A Gun That Shoots Knives
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A Gun That Shoots Knives

Seattle, Washington, United States

Seattle, Washington, United States
Band Rock Avant-garde

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"Seattle band A Gun That Shoots Knives takes fun seriously"

The band is called A Gun That Shoots Knives. The cover of "Future of Love," the album they release with a party at Chop Suey on Saturday, depicts the four band members as intergalactic barbarian superheroes, and was painted by an Olympia couple who illustrate sci-fi book jackets. The singer's name is Yurri Stubby Abbot. But the really funny thing is that nobody's written a song about sushi before.

"Freakin' sushi, man!" says drummer Kelly Svobodny Sorbel. "I'm really glad we have that song." (It's called "Sushi.")

"I'm really glad we have a song about dinosaurs," says bassist Jimmy LaRue.

That one's titled "Dinosaurs Were Real."

"Everybody's got this idea of dinosaurs in their heads, but they don't think about dinosaurs in reality; they think about dinosaur toys and video games and movies," Abbot explains as the band — minus bassist Jeff Greenwood plus producer/member Scot Michael — scarfs pizza in the living room of Sorbel's rented Greenwood home. "To actually think about the reality is insane! That these freakin' monsters were right here."

Other highlights of "Future of Love" include "The Land of Chocolate Donuts," "Old People" and "Stay in School," a would-be PSA peppered with enough expletives to render it NC-17.

"That's one main point of our band — you can write a song about anything," Abbot continues. "You listen to what's on the radio and its like, 'I love you baby.' That couldn't be more played out. There's a universe of things that you can write songs about."

Let's just say that A Gun That Shoots Knives has a keenly developed sense of humor. It banks on the juxtaposition of forehead-smackingly obvious subject matter with hook-laden pop-rock songwriting, madcap genre-hopping arrangements and occasional salty language.

It also banks on spectacle: AGTSK originally came together as a costumed Halloween band four years ago and, when it comes to performances, the costumes have never come off. At a Sunset Tavern show in January, the band dressed up as "Superman II" — three supervillains and the Man of Steel — and performed the "Kneel before Zod!" sequence midset. Any fan of Ween, GWAR, Phish, Zappa or "South Park" (or, considering the songs "Carbonite" and "Enter the Balrog," "Star Wars" or Tolkien) will find a lot to like.

"We are not a novelty band at all," Abbot says.

"Lately we're an avant-garde band," LaRue counters.

"It's almost like new new wave."

"Post-new?"

"We're trying to write good songs that people will enjoy listening to," Abbot says. "[Novelty bands] will just tell the joke, and they're not thinking about the song as much."

"That's what we're trying to share with people," LaRue says. "That you don't have to take yourself seriously to be good at what you do."

That these four guys — five, with the inclusion of Michael — can come together over such an absurdist approach to music is impressive. That the music is so cohesive, passionate and entertaining is astounding. It must be engaged with a certain Zen understanding that it's all meant to be taken very lightly. Big-picturing the costumes and inanity and profanity adds up to a surprising truth: AGTSK is a message band.

The message? Fun wins.

"We take having fun very seriously," LaRue says.

"We seriously wanna have fun," Sorbel says.

"We've gotten that comment from a lot of other bands, like, man you guys have so much fun, I wish my band had that much fun," Abbot says. "It's like, what the hell are you doing? You're in a band and not having fun? Anybody can do this." - The Seattle Times


"A Gun That Shoots Knives, the Kids in the Hall of post-millennial techno-synth guitar rock"

These aren’t real knives; they’re just barbs as sung by futurist comedy-stung bards high on loony space juice. If Devo were the patriarchs of the 80s techno-pop movement, then A Gun That Shoots Knives are the Kids in the Hall of post-millennial techno-synth guitar rock.

This is the down and dirty tale of alien surf music melting in a supernova of Casio keyboard driven computer rock. If you think the band in the cantina scene from the 1977 Star Wars movie was a bunch of knuckleheads, then you’ll think that these guys are the Bill Nyes of multi-dimensional shape shifter grove techno-pop.

I’m not a person to place labels on something so experimentally whacky, but this band’s new EP Love is worthy of a nod for Comedy Central’s nomination for “best new tongue-in-cheek release by a Seattle band.”

A Gun That Shoots Knives is the meshing of sounds from the likes of Ween, The Dead Milkmen, and Stereopathic Soul Manure-era Beck.

