With his signature Stetson and the swagger of a man completely at home on the stage, Christian Gibbs seems to be the perfect rock n' roll cowboy. But this Brooklyn dweller has lived and performed all over the world, with a number of different outfits, including a 4AD British band, the Morning Glories and the Cardia Brothers. Most recently, he's been playing a number of shows with his group, the C. Gibbs Review, around town charming audiences with their country influenced rock and between set folksy banter. Previously recording on Atlantic Records, Gibbs and his band have also completed a new record which should be available at his shows soon.
C. Gibbs are Christian Gibbs, Gerald Menke (pedal steel), Lance Kruger (bass), Quentin Jennings (keys) and Dan Menke (drums)
Let's get this out of the way, where did you band name originate? And if you had to change it to something else what would it be?
I always liked how certain writers/novelists used their initials as part of their name almost as if the originator takes second place to the actual piece of work . I like the understated quality of initials. Plus C.Gibbs just had a nice ring to it and looked better in type. Ive changed the name 3 times already from C.Gibbs Review to C.Gibbs Group to C.Gibbs and the Cardia Bros. And now to just C.Gibbs. If I were to change it again I think I might have to use C.Gibz
What is your first conscious memory of living in New York?
Probably sharing a futon with my bass player at the time in my first band Morning Glories and sleeping head to toe (kind of like the chair between two guys kind-a-thing at the movies) due to fear of intimacy. We were staying for free at our friend Leslies place in Astoria and I remember my bass player waking me up because I was holding his hand in my sleeptook us awhile to get over that one.
What is your favorite/least favorite memory involving New York?
Probably my favorite and least favorite was when I was working in Soho at a shoe store and some crazy big guy wrapped himself up in a carpet and started wigglin when ever a person would approach . Needless to say they thinking he was just a carpet things got a little troublesome , especially for a little old lady who almost had a heart attackWhen confronting the gentleman he became indignant and said that he was a performance artistonly in N.Y.
What is your favorite place to drink in NYC? Whats the best night of the week to go out in the city?
It used to be Mars bar because it was close (downstairs), cheap, convenient (good place to kill time between bands at CBs) and unpretentious to say the least. Now I like to have a bevie at Barcade on Powers and Union where you can play Asteroids and a wide variety of other early 80s video games. Besides my drummer works there and hes got a good joke or two.ask him for a Phil Collins. I like going out any night but Friday and Saturday.
What is your favorite/least favorite thing about playing shows in New York? Is there a difference between shows in Manhattan and Brooklyn?
It depends what club you play. Mercury Lounge is one of the best sounding rooms. Rodeo Bar has the best hospitality. They treat musicians how they should be treated; feed them , pay them wellprobably the thing I dislike most about playing in N.Y.C. is my 4th floor walk up in Bed Stuy after the show and trying to find a place to park at the venue, and the cost of car insurance, bla, bla, bladid I mention pretentiousness?..believe it or not its out there. As far as Brooklyn and Manhattan are concerned; Brooklyn is like the suburbs or the country (if I should be so bold)more relaxed, down home, more parking for my 350 Ford econoline!
Do you think your New York connection shows in your music? If so, how?
Definitely. I have a song called Oversized Pin Cushion on my last record which is a manifestation of time spent here. I was reading on a plane how an architect up for the World Trade Center contract was describing Manhattan as an Oversized Pin Cushion. Great image. Also, I always want to be out of N.Y.C. so by default I play the kind of music I play as a sort of synthetic escape. It takes me to wider more open spaces. I used to play very heavy angst ridden music which served its purpose at the time, however, Id rather be two places at once than standing still.
Now its time for some fill-in-the-blank action:
You know youve made it when...
You hear the muzak version of your songs at your favorite shopping mall or the local olive garden
It'll be time to pack up the gear for good when...
You get caught lip-synching on National Television on a show which uses the very word Live in their name
I'll never forget the first time I...
I'll never forget the first time [insert another band members name here]...
Dan my drummer called me puddin and now continues to do so..
And finally, lets have some fun with word association. Give me your immediate feelings on the following (if youve got no discernable feelings, make something up that wont embarrass you in the morning):
Couldnt they have come up with a better name? What is a Met anyway?
Those werent mini bottles of booze you moron reporter from the postit was ginseng!
Bridge & Tunnel
Methods of escape
You can depend on it arriving at least once a day
Bloomberg/Smoking Ban/Noise Laws
Next, theyll be telling us no lime green painted buildings! If I were mayor I would outlaw all those stupid Burberry scarves that are ubiquitous on Madison Ave
Questions inspired by movies...
If you will, a brief justification of the ontological necessity of modern man's existential dilemma (in less than 10 words). (Reality Bites)
I would say look at the glass half full. If youre here than try to enjoy it . Try Yoga, go surfing, buy a ukele.
What came first, the music or the misery? (High Fidelity)
Since not all music is inspired by misery I would definitely say the music.
A few quickies on the music tip:
Who would be in your ultimate music supergroup, your all-star Olympic team of rock?
Nick Cave on bass and backing vocals, Dylan on piano, Gladys Knight, P.J. Harvey, and Johnny Cash on vocals, Neil Young on guitar, Johnny Marr on guitar, Elliott Smith on drums.
If you released a 7 what would you put on the cover?
What was the first/last album you bought on the day it was released?
Kiss Alive 2
You can catch C. Gibbs Review this Saturday at Deli's Halloween Party @ Asterick. They go on at 11, but get there early for the rest of the bands.