The Gardes
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The Gardes

Band Rock Avant-garde


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"En Gardes!"

"Wide-ranging in their tastes, laid-back
multi-instrumentalists and Oklahoma natives The Gardes never rest in their search for new sounds." by Timothy Bradford

Syd Barrett, Woody Guthrie, The Velvet Underground and Smoky Robinson- The Gardes count an eclectic host of musicians among their influences, all while keeping their ears open for new ones.
"(Bassist) Tanner (Longhway) took his ukulele the other day and was trading licks with this old guy. That sort of stuff comes into our music," said guitarist Aaron Siemers.
"We use a lot more instruments than are listed (on our Web site)," added Longhway, such as the trombone, glockenspiel and accordion.
Although guitarist Brett Horton has used the name "The Gardes" for all of his various bands since high school, the current quartet is merely months old. But this newest incarnation balances itself well, and all its members act as vocalists.
Drummer Jim Gorton said, "We're constantly checking the other members. We get to a point where someone says, 'That's ridiculous,' and most everyone agrees."
Given that their song "I Want To Start A Fire" features a vibrato vocal version of the Oscar Mayer commercial jingle, The Gardes' point of 'that's ridiculous' may lie outside that of other groups, but this marks part of their appeal.
Their driving bass, snare-dominated drums and multiple-part harmonies- reminiscent of early Violent Femmes- also draw fans.
"Right now, we have a band, but not too many preconceptions about what we're doing," offered Horton.
Gorton used to be in rap and space-rock groups, Longhway played in a bluegrass act and Siemers recalled a former group called the Livers that included Horton. And as in an ideal democracy, all of the voices have a say since they all write lyrics and compose music.
"Everyone shows up with different ideas and parts, and if it all works together, we keep it. If not, it goes on our solo albums," said Siemers.
The Gardes have recorded several albums, but only Horton and Siemers appeared with these earlier manifestations. The current group, in addition to playing shows from Norman to New York City, plans to record an album and work on a video or two in the near future.
But for now, the emphasis is on live shows, and despite the advantages of the Internet and Myspace, they still feel that posters, fliers and word of mouth backed up by great shows equal the best PR.
Live shows feature most of the members in suits, Longhway literally on his stand-up bass and Gorton venturing into the crowd with his trombone. Recent venues have included The Deli, Roxie's in Tahlequah, The Hi-Lo and Blue Moon on the Paseo. As for highlights, Gorton said, "They're all better than the one before."
Upcoming shows include Saturday at Blue Moon with It's Hysterical, Nov. 11 on The Strip in Stillwater and Nov. 18 at Roxie's.
In this age of mega-labels and mega-money in the music world, The Gardes keep a refreshingly downbeat attitude toward their music. Making a living off their music isn't the point; living to make music is.
Said Gorton, "I just want to satisfy people every time I play. I don't care if I make money."
"Our music speaks for itself," added Siemers. "We want to make people shake their asses."
- Oklahoma Gazette

"The Gardes"

Recorded in a whirlwind of live takes at Bell Labs in Norman, The Gardes is a refreshingly vintage foray into 1960's Brit-pop-rock, minus actually being British. Because of the blaringly evident influence of another era, the sound falls just short of sounding like a retro novelty act (erring on the side of good). The record's cutest moments, like the pulsing vocals of "The Reason," are also its best. The band abates the risk of confusion about intent by not straying too far from the formula, and the sloppiness of the tracks is dead-on. A little repetitive, perhaps, but all in all an entertaining listen. - Boyd Street Magazine

"The Gardes/Self-Titled/Willie Cry Records"

