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A Conversation With Kevin Gunther
by Samuel Barker
& Rayanna Barker

February 9, 2002


Catch 22(Kevin is far left)
Catch 22

Samuel Barker: Alright man, to start with, what is your name and what do you do?

Kevin: My name is Kevin and I sing and play trumpet. I also do all the interviews.

Samuel: How has the tour been going so far?

Kevin: Itís been great. Itís been nice touring with someone you looked up to. I know it sounds kinda cheesy, but we grew up listening the Suicide Machines. We first listened to them when we were 15, now weíre 22, so thatís 7 years. This is actually the second time weíve toured with them. Itís fun, the camaraderie you have on the road with the bands, and the older guys picking on us. The shows are fun too.

Rayanna: How long has Catch 22 been together?

Kevin: About four or five years now. Since we were 18, so four years.

Samuel: I see you guys are doing the Victory Records tour, are you guys looking forward to going out on that and being exposed to a new crowd?

Kevin: Kinda. Itís kinda why weíre doing the tour. We hope our kids come out and have a good time. As far as Iím concerned, if we make one new fan a night, weíll be doing good. I also donít want those kids, because there is some negativity within the hardcore scene, to be totally out of place. Iím not stereotyping hardcore kids, I love the music, but sometimes there are one or two meatheads who have to bring the gang mentality to a punk rock show and itís like "Hey! This is a punk show, these kids come here because kids in school are mean to them, so give them a break." There are lots of dorks and stuff like that at the show.

Rayanna: Iím new to this whole punk thing, but I notice that it is more of the outcast kids who end up here and find a place to belong.

Kevin: Yeah, thatís who comes to the show. Instead of being nerds or dorks, they dye their hair green and become weird. Itís totally uplifting. Itís like "That kidís not a dork, heís a weirdo." Thatís the way it works. You can come here, youíre a club, a society, and youíre with people who are weird with you. Itís totally different now than it was 10 or 15 years ago when everything started, 20 years ago, it was more about being hardcore and tough guys, but itís not like that anymore, itís more for the dorky kids to come. Thatís the way it was for me, and thatís the way it will be for kids 10 years from now.

Rayanna: Were you a dorky kid in school?

Kevin: Of course. Iím here arenít I?

Samuel: What made you decide to reissue Washed Up with all the bonus material?

Kevin: There are a couple different reasons. First of all, itís such a short record that itís annoying. I donít like EPs, I donít know why we put out an EP, the reason we did it in the first was because we wanted to do a 7". We were just thinking, we are too lazy to put out a full length, weíll just put out a 7" and Victory was like, "7"s donít really sell, weíll do it as a 7" and an EP." It was cool; it had a couple of serious songs on it and some silly songs on it. The second reason was because we were coming off of Jeff leaving the band, we werenít sure what we were going to do. We didnít know if we wanted a new lead singer or if weíd sing, Ryan and I, we didnít know what would happen. We figured we could go into the studio and try to do something and if it works, great, if it doesnít, weíre in trouble. Luckily it worked, and everything came out really good. It was a good test for me and Ryan.

Rayanna: Well, EPs are nice; because they give you chance to get a taste of a band.

Kevin: Yeah, demos are definitely good, especially for an unknown band. Thatís what I tell kids who ask me for tips, I tell them to make demo tapes. Because when I used to go to shows I would be more willing to buy a demo tape for $2 instead of $6 for a CD Iím going to throw away. You have to sell CDs for $6, thatís a cheap CD, but if there is a demo for $2 of a band you think is kinda cool, youíll pay the $2 for the demo. The other word of advice I always tell other bands is to chill out, you donít have to make a full-scale production for a demo. Only do like 2 songs and sell them for a dollar. Some bands try to put it all on the demo and make a big deal out of it, maybe they feel itís their one shot. For whatever reason, poorly produced CDs have been some of the worst things Iíve been a part of in my life. Not trying to sound snobby, but be practical about it.

Rayanna: How long have you guys been on Victory?

Kevin: About three years, since 1998.

Rayanna: What were you doing before that?

Kevin: Putting out demo tapes. We actually put out a 5-song demo that sold 2,000 copies in New Jersey. Thatís amazing for there.

Rayanna: Do you have a big following in New Jersey?

Kevin: We have a big following, itís really weird. Iíd be lying if I said it consisted mostly of old school kids from when we were in high school. Kids who come out to see us in New Jersey are usually trendy kids, which is weird. Very 16-year-old little girl who listen to Britney Spears. Not all of them, but there are a lot of them. I shouldnít really call them trendy, but theyíre no punk rock kids. Itís good, weíre happy about that. Everyone gets along.

Samuel: There were the new songs on the Washed Up re-release, are you guys planning on recording a new album?

Kevin: We are not working on a new album currently. We should be, and we will be, but like I keep telling everyone, a new album should be in stores in the late fall of 2002.

Rayanna: So are you guys a bunch of slackers?

Kevin: Kinda, but we just like to tour.

Rayanna: Is it hard to get in the studio?

Kevin: No, getting in the studio is easy, you just book your three weeks. The hard part is writing new songs. You canít write new songs on the road...well, some people can, but not us. We never have, we never will, we are too lazy, we have too many video games, too many people to talk to, too many things to see and do.

Rayanna: Do all of you take part in the songwriting?

Kevin: Yeah, basically, everyone in this band has written at least one part or one song. We do have certain guys who do more than others, but basically, everyone in this band is a songwriter.

Samuel: A lot of a Catch 22 set is crowd interaction, how much does the audience impact the show?

Kevin: In our stage show, we have to have feedback. We feed off of the energy. Itís very hard for us to play in front of a non-responsive crowd. Some bands, theyíll go through their set and not care whatís going on around them and just walk off stage. Us, we like when people sing, we like when people dance. To us, a non-responsive audience means they donít like us, which that doesnít always mean, but that is how it feels. Thatís the way we are.

Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at suma@rockzone.com.

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