By Christine Leonard
CANADA – It may be hippie slang for a bad time, but don’t be fooled. Bummer is the best bad time you’ll ever have. “We’re a different kind of fun, I guess,” estimates the band’s bass player Mike Gustafson. For the threesome, who calls Kansas City, Missouri their hometown, setting themselves apart from the crowd is an ongoing pursuit.
“I’ve seen a lot of heavy metal bands; there’s so many styles of music out here it’s nuts. But there’s definitely a lot of heavy bands. In KC people know what they’re getting, everywhere else I think people don’t know what to expect. So, it’s always a pleasant surprise.“
Keeping fans in the dark when it comes to their influences, Bummer prefers to let rhythms and melodies come to them naturally.
“We’re all into so many types of music, it helps keep things from getting boring. When we first started the band we pretty much started jamming and that’s how we got it. Our guitarist is a jazz musician and our drummer loves hip hop. With the new record I’ve been hearing people can’t really pinpoint the style, which is good!”
Cutting their teeth with a pair of EPs Young Ben Franklin and Milk in 2013, Bummer landed hard in mid-2015 with the release of their crusty and caustic LP Spank. Loaded with six dense and brutal bullets, including “Infinite Witches” and “Double Stairway to Heaven,” Spank delivered on what their earlier attempts had promised. They had the formula, now all Bummer needed to do was sit tight and give themselves room to write.
“Boneheaded rock and roll. You can call it noise rock or progressive metal, I don’t care. I know people love genres and having stuff explained to them,” Gustafson muses. “I’d say Spank was more boneheaded. With the newer stuff it’s still metal-ly, but people have also noticed that it’s got some punk to it. When we write a song we’re not trying super hard to plan things out. We try to be spontaneous. The older we get the more pissed off we get, so i think that’s probably how it’s changed. Just a little bit more aggressive. Matt was 18, or 19, when Spank came out, we were all pretty young. He’s seen some shit since then, too.”
The newer stuff, Bummer’s Holy Terror (Learning Curve Records), was recently unleashed upon the world this past August. Some three years after the trio, comprised of Gustafson, drummer Sam Hutchinson and vocalist/guitarist Matt Perrin, delivered their scream-inducing Spank. Why the long wait? Gustafson takes full responsibility for running out the clock before returning to Westend Recording Studios to record Bummer’s latest album.
“Part of it is that I’m such a perfectionist; it gets annoying. Everyone i’ve ever been in a band with gets super pissed about how long it takes me,” he admits. “I throw out so many songs; that’s kinda the problem. It took so damn long, we all just wanted it to sound decent a least,” he continues. “We like it simple. We like short songs. I think the title Holy Terror fits with it. It’s short and sweet and hopefully gets the point across.”
While the time required to put a proper polish on their music was one concern, the quality of the content was another entirely. Running down a litany of complaints, Bummer found plenty of topics to explore and expose with Holy Terror. Whether poking fun at “stupid marijuana culture” on the tracks such as “Reefer Sadness” and “Fred Savage, 420” or dethroning heavy metal icons on “Dimebagged,” the group’s satirical lyricist Perrin treats all subjects with equal doses of contempt.
“We all know how crazy the world is right now. There’s just so much going on. We use the band as an outlet to let our anger out. We don’t want to be those guys who are punching holes in the wall and all that. If you’re angry pick up your guitar and beat the crap out of it. We’re trying to use our anger and put it into something that helps us our, or hopefully give people something good to listen to.”
Bummer performs with Mandible Klaw, GEOFF and Vanta November 10 at The Palomino (Calgary)Bummer, GEOFF, Kansas, Mandible Klaw, The Palomino, Vanta