By MICHAEL-SHAWN DUGARMdugar@dnews.com
For the original members of Guns of Nevada, it feels good to get the old band back together.
The Seattle-based rock band formed in 2007, but after a short time performing and making music together, the original members of the four-piece group disbanded in 2009. The band soldiered on, with vocalist and guitarist Earle Thunders remaining the only constant during the time of turnover.
Their five-year hiatus ended after they came together for a benefit concert to support the victims of the mudslide in Oso, Wash., earlier this year.
“It was more fun than I think I’ve ever had playing music — we just had a blast,” Thunders said of the performance. “We put on a pretty good show and we raised about $3,000 or $4,000 for the mudslide victims, so it was a good cause and it was a blast — it was one of the best experiences of my life.”
Now reunited, the group will hit the stage for only the second time since the Oso performance Friday at Hogan’s Pub in Clarkston, where they’ll present their garage rock, country-fused original music.
Like many bands, conflicts of interests ultimately tore them apart, and although the band continued without its original members for some time, they figured nothing could compare to having the four of them together again.
Thunders formed the group in 2007 with drummer Doug Lynch. Together they found guitarist Donnie Lemmon and their bass player, Atom Green.
“We’re a little bit older, a little bit wiser and we know what we want to do,” Thunders said of staying together this second time around. “Everyone knows this is the best thing we’ve probably all done. We’ve been in other bands over the years, but we all realize this is the best musical experience we’ve all been a part of. We’ve played some great shows and made some good music so there is no reason to change it again.”
Thunders said their chemistry is strengthened this time because they all speak the same language, musically that is. When they’re making music together it’s like crafting a perfect painting with all four members using the same paintbrush. When they look at each other they just know what sound they need to produce and the rest of the creative process is smooth sailing from there.
The fact their musical identities gel so well is slightly uncanny considering their actual personalities fall on opposite ends of the spectrum. For instance, Green is the comedian of the group. He’s well-known in the Seattle music scene both because of his brother, Jeremiah, the drummer for the rock band Modest Mouse, and for his work with the radio station 107.7 FM, the End in Seattle.
Green also orchestrated the band name through his love for the state of Nevada, where he frequently takes vacations to see old ghost towns and take pictures.
“I love Atom. He’s not always everyone’s cup of tea, but I’ve always gotten along with him just fine,” Thunders said. “He’s got a sense of humor that is off the wall and if you’re not paying attention you’re not gonna get it. He’s funny, he’s got an edge to him that some people don’t like, but I love it.”
Then there’s Lemmon, who is the more serious, business-oriented member of the group. He holds all the rehearsals and recording sessions — he’s their “Mr. Music Guy.”
“What usually happens at some point is Atom and I usually pick on Donnie or on Doug our drummer,” Thunders said. “It’s usually Atom and I instigating all the trouble that goes on and it just makes for a fun atmosphere. People like to hang around us; I don’t know why but they do.”
Thunders takes pride in the fact when his group hits the stage, the audience is treated to an unusual experience with original content. Sure they draw inspiration from AD/DC, the Ramones, Johnny Cash and others, but at the end of the day they possess a sound all their own.
“The reason I got into music wasn’t to play other people’s music,” Thunders said. “I love other people’s music but I got into this thing to write my songs, play my own guitar and do what I can do on my own. Chances are I’ll never be rich but I’m having a good time.”
if you go
WHAT: Guns of Nevada performing live
WHERE: Hogan’s Pub, 906 Sixth St., Clarkston
WHEN: 10 p.m. Friday