Git Some isn’t just "that band that used to be from Chicago"
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You can’t get anywhere in life without a lot of hard work and a little luck. Denver’s Git Some has had both. Just as the foursome was trying to figure its next move following relentless touring on its debut, former Dead Kennedy Jello Biafra heard a snatch of the band’s music while hanging out at Wax Trax Records. When the band caught wind of the incident, it seized the opportunity and got in touch with Biafra’s Alternative Tentacles imprint, offering up a preview of its forthcoming Loose Control. The venerable punk rabble-rouser was as impressed with the new material as he was with his first exposure, and things fell neatly into place: Loose Control was released on Alternative Tentacles in late June, and Git Some will officially ring in the release this Saturday at the Rockaway Tavern. Drummer Andrew Lindstrom spoke with The A.V. Club about what it takes to break out of the confines of the Queen City.
The A.V. Club: People always reference how Git Some formed in Chicago then moved to Denver. Is that a valid reference considering how long the band’s been here and how much turnover there’s been in the lineup?
Andrew Lindstrom: I definitely think it’s a really valid reference point. When we write songs, Neil [Keener] will come in and start playing a riff that he might be tossing around, then I’ll come up with a drumbeat. Neil’s basslines are integral at the starting point, as the basic foundation [for the songs]. Since I’ve joined the band I’ve become enamored of the Chicago style of structuring a sound over the bass/drum kind of thing, bands like Jesus Lizard and groups that Steve Albini was involved with out of Chicago. But there’s also a lot of other stuff going on there. I know Neil is from Chicago, but he’s also gone out of his way to distance himself from that ultra-crunchy style of bass playing. He’s made his own variations on that school.
AVC: Git Some’s always been known for its visceral live shows. Do you still write songs with an ear to how they’ll play live?
AL: We don’t write songs just for a record. That was one of the things when I joined the band I wanted to emphasize as much as possible. I was coming out of being an improviser. Everything changes every time. Every venue sounds different. You feel different every day. I wanted consciously to emphasize spontaneity as much as possible. I make it a point to never play any Git Some song the same way twice. I think, initially in a rock band there was an element of “don’t jazz it up too much.” I can understand that. There’s a right way and a wrong way to be spontaneous in a rock setting.
AVC: Usually when you talk about bands that are improvisational, punk doesn’t come up in that discussion.
AL: That’s the big problem. I think that it’s been given a bad rap. Jam bands and things like that don’t help the cause. Improvisation is associated with endless dickering around, and the punk aesthetic encourages you to get to the point. The improviser who can on the spot get to the point while still jamming—that’s rare. Most improvisers are like, “I gotta get into my vibe. I gotta get into my thing, so we’re going to dick around a little bit.” The punk thing is right out of the gate, full-on all the way through. That’s hard to maintain if you’re an improviser. I’m not going up there and playing off the top of my head every night. There are structures, and I’m hitting them. We’re all hitting them. Whenever we have a window to add some little element to add something without fucking up the flow, we will. That takes a degree of training.
AVC: Does recording detract from an improvisational aesthetic or change the way audiences approach your music?
AL: The main song is still on the recording. The deviations that we make aren’t enough to change the emphasis of the song. It gives people a compass or a point of reference. You start to listen to a record a bunch of times, you start to get the fills that are there, or the runs, or this or that solo. Then you go to the performance and you have a point of reference to know that we’re still playing the songs as completely recognizable on the record, but you can hear all these variations.