I’ve Been Here Awhile- Dave Gutter Interview By: Rob Smittix

Written by on October 6, 2021

Photo Credit -Kaitlyn Gradie

You may know him as the front man from Rustic Overtones, you may know him from Paranoid Social Club, you may have seen him perform with his band Armies or perhaps even laying down his hip hop stylings with Beards. But you haven’t heard Dave Gutter solo, until now! His solo EP entitled I’ve Been Here Awhile along with a theatrical nearly seventeen minute long video has recently been released. 

RRX: You recently released your first solo project. 

DG: Yeah, it’s weird because I’ve worked with all kinds of people on all kinds of stuff but I realized that I’ve never done a song that was just me. It was always me and somebody else. When you bounce an idea off somebody else it kind of validates it because you share the idea together. When you are doing it by yourself, you’re just wrapped with doubt. It’s a whole different thing. 

This record, I wrote and came up with a concept for it when I had COVID. I wrote this because as soon as the news got out that I had COVID people that I didn’t even know still had my number from like 20 years ago were calling me and were like; just want you to know you’ve really made us proud and you’re a great guy. And I was like woah… people think I’m going to die! Although they were concerned, it’s a little insulting. I started thinking about it and well… this is the perception; I’m getting older and entering into this next phase. I got the feeling I wanted to do something that was really honest. A breath of fresh air in contrast to everyone living their lives through social media, everything is edited, everything is filtered, you just see what they want you to see. I wanted to create a window to where I’m at right now. It was both self-deprecating and confident at the same time. You know that flaws and all, that’s kind of what spawned doing the record by myself. Although I had a little bit of help from Bensbeendead and the original Rustic drummer Tony Mcnaboe, he didn’t actually play drums on any of it, he played piano on one song and Jamie Colpoys from Rustic plays trombone on the last track. Other than that, all the keys, all the drums sequencing, and all of that stuff was all done by me. 

RRX: I know almost pretty much all your musical projects have Jon Roods on the bass. So that must’ve been weird without him. Was he working on another project at the same time?

DG: Yeah, him and his girlfriend are doing like a family band thing with one of their friends. But it was mostly because I was quarantined and I wasn’t seeing anybody. I really didn’t want to wait around like oh when the pandemic is over I can get somebody to play drums for me or when it’s over I can get someone to play bass. I didn’t have any gigs so it was a great thing to focus on. A lot of the imagery for the video, the artwork, the whole thing was conceived at the same time. 

RRX: I love that you released the EP with a video attached to it. And not just for one song but all the songs.

DG: Yeah, I got a theatre and a mic guy and a camera girl and I just thought of these connotations for each song and what they are meant to be. I ordered costumes and set up five different scenes at the theatre and for seventeen minutes straight had to change outfits and be entertaining. It was super fun to do.

RRX: You can tell you were enjoying yourself.

DG: Because of the honesty behind it, I never had imposter syndrome at any point. I’m just writing 100% about me. I just felt like what I am doing is real. 

RRX: So, this EP is released digitally only right now? 

DG: Yeah, well it’s part of a series I’m going to be doing. I’ll be doing a bunch of albums that will be visual EP’s.

RRX: Oh wow, okay so there’s more of this coming.

DG: Exactly, in a few months or whatever I’m still conceptualizing all the ways I want to lay it out. I’m going to make videos for every song. I think the next one might be about body image, just trying to do stuff that is very human. If I do it solo there’s less stuff, you know? With Rustic, we’re seven guys and a wall of sound but sometimes a poignant lyric or a turn of phrase can get lost in the sonic boom. So it’s kind of fun to peel it back a little bit and make it about the lyrics. 

RRX: Totally. And… of course I have to mention Dave Noyes. I’m not going to say celebrity but there were two people that were known to me in my world that really affected me in their passing. One was Anthony Bourdain and the other Dave Noyes. I didn’t even know Dave personally but because I latched onto the band for so long, it hurt. I was one of the first people that caught the stream of The Lucky Ones which was a phenomenal tribute to your trombonist. I also can’t watch the video for The Gov’t Shutdown without tearing up. Kind of like happy tears, you know?

DG: Yeah I know, that was the thing about Dave’s death. I think all of us who knew him very well were just waiting for him to mess up, like he can’t be this perfect, he must be messing up when we’re not around. He must be shady when we’re not around, he must be dishonest to somebody. When he passes all of a sudden it comes rushing in like this guy is a perfect human, he was fair, he was honest, he was real and he was passionate. Not that I ever overlooked Dave’s talent or his super niceness, he was always so consistent. It really sunk in, in a profound way when he passed the influence he had on people. He played a range of horns on the last Whitney Houston album and didn’t even tell anybody. He was so humble. 

RRX: Wow. If I found myself in that situation, I wouldn’t be bragging but I’d have to share with my bandmates.

DG: I’d be flexing like crazy! 

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