Gunslinger's Dream
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Gunslinger's Dream

Band Rock


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The best kept secret in music


"Local Band Finds 'Dream' Success"

Whether they are remembered as the guys who won this year's Battle of the Bands Contest, or as the band playing every genre imaginable, Gunslinger's Dream seems to have made quite a name for themselves.

The band name itself originated when Tim Cartland, singer and guitarist of Gunslinger's Dream, and Chai Abdennabi, another guitarist for the band, decided to buy a distortion pedal. Cartland's dreadlocks and Abdennabi's long hair down to his back caught the attention of a man working at the store.

The man at the counter asked if they were in a band and what music they played, and the conversation gave Cartland and Abdennabi the idea for their band name.

"He said he hated the Blues, and I was like 'how do you hate the Blues? I don't understand.' [Then the sales associate] said 'the Blues are a gunslinger's dream,'" Abdennabi explained.

Later in the day, Abdenabbi said Cartland expressed how he thought Gunslinger's Dream would make a good band name. From that point on the name just stuck.

Abdennabi said the band has been together as Gunslinger's Dream since January.

This is not the first time Abdennabi has been in a band. He was in a band with Gunslinger's drummer, Mike Krazowski, while in junior high school, but the band was short-lived.

Current roommates, Abdennabi and Cartland met their freshman year and have kept in touch since. The two said they met a third member of their band randomly.

"We were just kind of jamming with some musicians when we met our bass player, Gordon [Higgeson]," Abdennabi said.

Abdennabi explained how he met another current member of Gunslinger's Dream when he saw a chalking on the sidewalk of a piano player seeking a band. That was Nick Wygonik, the band's current keyboard, piano and organ player.

Then the decision of if the band needed a lead singer came into play.

At first Wygonik and Krazowski were not convinced a singer was needed for the band, Abdennabi said.

Cartland went through a three-month long "audition" where the band practiced with the vocalist, until they decided he was a good addition to the group.

Cartland joined choir in junior high and has been singing ever since. Once he got to college, Cartland began contributing his vocals to the band.

While he was growing up, Cartland's favorite artists were Metallica, Eminem, Jay Z and Ozzy, and his inspiration seemed to come from several sources.

"[These were] a lot of people who were able to put together words in a way that hadn't been done before," Cartland explained.

He also said the lyrics for Gunslinger's Dream's songs are taken from many everyday situations.

"[We get inspiration from] the news and issues that are important to people our age and society as a whole," Cartland said.

"It has a lot to do with normal things that an individual would go through as well as societal [issues]," Cartland said.

In terms of music style, Cartland explained he attempted to narrow the wide variety of genres the group covers.

"We don't stick to a traditional pop form, but we like to progress through different sections of songs and not really repeat a lot of choruses," Cartland said.

Abdennabi described Gunslinger's Dream as a rock band. In terms of musical influence, Abdennabi said Wygonik looks up to Radiohead and Phish, and the band even follows traditional jazz and techno music.

Cartland said he considers Bob Marley when he thinks about music. Lyrically, though, he said he looks up to Bob Dylan, Eminem and Jay Z.

"I think it comes down to lyrics and not necessarily voice quality, but how songwriters write and how they say what they have to say," he explained.

The band members' musical areas are not limited solely to what they contribute directly to the band. Wygonik has two keyboards, which he plays facing each other at a 90 degree angle.

"Nick has an organ, and he also plays a piano which has other effects on it, too," Cartland said.

When performing in harmony, it may seem the band produces an almost overwhelming sound.

"At times it can sound like we're using [around] 10 instruments at once, when it's really just the five of us," Abdennabi said.

The group is also known to do cover songs, such as tracks by Pink Floyd, along with their own original pieces. Other times they cover artists like Tom Petty or Ben Harper.

"It's good for the audience and good for the band to have a good time," Cartland said.
- The Daily Vidette


Love Free Work (2006)
Wrecking Ball (2007)



Gunslinger's Dream was born in 2003 when Chai, Mike, Gordon and a keyboard player began holding regular rehearsals and gigs under the name Orpheus. Simultaneously, Chai and Tim were writing songs and rehearsing as an acoustic project. Orpheus needed a singer and Tim needed a band. It was the fall of 2004 when the two came together. With the meshing of the two projects, it was clear that Orpheus no longer described the mission. Gunslinger's Dream was officially in full swing.

All of the band members met at Illinois State University in Bloomington/Normal, Illinois. Trying to knock out some degrees and keeping a band running at capacity was tough. After some grueling school work and some long all-nighters, all the members graduated with degrees ranging from theater to media to business and back again.

After school, Gunslinger's Dream looked around to find they had built a pretty steady fan base in the Bloomington area. Their jam/rock/funk style was well-received by the college population. Feeling the momentum, they set their target on Chicago. All of the members were from the Chicagoland area which made the transition easy. But it wasn't as easy as it could have been.

In the winter of 2005/2006, as the members were gearing up to move back home, the keyboard player decided he had other ventures that he wished to pursue. Losing one of the main songwriters was a gut check for the band. Questions surfaced about the longevity of the band and the direction Gunslinger's Dream was going to follow. They had just laid down tracks for an EP entitled "Love Free Work" with the keyboard player. Without him, what was next?

Early in 2006, Gunslinger's Dream, with Hedroom Productions, played a show in Des Plaines at a bar called Excuses. It was quite a party. They had originally cancelled the show because of the loss of the member, but were reinstated at the last minute due to the cancellation of another band. The show could not have gone better. The sound worked: the originals, the covers, the crowd and the band. It all came together like it should. It was then and there that Chai, Mike, Tim and Gordon reopened their big dreams.

A consistent gig schedule would follow but some things needed to be addressed. The set list was looking pretty slim after the keyboard player left with his songs. 2006 held room for growth. Gunslinger's Dream had a new sound without the organ/piano. It was a sound that was based on their original concepts but was evolving into something better.

This concept is a mixture of upbeat and danceable rock with reggae and house. The music surrounds a positive vibe with lyrics that not only pose questions and problems, but attempt to come to conclusions and solutions. Socially conscious, but down to earth, Gunslinger's Dream is a democratic process that yields "real" songs. After writing numerous songs throughout the winter and spring, they decided to take that new sound back to the studio.

Gunslinger's Dream flew in producer Brandon Hickey from his job as an instructor at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Tempe, Arizona. They met at Studio Chicago for a weekend and squeezed out four more songs. Sitting in on percussion was a friend of Gordon’s. He goes by the name Peter Yee. Things were clicking together. The intense, non-stop work paid off with an album entitled "Wrecking Ball."

Armed with a beefed up set list, new covers, a new album and ambitious goals, Gunslinger’s Dream stands poised to make some waves from that “tiny” speck on the map known as Chicago, Illinois. 2007 promises to be exciting. Don’t be surprised if they show up in a town near you. Just look for the white mini-van with wood paneling that is falling off :)

“Where’d you get that name from?”

Chai and Tim were browsing a local music store in Bloomington when they got to talking to an associate about the blues. The employee was a drummer himself and he complained that the blues were boring for him because he played the same thing over and over. Debatable, yes, but it was what he said afterwards that stuck. Referring to guitar players, he said, “But the blues are a gunslinger’s dream.”