2013 Year Enders

Sam Gas Can’s Best of 2013

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SAM GAS CAN is multi-talented artist and pretty swell dude living out in western Mass. He puts out excellent off beat pop that plays with genre like silly putty. He also draws silly pictures with a psychedelic charm. His new record ‘Am I Trippy’ and new comic ‘Robble Robble’ are both available for purchase.And have you seen this guy smile? Its like a burst of golden sunlight on a dreary rain soaked afternoon.

1. TRACEY TRANCE. Everyone’s already familiar with “Pyper Kub” and his new tape, “Keep it Up!”, but man, riding down route 2 from Brattleboro to Worcester in Tracey’s 1968 GMC Handivan on a beautiful fall morning, listening to Bob Dylan’s basement of the basement tapes…I’m gonna remember that weekend for a long time coming.

2. BOB DYLAN. I never understood Bob Dylan before, but I was only familiar with the earlier folky stuff when, in reality, the honky-tonk, roots rock, post-motorcycle crash stuff is where it’s at. Been cranking “Nashville Skyline”, “New Morning”, “Desire”, and “Self-Portrait” pretty heavily. Also, the Band. Always the Band.

3. GNAR. Gnar Tapes & Shit of Portland, Oregon is a tape label run by Rikky Gage (Free Weed) and Unkle Funkle, both members of White Fang, self-proclaimed “stupidest band on the planet”, and all my favorite potheads. I only got to hang out with the crew for a hot minute while they were on tour this year, but we had an awesome breakfast at the Miss Worcester diner and they all flipped their lids when I took them over to That’s Entertainment, the best comic book store of all time. Check out “It’s Good!” by Fuzz Puddle and “Breezy Evening” by The Memories, the other Gnar house band. This one is a serious flipper, same songs both sides, yet I always listen to both…

4. ROBBLE ROBBLE. Finishing my McDonald’s parody comic, “Robble Robble” was a huge thing for me, first time I’ve ever done a whole comic in color by hand. After being refused by publishers for either printing costs or fear of being sued, I was finally able to print it myself (with the help of my hetero life partner, Joe Bastardo), and that felt cool to be in control of it in that way in the end. I just wish I could afford to print one for everyone I know!!!!

5. JOE BASTARDO. aka Bastian Void aka Homeowner, 1/3 of Gay Shapes, 1/2 of Looks Realistic, and new partner in our duo, Diamond Chevrolet. Joe and I have been friends since high school, and I’ve watched his solo electronic music develop from day one fiddling with Casios into this amazing catalog that stands out amongst the wave of synth-based music we’ve been inundated with lately. Joe’s creativity in sound and attention to detail comes out in both his music and graphic design (homeboy has designed three album covers for me), and I’m looking forward to collaborating more with him in the future.

6. TOURING. Longest tour of my career so far, doing a month-long loop around the Eastern half of the U.S., playing with my punk band, White Crime, sharing a van with Secret Lover. For one, what an awesome crew, Dave, Sally, John, and Lars, you guys are the greatest, and I went to so many places I’d never been and met so many nice people along the way. Special shout-out to General Fantasy of Pittsburgh, PA, you will want to party with these dudes. Felt so fucking surreal to be on a beach in Ft. Lauderdale eating Sonic Burger while there was a snow storm and zero-degree weather back home.

7. FRANK HURRICANE. Frank has been living here in the Western part of the state for most of the year now, and it’s been so nice to have some deep conversations with my most spiritual homie and make some psychic connections. Laughed so hard during his pre-recorded, all-skit set in Belchertown, and really tripping on the new double LP for Feeding Tube Records. Frank’s music is important to me because it is joyous in recounting the worst that life has to throw at you, the importance of being uncomfortable, and how you handle/grow from it. Super honored to be name-dropped when he sang about the time he slept over and I fed him hot dogs and french fries before he tried to ride his bike back to Boston the next day (I think he was able to catch a ride halfway there after his bike shit the bed).

8. FEEDING TUBE RECORDS. Absolutely my favorite record shop, no idea how I would keep track of every new Michael Hurley, Mahmoud Ahmed, or Russian Tsarlag release without them. Ted Lee has done more for the culture of the valley in the past year than anyone, hosting shows, allowing artists to display their work in the window, and of course, making the most badass records available to the public. Also, his band ZEBU! is really hitting their stride lately, go see them and watch Ted sing from outside.

9. SGC BAND. With the organizational help of John Moloney (Sunburned Hand of the Man) and Orion Russell (Zzones), and the musical help of them and so many others (including my fave sax man, Gordon Spencer-Blaetz), the full Sam Gas Can Band actually became a reality. Sadly, a large part of this has gone undocumented, but I’m hoping we’ll get to play more shows together soon. Best one to date was in the attic at Cold Spring Hollow, an ancient farmhouse in Belchertown where I wore a cop uniform and we played something like a later, jazzier Black Flag set (a small portion of that will be on my new album, “I Sat Around Today”, as soon as it is finished) while people freaked out and almost fell backwards down this really rickety staircase. John thought we were going to go straight through the floor.

10. VICE VIDEOS. I know this one is stupid, and Vice magazine is the worst rag to ever exist, but I am a stupid person and their news videos really opened my eyes up to a lot of amazing and terrifying things about our world that I had close to no concept about. From cannibal warlords of Liberia, to the tradition of kidnapping one’s bride in Kyrgyzstan, if you want Americans these days to actually learn anything, you have to show them, not tell them.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Drawing the Neil/Bob covers album cover with Josh Burkett, the new Happy Jawbone Family Band album, pulled pork sandwiches, having one of my comics translated into Finnish, Nintendo 64, Ben Katzman, Baby Santi, Orange Milk, new Flaming Lips album, Cape Cod vacation with Liz, stuffed Ernie bro, burpin’, chooglin’, poopin,’ Star Trek: The Next Generation, and doing header artwork for the Compass! ;-P

That’s it, bye guys!!! ^___^

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