"It’s really happening,” says Marvin P. Goldstein, when asked about the upcoming Gizmos World Tour. To everyone who saw the news on Kickstarter or Facebook, this much seems obvious (GOAL ACHIEVED!), but to the dedicated few who made the tour happen, the reality of the reunion is still sinking in. This is, after all, the first, the wildest, the greatest punk rock band ever to come outta Indiana, and after years of trying the get them back together, they’re coming home in June.
The reunion couldn’t have happened without Max Demata. A scholar from Italy who’s studied the work of Lord Byron as well as the gospel of Gulcher Magazine, Max had networked with Gizmo Kenne Highland and loved the idea of seeing the band reunite while he was stateside. At one point he even offered to drive to Boston to bring Highland back to the Gulch. He started a Facebook page to promote the idea of the reunion, people started to react, and that’s when Marvin P Goldstein decided this might actually be the moment when it happens. So he worked his magic hustle, and now the funds are raised and the shows are hyped. Instead of being the band’s chauffeur, Max will step in as the bass player – a fan’s dream.
Visualize the founding fathers of punk: Joey in leather, Richard Hell’s safety pins, needle-in-your-arm Johnnys, etc. Now, look at the Gizmos in their original line-up: zine-writers and metal-heads who had this brilliant idea – “let’s make a punk record!” – just because no one else was making sounds as wild as what they wanted to hear. Fanzines like Bomp!, Crawdaddy and Back Door Man had been begging for years for someone to restore rock’n’roll to its original simplicity and nastiness, and by 1976 that message hadn’t moved far beyond the world of zine-writers. It took a garageful of Midwestern freaks to do it. The band was essentially a studio group, put together to record raw novelties like “Muff Divin’” and “Chicken Queen,” with lyrics by Highland and fellow Gulcher magazine writer Eddie Flowers. They only played three shows in their original run, but they imprinted punk culture with one of its enduring archetypes: obsessive rock fans who did it themselves because it had to be done. Personally, I can’t wait to shake all their hands and pester them about their zine collections and partying with Richard Meltzer and all that back-in-the-day shit.
So IT’S HAPPENING! Kicking off in their hometown of Bloomington June 12th at the Bishop. Kenne Highland, Eddie Flowers, Ted Niemic and Rich Coffee of the original 1976 lineup will be there. Max Demata, John Terrill (Dancing Cigarettes, Walking Ruins) and Ian Brewer (the Panics, Walking Ruins) will be there, filling out the rhythm section. Bob Gulcher might even be there. If all these boys remember how to misbehave (and I think they do), it’s gonna be a crazy time.
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