In the ever-changing world of music it seems more and more that musicians are gaining notoriety by what would have seemed like unorthodox methods just a few years ago. With the simple click of a button, people can enter the World Wide Web and listen to hundreds of thousands of artists they have never seen nor heard of before. Because of this, musicians are able to control more, if not all of the musical creativity that goes into their albums. While this may not be the entire case for the Ponca City indie-pop outfit the Gardes, this definitely helps.
On their latest album, aptly named The Gardes, these four young men offer up a list of 12 songs that will force you to ask yourself the question, "How have I not heard of these guys?" The Gardes are made up of Brett Horton, Aaron Siemers, Tanner Blair and Jim Gorton, and between the four of them a sound is created that is sometimes reminiscent of Dylan, other times late 60s country rock or oddly enough something that could have been inspired by a street musician somewhere in the Ukraine. This may sound like an odd mixture of musical ingredients, but these guys somehow bring it all together into a crowd pleasing sound that is entirely their own.
This disc features an array of vastly different and equally interesting songs that you can't help but want to dance to. For example, the kazoo laden polka number "Pyromania Is For Lovers" will have you laughing with warbling lyrics like, "I wanna start a fire in your pinky toe, so we can take it fast and not slow." The tune also features a remarkable homage to the Oscar Mayer commercial we all grew up loving during the bridge of the song.
Another stand out song, "Hands Keep Running Around," laments the stress of the fast forward world we are all living in with lyrics like "Seems like I've been moving so fast that I keep coming in last." I think we can all relate to that. The album closes with a heart warming ditty entitled "Stay Close To Your Roots." It's a poppy homage that seems to be inspired by the likes of Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. The song conveys a message about having the guts to go out into the world and explore, while always keeping the presence of mind to remember and honor where you came from.
Every song on the disc is relatable to the day to day things we all feel and makes it seem like it was made just for you. - The Current

"Gig Review"

"The Gardes don't seem to care about rules, structures, procedures or any of those mechanical, bureaucratic ways of living. Either that or their ambition is a deadly weapon that shouldn't be legal in this country... "Legends Of Voddville" is as intriguing as it is flawed, as promising as it is incomplete, as brilliant as it is awkward, and as ambitious as it is restrained. The Gardes are experimenting with everything from Spector's Wall of Sound to Bowie's "Stardust" era theatrics to Velvet Underground's garage sound for a totally incomprehensible work of twisted experimental art rock... [The album] is sloppily littered with irreverent pranks... They're pranks because as dark as this record may try to be, it's all in grand fun. It may even be one big hoax. You just can't tell.
The most telling point of the disc comes during "Intermission," when a female voice asks, "What kind of show is this?" - The Daily O'Collegian

"Willie Cry Boys..."

Spread the work of Brett Horton across a table and you won’t see the same personality twice. He’s a musician, author, illustrator, filmmaker and prankster. When Horton started his own record label just months ago, he added yet another ball to an already dizzying juggling act.

Willie Cry Records, the brainchild of Horton and friend Lance Grover, is really more a coterie than a record label. For years, Horton and Grover strove to find a way to bring together the diverse talents of their friends. “We really just wanted a stamp to put on our own work,” says Horton.

With independent record labels popping up and burning out like fireflies on a summer night, many struggle to succeed. But the definition of success is largely in the eye of the beholder. For Willie Cry Records, being visible on the local/regional musical landscape was always the true goal. They aren’t clawing for national attention. In fact, they aren’t looking for validation from anyone but themselves, which makes Willie Cry a refreshingly pure endeavor.

Both Horton and Grover are native Oklahomans with deep roots in Ponca City, the oft-forgotten town where the ‘Twenties Still Roar.’ They refer to it affectionately as ‘Ponca’ and speak of the city more like a friend than a place on the lonely prairie.

The name of their record label is taken from a play, “The Gift of Willie Cry”, written by Earl Sutton, who happens to be Horton’s life long neighbor and family friend. Willie Cry, Horton explains, is an important figure in Ponca City history. He was purportedly the first Indian to lease his land to eager white settlers seeking to tap into the vast oil reserves below tribal lands.

The result would permanently transform the Ponca City area, opening the floodgates for the great Oil Boom, which brought highfalutin American culture to the city’s doorstep with outlandish parties, wild new music, and the influence of Vaudeville. Whether it is conscious or not, the identity of their hometown undeniably shapes the music and art of Horton and Grover.

The list of their projects is frenetic and multifaceted. It’s no exaggeration to say that the guys of Willie Cry fly by the seat of their pants. In talking with them, one realizes that their history has been written by the twists of happenstance, and sometimes just dumb luck. Take for example, one of their first bands together, Rock Party.

