Grand Ole Party

posted by / Sounds / May 26, 2009


You can’t pack much more raw soul or sex appeal into one album. From the moment lead singer (and drummer) Kristin Gundred belts the opening line to GOP’s debut album “Humanimals” — “I must be the devil’s daughter, what a dark father to dwell in me” — you become quite aware that this is no pretentious indie rock band. It’s dark, powerful, simple, sexy and subtly funky all at once. Goes great with Friday nights and red wine on the patio where the smokers hang out. —Travis Ferré

KRISTIN GUNDRED: We all met at UC Santa Cruz as college students. Jean Paul (guitar) and I played together in a group for a little bit, then we ended up moving to San Francisco. We met Mike and the three of us started playing. We had a practice space close to our house where we all lived and just jammed all the time. During that time I learned the drums and Mike picked up the bass. But it wasn’t a band at that point. We didn’t write songs or play shows, and we didn’t have a name.

AND YOU MOVED TO SAN DIEGO? Yeah. It was kind of random, actually. Mike had moved back to North County San Diego because his dad lived there. Jean Paul and I took a big U.S. road trip to find out where to start a band, but we didn’t really find anything we could afford. New York was amazing, but not meant to be. We kind of ended up following Mike to San Diego.

HOW DID YOU ALL DECIDE ON THIS SOUND? I think some bands do actually come up with it that directly. We’re not one of those bands, though. I have friends in bands that when they get together they go, “OK, what are your favorite bands?” and they’ll be, like, “Yeah, let’s have little bits of that and that.” They have a goal. We’d jammed so much together it all just sort of happened. I think it’s inevitable that influences are going to color what you make. But we didn’t have a list of bands or anything.

DID YOU GROW UP MUSICALLY INCLINED? Yeah, my dad’s side of the family is very musically gifted. And I think it was all in my genes, mainly. I learned the violin and was in the orchestra for a while. And I did choir and did some jazz and classical stuff. And then I realized I actually wanted to be in a rock ’n’ roll band. [laughs]

YOU STUDIED LITERATURE IN COLLEGE. DOES THAT COME ACROSS IN YOUR LYRICS? Before I realized I wanted to write music, I thought I wanted to write books. So I’ve always been a writer. I feel like my lyrics reflect the fact that I have a pretty vivid imagination.

WHAT’S BEEN THE BAND’S BIGGEST highlight FOR YOU? I always like the really little things. Like some fun, small show somewhere. But it was definitely a reality check when we played Coachella. Just saying that sentence is absurd: “We played Coachella.” It’s so cool. And just recently we were on tour with two bands that I really love — Spiritualized, which is one of my favorite bands, and the Black Lips, who are just super fun.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU GUYS? We’ll be recording in the next couple months and have a new record out by the summer. Oh, and I hope you like Obama because despite being called the Grand Ole Party, we’re very excited about what happened!

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