Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Josh Niles at Big Light, Nashville, Tennessee
As it so happens, Charles Bukowski writes about women in a way that is significantly different from the way that the guys in Gringo Star think about and write about women. Last night, reading through the first 100 pages of Bukowski's 1969 poetry and prose collection, "The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills," before clicking the bedside lamp off, after listening to these three new songs from the Atlanta, Georgia, garage rock band, we determined that these are opposite views at work. Bukowski doesn't seem to attach the same kind of mystique to the women he meets at the various filthy horse tracks or crap bars that he frequents in his sour states. These turn out to be depressed or chronically drunk women, with little to no self-esteem - proven by the very examples of his frequent sexual acts described via his poetry. If they weren't so depressed or chronically drunk and therefore depressed and lacking, they'd surely never go to bed with such a horrid and depraved human being as he tends to pen himself as. No, these women surely are about as non-mystical as they could be, weighed down by their years and all of the missteps within them that applied the wrinkles and a sadness that's impossible to diminish.
Nick Furgiuele, Peter Furgiuele and Chris Kaufmann, the members of Gringo Star travel on the other side of the consideration, where there's nothing that's been so much as even slightly deciphered about the female, its form or what they'll do next. They sing about women in that black magic sense where we wouldn't be surprised to see or hear about them doing anything. These women are full of magic. They might even glow - light coming out of their ears and out of their eyes. They are dangerous and potentially deceitful -- still, but they have a greater capacity for evoking wonderment and awe than the women that Bukowski seems to attract or be attracted to.
These are the main subjects of any Gringo Star song and they are pulled off with a beautiful skuzzy energy that makes these encounters feel as if they happened in the back alleys or they struck men backwards off of their shredded bar stools in those holes in the wall that they frequent during their happy hours, trying to get drunk before dinnertime. There are parts to these songs that sound as they happen to men not all that unlike the guy that Bukowski might have started off as, but these Gringo Stars are on a different path, one that will leave them happy waking up next to that same great woman that they've been going to bed with for years and years. Given a similar situation, Bukowski would have thrown up.
*Essay originally published April, 2011