Gas House Gorillas to play at StreetMusic in Port Royal

jpaprocki@islandpacket.comAugust 8, 2012 

  • Gas House Gorillas play at 6 p.m. Aug. 11 at Street Music on Paris Avenue in Port Royal. The outdoor concert is free. Details: www.beaufortcountyarts.com

Expect the usual high-energy show from the Gas House Gorillas when they play Street Music on Paris Avenue on Aug. 11 except for one notable exception -- no cussing.

"The thing with outdoor shows is that we have to watch our language," said lead man Rick Fink with a laugh. "When we work clubs we usually get pretty blue."

The Gas House Gorillas, named after the villainous baseball team in the old Bugs Bunny cartoon, are a throwback of sorts, a mix of rockabilly, jump blues and punk rock. The sound is unique to the East Coast, Fink says. He's heard West Coast bands with a similar style but more laid back.

"We play a bit more hyped up. It's like New York City, a bit in your face," he said.

Fink first formed the group about 10 years ago. He'd been a rock singer most of his life, touring with alternative bands throughout the '90s and even getting signed to Sony for a short time. But he'd always had an affinity to the older sounds of jump blues, the up-tempo sound associated with names like Louis Jordan and Big Joe Turner.

When he was younger, he dreamed of starting a big band and playing swing jazz.

"I thought I'd do it when I got a bit older and long in the tooth," he said. "But it just wasn't feasible financially."

Instead, he gathered together a guitarist, upright bass player, drummer and saxophonist and took the lead on vocals. They fiddled with their sound for a while before finally falling into their throwback groove. Before long, they became "God's favorite rhythm and blues band" (self-proclaimed, of course).

Members have come and gone, but the Gorillas remain intact, largely playing the Northeast and a bit into the Midwest. Street Music will be their first visit to South Carolina. They're trying to keep it clean on stage, but that's about all they'll hold back, Fink said.

"We basically attack the audience when we get on stage," he said. "People respond to that."

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