Gothamist first saw Gym Class back in August at Pianos. We can't remember who we originally went there to see, but we remember Gym Class. They had faux hawks. They played edgy synth rock that made us tap our feet (the equivalent to dancing in these parts). We imagine that if heaven and hell existed, and it existed as multi-leveled notes and chords played in the 1980's, 1990's and 2000's simulatenously...and they crashed together...Gym Class would be comprised of its apocolyptic fragments. Stop, don't think about it, keep reading...
Gym Class is Jay Guillermo (synth/groovebox), Dylan Maiden (guitar/lead vocals) and Jesse Serwer (drums). And they promise not to steal your money in the locker room.
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?
Dylan: It came from a session of brainstorming at what used to be Jesses Bushwick loft. Jay grabbed it from space I believe, and I concurred with the notion and direction. But I do like the name Total Airport if GC ever dies.
Jay: I like the name Kimono but only if it was an all asian/non Japanese keyboard band.
Jesse: At first I thought the name was silly, but then every other name anyone of us came up with was some sort of variation on the idea of Gym Class. So it had to be. I think of band names all the time but can never remember them, so Im going to have to jump on Total Airport with Dylan.
What is your first conscious memory of living in New York?
Dylan: It sounds cliche, but its of me nearly crying as I struggled to make it out of the A/C 8th Avenue subway station, coming from JFK for the first time. I had two suitcases and my The Paul electric guitar. When I finally made it out onto the streets, my walk must have looked really silly. A clearly underestimated load.
Jay: Dudes hanging outside of bodegas on a Friday night, booming car stereos. The second day I was here, I called a friend in Cleveland(my hometown) and told him I felt like I was in a Jay-Z video.
Jesse: I was physically born in the city, and grew up just outside of it, so I have always felt like a New Yorker. My first conscious memory of Manhattan was probably seeing Annie at the Winter Garden Theater. News 4 anchorwoman Sue Simmons was at the restaurant we went to after the show. Around the same time I remember walking down 42nd Street when it was all porno theaters, going to Thanksgiving dinner. That was around 1982, I was three, and I still remember the name of one of the pornos that was playing: Vanessa the Undresser.
What is your favorite/least favorite memory involving New York?
Dylan: Favorite would be flying into NYC from Seattle one morning and seeing the sun kiss Manhattan with gold. Least would be flying from NYC to Seattle one morning and seeing the clouds kiss Manhattan with silver.
Jay: Least would be cockroaches too big to kill. Favorite: Eating Korean bbq for the first time.
Jesse: Favorite: going to the Village on my own for the first time with my first girlfriend the first month of high school. Least: Getting sick off the soul chicken at Vegetarian Paradise 2 on West 4th after the hostess made my party wait an hour for no reason. That place sucks.
What is your favorite place to drink in NYC? Whats the best night of the week to go out in the city?
Dylan: It used to be Mars Bar on Monday. But only when its very hot and the cockroaches are social. But those days are over; now there are colder, trashier horizons ahead for this city. At the moment I think I like Welcome to the Johnsons on Saturday night most. Although I did get randy and wet at Lit the other night
Jay: Subtonic on a good dance party nite. I like Tuesdays, Saturdays.
Jesse: Its out of my price range, but the bartenders at Angels Share are sick. Plus, its on the second floor, so it still has an underground vibe despite being a nice place.
What is your favorite/least favorite thing about playing shows in New York? Is there a difference between shows in Manhattan and Brooklyn?
Dylan: I think in general more people tend to inhabit Manhattan venues at night, unless theres something really important going on that should take place in Manhattan but instead is moved to a Brooklyn location intentionally.
Jay: My least favorite is non-dancing crowds. I like the free drinks even though its not as many as you would think.
we havent played Brooklyn as much as Manhattan.
Jesse: We really havent played in Brooklyn enough despite all of us living there for a while, and being all about it. Brooklyn show bookers, give us shows.
Do you think your New York connection shows in your music? If so, how?
Dylan: Were always on the prowl to make new connections. There are so many potential musical niches in NYC that it makes it hard sometimes to weed out the doldrums from the movers, and in general get out of the thicket of lameness. But in terms of our musics connection to the city, I feel its completely bound. I think were very colorful in the same way this city is.
