STUDIO SESSIONS // Gentlemen Rogues (Danny's Solo Show)

In what should come as a surprise to no one, Austin has a very vibrant arts scene. Whether you're attending an exhibit opening at Big Medium, or passing by one of the colorful murals on our streets, you'll notice that there's no shortage of fantastic creative work! At Son of a Sailor, we’ve made it a bit of a mission to contribute the great community here in town. To make our mark, we’ve been hosting studio sessions in our shop, bringing local musicians together with local friends for fun, merriment, and a healthy dose of cocktails, of course.

See more photos from this event on our Facebook page
Our second studio session was a just a few weeks ago. On October 24, we gathered with friends and colleagues in our shop to enjoy the crisp fall air, some delicious cocktails courtesy of Treaty Oak, and a rollicking performance from Danny Dunlap, frontman of Austin band Gentlemen Rogues. Taking to our makeshift stage, Danny performed an intimate set of the sort of old-school power pop that can only come from a voice, an electric guitar, and a room of enthralled listeners. We captured a couple of our favorites on video for you to enjoy! (Thank you, Derrick!)

In our Studio Session tradition, I asked Danny about his background, his band, and his performances:

Where'd you grow up? How long have you lived in Austin?I did my time/grew up about 3 hours West of Austin, in a city called San Angelo, TX. I moved to Austin, almost immediately after we all “survived” Y2K. I remember the exact date...January 9th, 2000. I’ve grew up in San Angelo, but at this point, have lived in Austin almost as long as i lived there.

How would you describe the genre or sound of Gentlemen Rogues?
When people ask, “”What do you guys sound like?” I usually use the term “power-pop.” However, I find a lot of people don’t know what that term means, and maybe rightfully so? “Power-pop” is a term, coined in the late 70’s, used to describe guitar rock bands, with tons of hooks, melody, but didn’t quite deliver the aggression, traditionally associated with punk. Bands like The Plimsouls, Shoes, Flamin’ Groovies, The Nerves, The Raspberries, and Paul Collins Beat. I think, these days, power-pop’s definition has become a bit looser, and as much as I don’t think we sound like The Nerves, for example, I feel like we kinda do something in a similar vein. Also, there is definitely a punk “spirit,” to what we do in Gentlemen Rogues, but I wouldn’t call us a punk band, by any means. We are loud, aggressive, indie-rock, guitar-pop.

Who are your biggest musical influences?I can’t necessarily speak for everyone in the band, but I think that I can safely say that we all like a lot of different kinds of music, individually, and collectively. Personally, I love a lot of “older” music like The Jam, Everly Brothers, Adam and the Ants, The Kinks, The Smiths, Stone Roses, and Elvis Costello and the Attractions. I also really love more “modern” bands like Superchunk, The Cure, My Bloody Valentine, Superdrag, and Ted Leo & the Pharmacists...to name a few. I think all of that stuff probably finds its way into Gentlemen Rogues, in one way or another. People, who are not in your band, tend to want to tell you what they think you sound like, which is totally fine, and one somewhat reoccurring comparison we get is, The Replacements. I love that band, and am absolutely ok with that comparison.

When and how did Gentlemen Rogues come to be? Gentlemen Rogues have been a band for several years, and officially got off the ground in 2010. The band started with a different drummer and bassist, and got going the way most bands do...you know some people who play the necessary instruments, you share some of the same influences and interests, you talk about starting a band, and you just try really hard to BE a band. Ha! Cordon (other guitarist), and I, have been in the band since day 1. Josh (drummer), and I, used to play in a band called The Fall Collection, so it made perfect since that we’d find our way back to playing with each other, and Brandon (bassist) has been a friend of ours for a long time, and just seamlessly found his way in, as well. In retrospect, the continuous life of the band, has been pretty organic.

Usually you perform as a band, but for our studio session, you'll be going solo. What have your solo experiences been like? 

A story related to this show, is that we did a tour in the UK, this past May, including some shows in Liverpool (UK), at Liverpool Sound City Festival. This festival is kinda like SXSW, but in Liverpool. One of the shows, we thought, was a full band performance, but learned about 15 minutes before our set time, that it was an “acoustic” show...no back line amps or drums...just a PA. This scenario actually happened to us twice, on the same day. Rather than cancel the shows, we decided that i’d do a solo set, playing some of our songs, and a few cover songs that I might could possibly recall knowing how to play. This all happened with VERY little notice (about 15 minutes), but went surprisingly well. We even got some press, from these two solo shows, and the reviews were surprisingly good! So with this show, i’m recreating that experience a little bit. It will just be me, an electric guitar, and some songs. Aesthetically speaking, a bit of a Billy Bragg-esque performance, but sans politics and with not as much between song banter. Ha! I’ve had a little bit of time to put this together, so it should be fun.

And fun it was! Thank you to everyone who helped contribute to the success of this lovely evening. We hope to see you all at the next one. Stay tuned for information on our next session, and in the meantime, here's audio of the full set for your enjoyment:

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