Kurt Gunn
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Kurt Gunn

Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States

Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States
Band Folk Acoustic

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Music

The best kept secret in music

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Food for Thought -Drink Up -Retail Therapy -Look and Feel -Mic Check

COMMONPLACE

There was a time in music when rock stars looked like rock stars. Since the grunge era in the early 90s, the definition of a rock star
changed a little. It was less about the image, and more about the music. There was more of a connection to be made by being just
like your fans.

Commonplace may seem like one of those regular-guy bands because they are. When you walk into Nubby’s in De Pere to see
them play, you’re hard pressed to pick them out of a crowd. Led by frontman Kurt Gunn, Commonplace is a four-piece jam band that
has made a name for themselves in the area by playing live shows anywhere there is a stage and fans of music to enjoy it. They play
what Gunn describes as feel-good music - rock fused with reggae and Beatles influences.

Days away from beginning the recording of their first CD and only minutes away from performing their show for the night, the
members of the band were not letting on that just days before, the lead guitarist and the other founding member of the band had
parted ways with the group. “It was just a difference of opinions,” says drummer Troy Haumschild with a shrug. “There are a lot of
schedules, and if everyone’s not on board with the sacrifices that have to be made, that’s where problems arise.” So Andy Holzom,
a longtime friend and former band mate of bassist Josh Lanaville was invited to join the stage with the guys just days before they
were set to start recording their first CD.

While one may think the change in roster would have hindered the band’s progress or at least affected their momentum, it
turns out the change was indeed for the best. “After just one practice together, we were able to develop a creative process,” says
Haumschild, “and it worked really, really well.” Lanaville agrees, adding, “It’s really exciting because it’s something that, as a
group, we hadn’t experienced yet – being able to move that quickly and efficiently.”




The smooth transition was essential for Commonplace to not lose
any ground as they wrap up their current show schedule before
the recording begins. “The weekend of the 15th (of December),
we’ll start the framework for it,” says Gunn. They’ll be recording
with local independent label Laidback Manor Productions, who
will be bringing the portable studio into Haumschild’s house.
“We’re shutting down my house, moving everything to the
corners and filling the house full of equipment,” he says with
a laugh. The first session will be laying down the fundamentals
of the tracks, and they will add layers as needed. “We’ve got a
lot of friends that are going to be helping us out, so it should be
awesome,” Gunn suggests.

During their time in the makeshift studio, live shows will
take a bit of a backseat – though it’s doubtful that they will be
gone for long. In 2006, they performed what Gunn estimates to
be about 56 or 57 shows. While the grind of live performances
will continue into 2007, they hope the locations will vary. “We
want to go out of town more,” says Lanaville, “branch out and
expand to different places.” Haumschild ties that desire to the
importance of the CD, saying “Milwaukee and Madison, they
want a CD, and if you don’t have one, they won’t even talk to
you.”

“You can pick out a band that
works hard, and you can pick
out a band that just works.”
- Troy
And the CD will indeed give club owners an idea of what to
expect, while offering their fans an opportunity to extend the
experience of the live show itself. “We take a lot of pride in the
live show, so I think we’re all united in that we want to have that
aspect on the recording,” says Lanaville. “Obviously it’s the studio, so it’s going to be a bit more produced, with tricks thrown
in that you can’t do live, but…”

With the CD in hand, the band hopes to get their foot in
doors that may not have previously been opened for them. Being
a product of the area, they see the music scene and are certain
it’s going places, but that it’s not where it truly needs to be.
“There’s a lack of original bands with original songs out there,”
says Gunn, showing a slight sign of frustration. “In Green Bay,
you’re not going to see a band play their own songs.” Lanaville
chimes in, suggesting that “It’s a tough shell to crack. There’s
a conscious among everybody that the bar scene around here
is like bar scenes across the country.” He continues, saying “To
deliver a original stage show around here is tough, but there’s a
lot of progress being made and people who are starting to gain a
lot of respect for that.”