There is a lot of musical talent here, too, which is why they have managed to build their own niche with amusing techno-pop songs. Their ability to write catchy tunes complemented by computer synthesized instrumentation allows for a limited yet unorthodox sound; but it’s an amusing genre of oddities nonetheless. - NadaMucho.com


"Una Pistola Que Tila Cuchillos"

On April Fool's Day my husband and I had a show in Seattle (we're No Fi Soul Rebellion) with several other bands on the bill. Shortly before our set, a motley-looking assembly of boys took the stage, apparently part of Bellingham's ecstatic weird-pop faction A Gun That Shoots Knives (AGTSK). The ringleader of the group was a charismatic gentleman with a ridiculously pronounced part in his hair and a gleam in his eye that made you wonder whether or not he was quite 'right.' But after a set of soulfully warbled ballads, grin-inducing pop tunes and earnest rockers, all performed with the sort of spastic fanaticism that can only be conveyed by someone serious about having a good time. I no longer cared if they were sane or not. I turned to my husband and said, "Wow, now that was something else." And that was before I talked to them

"Basically, right after we started A Gun That Shoots Knives we were visited by our future selves, we're really big in the future," explained Stubby Abbot, AGTSK's vocalist and keyboardist. "Our future selves said they were tired of the fame and everything and that we should trade places with them for awhile. So we spent five years or so in the future as the biggest band around. Then we got sick of the future and we came back to 2005, and traded places with ourselves again."

This was a lot to take in but I had enough wits about me to inquire if any other Bellingham bands made it big in the future. Let's just say there's good news and bad news.

Though AGTSK's past, present and future appear to be a bit muddied by confusing, if not fantastic details, a few facts are known indefinitely. The band has been together for six months, and is made up of Abbott, guitarist Jeff Greenwood, bassist Jimmy LaRue, drummer Kelly Sorbel and part-time member Steve Moffat. On all accounts, AGTSK is primarily a rock and roll band, dedicated to ousting the idea of love songs in favor of songs written about everything else-including, but not limited to, soap, literacy and raging robot spiders. The result is unique to be sure, ("genre-defying," LaRue noted enthusiastically), but curiously AGTSK's sound and style changes from song to song.

"I think of it as if you had a group of really good musicians that had no ideas, so they went to a five year old and asked him to write their songs," Abbot said.

"Stubby is that five-year-old," Greenwood interjected with a chuckle. Abbot didn't wait for him to stop laughing before continuing, "Our songs are about things most songwriters would jot down because it made them giggle and later throw away, but instead we take them and build on them."

AGTSK has made good on that promise. In addition to already recording an album, aptly titled From the Future, that covers a wide expanse of song subject matter, they have big plans for upcoming performances.

"I wrote a rock opera," Abbot said. "It's about space pirates who are at odds with a secret agent from the CIA that wants to steal this magical hat that's so comfortable it gives you psychic powers. I'd like to take it to Broadway, if I'm able to do it big it's going to be incredible."

As Abbot described the logistics of the large, mechanical spiders he would use if the rock opera struck it big, I was left with the odd feeling I had just interviewed a bunch of incredibly talented kids masquerading as adults. The band's unfettered creativity is inspiring, and that mixed with the desire to give a good performance is an entertaining combination.

Meanwhile, Abbot had just summed up his band's performance philosophy in one perfect sentence. "You can catch people's attention by being really talented, or just being so strange that people can't look away," he said. - What's Up Magazine


"Hooray! For the Best CD Release Party, Ever"

A Gun That Shoots Knives have me firmly convinced that everything’s a little better when dressed in a ridiculous costume. The band’s triumphant homecoming and record release at the Blue Moon on May 19th was like going to the best house party, with a full bar and not having to worry about the clean up. After limping back to Seattle at 4:30 am that morning after a harrowing national tour courtesy of their van, AGTSK played two raucous sets, rocking The Moon well past 1am…. never once letting on how exhausted they must have been. The guys did let us know they were broke though, when “The Wheel of Decision” (more on that soon) landed on “buy the spinner a shot!” the boys said in utter seriousness… “that’s not happening man, we have five dollars to our name.”The Blue Moon was packed and looked much more like Halloween then mid-May. As revealed on the show’s kick-ass poster, the evening was not only a concert and a record release, but also a costume contest for the audience. The audience delivered, with at least a third of the full house in costume. If you’re curious, I went as a cow (complete with udders) and Josh went as a Moustache Rocker (in honor of WE who played the middle set of the night), including a freshly shaven molestache. The band has often told me that they wished their audience would always dress up and as much fun as the audience seemed to have for the release, I hope the trend sticks. To add to the circus like feel of the night, there was a contraption called “The Wheel of Decision.” From time to time an audience member would spin said wheel, the band would hold their breath, and their fate was quickly sealed. The Wheel of Decision provided one of the best moments of the night, A Gun That Shoots Knives landed on “Swap Lyrics” and played a rendition of their song Literate Man with the words to the Theme from Gilligan’s Island. If there was a decent video recording of it from that night, I guarantee you it would be an overnight success on the YouTube.Since being introduced to A Gun That Shoots Knives on New Years Eve, I have attended close to 10 performances and this was the boys at their very best. After a few weeks of touring the band was impossibly tight and their back-up vocals were sounding better than ever. Their two sets featured all of their favorites, and the audience merrily sang along to each and every one. I was also pleasantly surprised by We Wrote The Books on Connectors set, I’m loathe to admit that I just didn’t get or enjoy my first WE experience. But tonight, I got what all the buzz was about. These guys have so much fun on stage, it’s impossible not to have fun with them. They are magnetic to watch, each guy going slightly crazier than the next. Hooray indeed!One of the most memorable, enjoyable nights I’ve had in a long time. And all to celebrate a kick-ass release, by a kick-ass band! To see more photos of all the wonderfulness… continue reading. - Sound On The Sound


