‘Part 1 Privilege’ is the new album from Californian based fuzzy retro classic rockers GERS RACING. Vintage classic rock, rich in diversity, fun energy and passion and sometimes eccentric, think Wishbone Ash, Hendrix, Man with a retro vibe a’la The Doors. I chatted with the slightly nutty bassist and harpist Gers to find out more. It started off with a journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step, and so it began, from the womb to the tomb Gers was nursed on music. After a couple of seconds, minutes, hours, etc. Gers was fully absorbed and indoctrinated, taking professional lessons on the piano, accordion, harmonica, bass guitar and vocals from great classical and jazz music Master teachers; Peter Kova, straight from the old country. ‘Austria taught me classical. Also, my Grandfather’s brother was President of Musician’s Local 802 New York City and he was Al Jolson’s trumpet player. We called him Uncle Abe but his real name was Arthur Feman. He taught me music and made origami pterodactyls (dinosaurs), you know, pull the tail the wings would flap and the head would move,’ he says. Books also influenced the man. ‘My books were one hundred years old, Hanon and Czerny, and by the age of five I was known as ‘Little Mozart’ playing Tchaikovsky, Rimsky Korsakoff, Brahms, Beethoven, Vivaldi and Wagner. Practice was forty five minutes three times a day. I started out at first with whole notes and then progressed to one hundred and twenty-eighth notes, per square inch where there was just one. By age of five, the pages were black with notes and I was a fully-fledged classical musician,’ he says. Later on in life, his parents complained about him being a musician. ‘You know, ‘why don’t you get a job’? I told them, ‘you created the beast; now learn to live with him’. By the age of thirteen I was already recording, I knew all the rules so I threw away the books, and was writing songs. My Universe was all tuned up; My ‘A’-note was vibrating at 440 vibrations per second,’ he smiles.
Gers learned the basic principles of music. ‘Pythagoras of Ancient Greece 580 B.C. discovered the principles of the diatonic scale and the correct measurement of music intervals or spaces called ‘The Music of the Spheres’. Pythagoras established music as an exact science. He was the first to come upon the theory that the whole universe was one big musical instrument and could be tuned up as such. Every note or string could be tuned up to vibrate at a different frequency per second and the vibration of one would affect another, like ripples on the water. If I pick up a grain of sand on the beach and move it I change the world. The world, planets and galaxies, in fact the whole cosmos was all tuned up to an exacting frequency. The human body was considered to be a sounding board and every organ could be affected by different notes. When creating music or songs the notes could literally be pulled from different patterns, shapes or colors in nature. For instance if you see the lights at night on a hillside you would follow that same pattern on the strings of your guitar or copy the outline of the skyscrapers plotting them, using your strings and frets as a graph; if you see it, you can play it. The different patterns or shapes can also be transposed to lines on a music staff as notes. Being raised in a Norse and Teutonic family I soon learned my Viking Sagas. As the Great grandson of a ‘High Priest’ I was taught the importance and curios lore of the twelve precious gems and stones worn in the Breastplate by the High Priest. I knew the magnetic ‘Flashing Color Language’ used to answer questions, meditating on the all-encompassing colors in my mind’s eye, and visualizing them like colored glass thinking Yellow, Green, Amethyst and Red. If you play the game of delving into the unknown it is wise to back up your wisdom from within with book learning or knowledge so as to bolster up or confirm what you already feel. Ignorance or the law won’t help you,’ he says.
Ellington Erin (lead singer) used to be actor Sal Mineo’s houseboy. He moved on to the Broadway production of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’. Off and on Broadway for two years.
Gers, bass guitar, harp (harmonica), songwriter, backing vocals and engineer has been awarded gold albums with Warner Bros., Polydor, Barclay and Track Records. He has recorded with Jimi Hendrix on ‘Cry of Love’ album. Mainstay of group, ‘Umble yet ‘eavy. ‘Bass Player of the gods’.
He was born in Southern England and has played and jammed with Dylan, Lovin’ Spoonful, Cream, James Cotton, Muddy Waters, Jimmy James & the Flames, Jimi Hendrix, among others. He split to England, met up with Jimi again and recorded several albums with him, the most famous ‘Cry of Love’. When Jimi left us, Gers formed a group with Mitch Mitchell, played Speakeasy, Roundhouse Country Club, Marquee, etc. 3 - Piece Power Band. He then played with Jack Bruce, Dick Heckstall Smith, Chris Farlowe, Buddy Miles, Felix Parpalardi and Elvin Bishop. Gers then made the organic scene in Mill Valley where he teamed up with the S.F. Sound Makers, Boz Skaggs, Bishop, John Mayall, etc. Split to Jamaica, learned beats mon, and came back reggae oriented with a ska bass beat unduplicated by none. Gers, a living legend, surviving 2 near fatal car crashes, from the Fillmore West to Surrey England. ‘Goal in life: to be one of the privileged,’ he adds.
Tim Gedemer (lead guitar) was born and raised in the Valley (sun and death). He picked up an $18 guitar after seeing Dylan in ‘Don’t Look Back’ and idolized his older brother (lead singer) who died in a motorcycle accident. Tim Jumped into the L.A. session scene, played with nearly everyone, Spirit, R&B, Seeds, you name it he played it. Spent summers in mountains, winters in studios. ‘Better acoustics in caves.’ ‘He keeps Gers Racing honest, but watch out for shady brown eyes,’ laughs Gers.
Bruce Ginsberg (drummer, backing vocals) ‘Mr. Personality’ was born in NYC. He played for Motown, Atlantic and Roulette Records and has gigged with, Thin Lizzy, Rory Gallagher, etc...
The CD was recorded at Warner Bros. N. Hollywood and at Hollywood and Western Studios in the heart of Hollywood California. It was produced by Gers and the process took a couple months and it was recorded live with no overdubs. For the future the band are currently recording and are halfway through their second album. Keep updated with all things Gers Racing at www.gersracing.com
2013 MAR-APR ISSUE 56 FIREWORKS