Jay: I think our connection to NY shows in our diversity in our music, the way we look, and who we are. Theres so much different kinds of music that youre influenced subconsciously from car stereos to bodegas to restaurants. Its everywhere and luckily totally diverse.
Jesse: I dont think there are very many places where a band like ours could exist the way we do besides New York. Here our music makes a lot of sense, but elsewhere it probably seems strange to see people who look as differently as we do playing music thats equally influenced by avant-garde 60s psych, and contemporary hip-hop. Unlike Boston, the only other place Ive ever lived, everything about this city inspires me, even the rotten faux-chicken.
Now it's time for some fill-in-the-blank action:
You know youve made it when.
Dylan: The rain starts looking like sunshine, and the blood turns to wine.
Jay: you can afford fancy clothes and nice sneakers but its given to you for free instead.
Jesse: The doorman wants your autograph for mom.
It'll be time to pack up the gear for good when...
Dylan: Jesse invests in an electronic drum set and invests in a sweatband for his headand yes, full-sized headphones included.
Jay: We actually agree on something.
I'll never forget the first time I...
Dylan: I fell in love with New York City for good.
Jay: ate Korean bbq and how amazing it truly was.
Jesse: found out about porn and sex from the posters on 42nd Street.
I'll never forget the first time [insert another band members name here]...
Dylan: I saw how much Jesse loves his dog, Cody. We went out to his parents on Long Island and the minute we got there he started chasing Cody around the house and into the backyard. Wow.
Jay: Dylan showed me his burly chest hair.
Jesse: I saw what a few hours of beer and one hit of weed can do to Dylan.
And finally, let's 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):
Dylan: Id double up those pin stripes. There arent enough.
Jay: Boston sucks
Jesse: One word: Steinbrenner.
Dylan: Metropolitans. I get it.
Jay: queens. Which has awesome food.
Jesse: Jesse Orosco. My nick-namesake, and the greatest lefty relief pitcher of all time.
Dylan: Does she live above Bed, Bath, & Beyond?
Jay: white track suits at the wedding with chicken fingers
Bridge & Tunnel
Dylan: You have to take one to get to the other.
Jay: why the weekend sucks. And weekday parties are better.
Jesse: Guidos and nasal-voiced chicks from Jersey and Massapequa.
Dylan: Please dont ever mention this word at night. Im scared to sleep alone.
Jay: one piece jumpsuits and cucumbers
Jesse: Cock rock
Dylan: Quadraphonic phony.
Jay: Too many people. Dont go there.
Jesse: They used to have porn there.
Bloomberg/Smoking Ban/Noise Laws
Dylan: He cant really hear or smell either.
Jay: I like the smoking ban even though I smoke. But the noise/no dancing has got to go.
Questions inspired by movies...
If you will, a brief justification of the ontological necessity of modern man's existential dilemma. (Reality Bites)
Dylan: Bite the mouth, tongue, and hand that feeds.
Jesse: Ill get back to you after I see Reality Bites.
What came first, the music or the misery? ( High Fidelity )
Dylan: When man learned to stumble, he learned to Rock n Roll.
A few quickies on the music tip:
Who would be in your ultimate music supergroup, your all-star Olympic team of rock?
Dylan: Ted Nugent and Michael Moore
Jay: Joe Strummer, Lee Perry, and Michael Jackson
Jesse: Random members of Night Ranger, REO Speedwagon and the Scorpions with Michael McDonald on vocals.
If you released a 7" what would you put on the cover?
Dylan: Jays brilliant design.
Jay: I agree with Dylan, My beautiful designs
Jesse: A picture of an LP.
What was the first/last album you bought on the day it was released?
Dylan: Nirvana: Nevermind
Jay: Guns N Roses Use Your Illusion 1 & 2
Jesse: Last was Kanye West College Dropout
Gym Class plays Friday 12.03.04 with The Blank-Its, My Best Fiend, & Kudu @ the Delancey [Delancey Street (btw Clinton and Attorney)]. 8pm/$8.
Listen to their music here, before the show.