“We knew it was a stupid name,” says Grover, with a mischievous gleam in his eye, “and we were really bad at the time.” They decided to experiment and see how poorly they could play and still draw a crowd. What began in jest ended up taking on a life of its own.

Soon, Rock Party was playing for packed crowds as the house band for the ‘V’ in Ponca City, when a sponsorship from Coors fell into their lap. “They brought in the Coors Light girls and everything,” says Grover with incredulous self-satisfaction. The ‘V’ was really the local VFW that had been annexed by a drove of young hipsters.

It was then that the trail of serendipitous successes began. A short film they made several years ago entitled “The Night They Dropped It” once surfaced in an Austin screening room to a receptive audience, unbeknownst to both Horton and Grover. The only copy had disappeared years earlier in the clutches of sticky-fingered pals. “Our friends steal our things,” says Horton with a shrug and a laugh. There are no hard feelings about it - that’s just the way they operate.

A synergistic energy drives them to perpetually reinvent themselves. When their body of work is examined as a whole, it seems purposefully disparate. But nothing could be further from the truth. “We don’t sit down and say ‘Let’s do something different’. We just do what we like to do,” says Grover.

And what they like to do is change - constantly. They’ve been pop-rockers, pranksters, actors, philosopher-poets, and even vaudeville showmen. The catalog of their oddball experiments grows almost daily.

“We used to sit at the Cornerstone café,” a local greasy spoon in Ponca City, “and get hopped up on coffee,” says Grover. There they would share wild ideas and weird stories. At one of these rap sessions, Horton proposed an elaborate rock show performed with mock-vaudevillian spectacle, theatrics and song. “It got so big that we couldn't possibly pull it off live," says Grover.

But the concept lived, eventually becoming the album ‘Legends of Voddville’ by Horton and Grover’s band, The Gardes. Listening to this 2003 release from Willie Cry Records conjures images of Horton and Grover at the turn of the century, peddling elixir in shabby pin striped tuxedos with big bushy mustaches curled into handlebars. You see them gripping megaphones and prancing about the town square. One of the tracks in the recording sessions captures them in a fight scene with a sword and a microphone stand.

The newest release from Willie Cry Records deserves more than a cursory look. It is a compila - Urban Tulsa Weekly (2004)


The Gardes- (self-titled, b & w released 2007, color version released 2008, self-produced, recorded at Bell Lab)
The Gardes In Their 1st Full-Length EP (released 2007, self-produced, released at Momentum 2007)
Songs have received airplay on Noncast Radio, OKC, KSPI, Stillwater, OK, Indy Pop Rocks, Soma FM, San Francisco, Introducing... w/ Tom Robinson, BBC, Eng, etc.
There have been limited edition releases as the Gardes since 2002, including Legends Of Voddville, O My Garde!, Regardeless 1 and Regardeless Dos.



The Gardes is a band of multi-instrumentalists hailing from Oklahoma. The group was named in late 2002 with the limited edition release of Legends of Voddville, on its own fledgling record label. Both the group and the label were founded by Brett Horton, and they have released several ltd. edition albums and have produced a movie and its sound-track. There has been a changing roster of musical friends since its beginning, yet Aaron Siemers joined as a chief collaborator and mainstay soon after its conception. 2006 saw the addition of Tanner Blair and Jim Gorton. This latest incarnation self-produced an E.P. and recorded an album (self-titled) with Trent Bell, of the Chainsaw Kittens, in his studio in Norman. They've toured the region extensively, members have performed coast to coast, and they're currently seeking the support of a coastal-based record label for future releases, touring and possible reissues of the back catalogue. The group is a fixture on the burgeoning Oklahoma music scene along with bands such as the Evangelicals, Colourmusic, Starlight Mints, Ghost of Monkshood, Kunek (now called Other Lives), etc. NonCast Media of Oklahoma City named them the Best of 2007, and songs from their latest album have been played on various outlets such as Soma FM from San Francisco and the BBC. The Gardes are looking to expand horizons.