album "Seekers and Finder" finds the band in fine form in its 18th year. But Hutz thinks the band is on the cusp of greater things.
"Actually I think we're just scratching the surface," he says, "and that's pretty much our vibration. … That's one of the precious things to me, that the band shares with me the vibration that every album we should just be scratching the surface."
Question: "Seekers and Finders" starts with "Did It All," a driving, uptempo. Were you trying to set a tone, a certain flow and dynamic, for the rest of the record?
Answer: I think it's always good to start fast. That song, it starts fast but it takes quite a few turns. So, a minute and a half into the song it's already quite meditative. I think what you're hearing as far as the flow and dynamic, that's precisely what I was putting into it as the producer.
Q: You produced "Seekers and Finders" after enlisting other producers on recent albums. What was it like for you to again produce the band?
A: Even when working with Rick Rubin or Steve Albini or Andrew Scheps, I was still always co-producing. I was always there, pretty much the whole time, hands on. It wasn't this completely other thing for me. But I did, of course, have much more control. And chiefly more control over the time we were spending. And that's what I enjoyed the most: Taking the time and having things come to their organic, natural ripening.
Q: Is there anything new or different on "Seekers and Finders?"
A: We're in a different part of life. A lot of glasses have been filled and a lot of new glasses have been put in front of us, yet to be filled. That's just the process of life. And that changes everything. … In a world of music or any art, the engine of it is what is coming at you from the other side at you. You, as an artist, are just kind of a translator. The more respect you can treat that process, the more it's uncorrupted.
Q: Do you feel that Gogol Bordello has a unique identity in popular music?
A: Yes, and, it is growing. That's what I mean by scratching the surface. There are also many people who are scratching the surface of who we are, and are discovering us now. It's normal. It should be like that. Yes, we have a very particular place under the sun. It's our place and nobody else's. The kind of socio-cultural fantasies that create this space, they were there long before we appeared. In a way, we just kind of filled the vessel.
Details: 412-821-4447, mrsmalls.com.
Tom Moran documentary
Tom Moran has long been one of the area's most eclectic musicians. An alumnus of punk legends The Five and the Deliberate Strangers, a country band that excelled at murder ballads, in recent years the Squirrel Hill resident has focused on making and playing the oud, the multi-stringed lute-shaped instrument commonly used in Middle Eastern and Greek music. A short documentary about Moran's life, "Improvising the Divine," has been made by Spinning Goat Productions. Details: spinninggoat.wordpress.com
Shows of Note
Fastball, Oct. 5, Club Café, South Side
The casual fan may regard Fastball as the proverbial one-hit wonder with a lone hit single, "The Way." But the body of work produced by the band from Austin, Texas, goes beyond one song, and defies categorization. That's always been a point of pride for Miles Zuniga, Tony Scalzo, and Joey Shuffield, whose range transcends the limitations of pop or rock. 412-431-4950, clubcafelive.com.
Rise Against, Oct. 5, Stage AE, North Shore
Chicago-based Rise Against recorded its most recent album, "Wolves," in Nashville. But fans of the hardcore band, fear not: this is not a flaccid attempt to go country a la Steven Tyler. The music remains the same: brash, energetic, vivid, and at least in the case of the song "Prayer of the Refugee," with a finger on the pulse of the times. 412-229-5483, promowestlive.com.
Nick Moss Band, Oct. 7, Moondogs, Blawnox
It's not a coincidence that Nick Moss looks more like a football player than a blues musician, But the Chicago-based Moss' star-studded athletic career got sidetracked in high school after he suffered a kidney ailment. He picked up the electric bass, and a musical career was launched. Moss has released 10 albums of authentic blues on his own label, including his latest, "From the Root to the Fruit." 412-828-2040, moondogs.us
Rege Behe is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.