Discography

(Tracks with a '!' have received regular play on many fine regional radio stations, including but not limited to: KEXP, KNDD, KUGS, KHUM, KYRS...)

MIRACLE - 2007
Bad Horses Records
1. Literate Man'!'
2. Nothing for Nothing
3. Skinned Knees'!'
4. Knife Holes
5. S.F.A.
6. Really Bone
7. Hey, Soap!'!'
8. Every Year'!'
9. U.S.P.S.
10. NW Auto Sales
11. Ferrari Turbo'!'
12. This Canary/This Coalmine'!'
13. True Test
14. Titty Slappy (there for you)
15. Los Alamos
16. Chicken Pox
17. Rest Ye Now, Robot Spider
18. These Friendly Fireflies'!'
19. Miracle

LOVE - 2008
Bad Horses Records
1. Sushi
2. Mio Myo'!'
3. U Turn Her On'!'
4. Drunk As Hell'!'
5. Candy & Toys
6. Old People'!'

FUTURE OF LOVE - 2008
Bad Horses Records
1. Stay In School
2. Carbonite
3. Dinosaurs Were Real(!)
4. U Turn Her On(!)
5. Statues
6. Drunk As Hell(!)
7. Candy & Toys
8. Journey To Boston
9. Sushi
10. Enter The Balrog
11. Mio Myo(!)
12. U Can Take It
13. Land Of Chocolate Donuts
14. Old People(!)
15. Stars Behind The Earth

Photos

Bio

A GUN THAT SHOOTS KNIVES is an ever-evolving avant-garde music-band hailing indirectly from beautiful Seattle, WA. AGTSK's proprietary blend of danceably catchy rock and roll, poignantly nonsensical lyrics and antic-driven, costume-laden insanity has earned them comparisons to Ween, Beck, Frank Zappa, Parliament-Funkadelic, even The Muppets. Over the course of hundreds of live shows, including five regional and national tours spanning the height and breadth of North America, AGTSK has had opportunity to share the stage with an immense variety of performers (from Kimya Dawson to Ludicra, from Jeffery Lewis to Valient Thorr) in a comically diverse range of settings. As they produce more unpredictable and unpretentious music, their rabid fan base has been steadily growing, packing their irreverent and quirky live shows with costumed fervor and joy. Bringing professional execution and child-like exuberance to all aspects of performance, AGTSK is becoming legendary for their ability to make minds open, make asses shake, and make every beaming face in the crowd scream for more!

A Gun That Shoots Knives is writing, recording, and performing their way to a creative crescendo, and they show no signs of stopping! January 2008 brought the release of LOVE, a 6-song EP hot on the tail of 2007's 19-song full-length Miracle, a culmination of their cumulative songwriting and self-recording efforts since the band's inception 3 short years ago. LOVE itself, however, was merely a preview of AGTSK's new recording sessions with Titan Studios' Scot Michael, whose engineering and production talents have given the band a futuristic sheen that both longtime fans and fresh new crowds are finding impossible to resist...

Now, A Gun That Shoots Kives is proud to present: FUTURE OF LOVE! Released in October 2008, this shiny new fifteen-track, self-produced, self-released album finds AGTSK reaching a new personal milestone in songwriting and studio crafting. Overtly present are both a newfound clarity and fullness of sound, and a painstakingly precise attention to detail, as each member’s love and knowledge of producing adds the sonic flair that AGTSK has become known for. As a spectacular bonus prize, Future of Love's release brings to the stage The Future himself, an astoundingly talented multi-instrumentalist whose inventiveness and exuberance give AGTSK's live performances a fresh dose of explosive emotional energy. Welcome to the FUTURE OF LOVE!