If their work ethic seems familiar, it’s because it is one
that matches many of the musicians that inspire each of them.
“Black Crowes have always been the model that I like in terms of
how hard they work, how hard they play - and that affects how
good they sound,” says Haumschild. “You can pick out a band
that works hard, and yo - Deluxe 920



By Thomas Rozwadowski
trozwado@greenbaypressgazette.com

Members: Kurt Gunn, vocals/ rhythm guitar; Brad Bordini, lead guitar/vocals/djembe/ mandolin; Joshua Lanaville, bass/vocals; Aaron Deno, hand percussion


Quick history: Commonplace, at least in name, dates back to 1995 when Green Bay Southwest graduates Gunn and Bordini began playing with a full band at local colleges and bars. The original group lasted roughly two years before shifting its focus elsewhere. After Bordini moved back to Green Bay in 2004, he and Gunn reunited to play two-man acoustic shows. Lanaville and Deno jumped on board during the last three months by way of informal sessions at venues like BrewBakers Pub and IQ's.


Sound/influence: "Dave Matthews meets O.A.R. meets The Beatles meets Jane's Addiction …" said Bordini. If that's a lot of "meets," it's because Commonplace isn't bound by a specific genre. The band has been known to kick a 10-minute jam from time-to-time, but they're more interested in playing originals or spinning covers with their "own sound."


"We never play a cover note for note," Gunn said. "What we'll do on, say O.A.R.'s "Crazy Game of Poker" is mix it into Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry." Or we'll take (Marley's) "Stir It Up" and it'll blend into an original jam we do … or again, something like Sublime's "What I Got" with "Ants Marching" (by Dave Matthews Band) lyrics over the top."


Set list sampler: A healthy mix of covers and originals, with the band hoping to release a CD of live material later this year. One of Gunn and Bordini's favorite originals is "5th and Water," a testimonial about good times at an Eau Claire bar called Camaraderie. Covers range from Marley and O.A.R. to Men At Work's "Down Under" and Jack Johnson's "Bubble Toes." Oh, and you can always count on at least one Dave Matthews Band tune.


Why a full band and not just the two-man act: "We didn't take out ads to find a full band or anything," Gunn said. "It was a situation where four friends with the same philosophy on music were able to come together. It absolutely had to be a perfect fit, and because of that, it feels like we're just hanging out as buddies when we play."


"The two-man stuff can be pretty exhausting after awhile. Now we have a lot more freedom to play and improvise," Bordini added. "One of the things we wanted to do was get the music scene going around (Green Bay). We don't want it to be about getting hammered at the bar, or driving to Appleton to catch a really good show. We want people to be into good music right here."


What the band is listening to: The Beatles, Dispatch, Jimmy Cliff, George Harrison


About those drums: The band doesn't use a full drum kit. Instead, Deno makes his own with animal hides.


What to expect from the live show: "People keep telling us that they like the fullness of our sound," Bordini said. "I think we've really reinvented ourselves. Kurt and I have opened up to a lot of stuff that we just couldn't do without the full band."


Upcoming gigs: 10 p.m. Sunday at The Abbey Bar, 303 Reid St., De Pere; 10 p.m. June 1 at BrewBakers Pub, 209 N. Washington St., Green Bay; and June 9 at The Fillmore Pub, 217 N. Washington St., Green Bay


Online: http://myspace.com/commonplacegb


























- Green Bay Press Gazette


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

A late starter compared to other guitarists, Kurt has feverishly worked at creating his own style over the years. He incorporates rhythmic strumming with heartfelt lyrics that consistently build with intensity. He writes to tell a story, something that fans can relate to, whether interpreted literally or symbolically. His lyrics have been compared to that of Adam Duritz (Counting Crows), Dave Matthews (Dave Matthews Band), and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie). Kurt’s raspy voice is captivating and through it spills incredible passion and emotion. He sings as though his lyrical stories are happening for the first time.