Boston Hassle presents, Hassle Fest, Music

Garage rock legends The Gories to play Hassle Fest 10


Listen up Boston music lovers! Iconic garage rock band The Gories only play a few shows a year — they actually BROKE UP in 1992, but luckily reunited in 2009 — and they’re going to be in Boston to play Hassle Fest 10 THIS Saturday, Nov. 10 from 10:15 to 11 p.m. at Brighton Music Hall.

The Gories are a Detroit band that formed in 1986 when Mick Collins (vocals, guitar), Danny Kroha (vocals guitar) and Peggy O’Neill (drums) came together to make some bluesy, punky garage rock songs that influenced at least one of America’s biggest rock stars: fellow Detroit-ian Jack White, who has shown continued support for the band’s work.

In 2013, White released The Gories’ first live record, “The Shaw Tapes: Live in Detroit 5/27/88” on his label Third Man Records, according to an article in Exclaim! Magazine. The tracks were “recorded at a house party in a converted storefront,” according to the article.

In a statement, White called The Gories, “The best garage band in America since the ’60s” and wrote they were “Very primitive… They made people with Les Pauls and Marshall amps look like idiots.”

“The Shaw Tapes” received a laudatory review from music journalist Jason Heller, who wrote that the band “set back garage rock by thirty years,” in his album review for Pitchfork.

Disgusted by the polished jangle of much of the garage revival of the 80s, the Gories turned rudimentary musicianship into a fuck-you virtue, making the punk of any era sound like Vivaldi,” he wrote, adding that the songs on the album were “pulped to a slovenly blur of brute havoc.”

The uninitiated might enjoy Gories tracks “Early in the Morning,” “Six Cold Feet,” “Smashed,” “Feral,” “Sovereignty Flight,” and my personal favorite, “Charm Bag.”

In his “Shaw Tapes” review, Heller wrote lovingly of “Thunderbird ESQ,” which is also not to be missed.

“When Collins busts into the soon-to-be-anthem “Thunderbird ESQ”—an ode to the fortified wine he’s admitted to chugging whole bottles of before going onstage back then—it’s as if the song had always existed, a fossil just waiting to be excavated, cloned, and set loose upon the world,” Heller wrote.

These days, each Gories member lives in a different state: Kroha is in Detroit, Collins is in Brooklyn and O’Neill is in New Orleans.

“We only see each other when we get together to play a show,” said Kroha in a recent phone interview. He called The Gories an “oldies band.”

We play all our old songs, you know? That’s what we do,” he said. “We just try to do the stuff as well and as faithfully as we can.”

He said there’s a chance that The Gories might get together and write some new songs in the coming months.

“We’d love to try doing some new Gories stuff — maybe over the winter we’ll give it a shot,” said Kroha.

He explained that the band would definitely need to be in the same room in order to work on new material.

“Since we all don’t live in the same place, it’s kinda hard, you know?” he said.

“The Gories isn’t really the kind of band where you can do stuff over the Internet … I’d really prefer for all of us to get together in one room and see what we can come up with, because there have been times at sound checks where Mick has started playing a riff and the two of us, Peggy and I, just join in with it. And I can see something like that happening if we’re able to actually get together and have a little time together.”

Kroha is also interested in putting out a new album of old live shows.

“We have a bunch of old live shows on a cassette tape that a friend of ours taped and I’d like to go hear that stuff … and maybe pick out some other stuff and make a compilation,” he said.

In the meantime, Kroha said Collins has been working on writing a new album for his garage rock band The Dirtbombs, which he founded in 1992. Kroha is also waiting to release a album; a solo acoustic record featuring folk, blues and gospel, similar to his 2015 release “Angels Watching Over Me.” Right now, he’s unsure which label will distribute it, but it’s all recorded.

“It’s just me playing acoustic guitar and singing, and I also overdubbed jug on some tracks … I play… also, like, a sort of washtub-type bass,” said Kroha.  

He explained the inspiration behind his new album, which celebrates classic blues and gospel.

“I really like that kind of music and I’ve liked it for a long time,” said Kroha. “I would have to say, John Lee Hooker and Lightnin’ Hopkins got me interested in acoustic open tune blues stuff and it took me a long time before I figured out that they were even in open tunings, let alone how to play that kind of stuff … I’m always into digging deeper and deeper into the roots of music, and that’s about as far as you can go into the roots … like 1920s and ‘30s country blues kinda stuff. Everything came from gospel music anyway so, digging back into gospel music is really the roots of [it] all; of everything rock ‘n’ roll, blues — all that stuff.”

Growing up, Kroha was also influenced by Boston bands The Remains, The Real Kids and the Lyres.

“I saw the Lyres a couple times in the ‘80s and they blew me away, [they] were a big influence on what I do with the Gories,” he said.

Kroha said he is looking forward to The Gories’ upcoming show at Brighton Music Hall.

“We’re excited to play Boston. We’re excited for the Hassle Fest—it’s our first Hassle Fest,” he said.

The Gories will be playing Saturday, Nov. 10, from 10:15-11 p.m. at Brighton Music Hall as part of Hassle Fest 10. The full lineup includes The Laces (8-8:30 p.m.), Andy California (8:45-9:15 p.m.), Germ House (9:30-10 p.m.) and The Gories (10:15-11 p.m.). Tickets, $23, are available at or at the door. See the full Hassle Fest 10 lineup at Brighton Music Hall is located at 158 Brighton Ave., Allston.

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