An Interview with Gordy Andersen: Part 1
Alibi: What events shaped your lifelong interest and participation in music?
Gordy Andersen: I’m lucky; my parents had music around. My mom was an actress and radio personality, and dad was a Sandia Labs scientist who built his own hi-fi system. She took us to the State Fair. Backstage, I got to meet Johnny Cash and Glen Campbell. I was listening to the radio all the time. I was a nerdy kid who wanted to be cool. Musicians of any genre seemed cool. My parents bought me a Pimentel guitar for Christmas. That just started blowing it out for me—going to people’s houses who had older brothers and sisters or cool babysitters to listen to rock music. I was totally enamored with the musician’s life. I used to sneak out. That’s how I got to see the Stones at the Pit in ’72, Alice Cooper and Led Zeppelin at Johnson Gym. This is what I want to do. Eventually I really got into prog-rock and jazz fusion as a teenager.
[Devo] played the Stones’ “Satisfaction” wearing these hazmat suits and horn-rimmed glasses—just like my dad and all his Sandia Labs friends. Bob Casale was playing some beat-up guitar. There was no ego. And I said, “Fuck it, this is what I’m going to do.”
What were your first experiences with local music like?
When I was about 18 or 19, I lived with bunch of dudes who were artists and musicians, and some of them were in a Joe Bufalino cover band. One of them had a jazz-fusion group, and they recorded a record. They had a record release party at this underground venue called King Tut’s Tomb, which was in the basement of Wild West Music, which [later] became Encore Music. It was on Central in what they call EDo now. It was totally an abandoned ghetto back then. It was bitching. Anyway we went to see our roommates’ band Genre play. They were super-tight, and I was intimidated and wondered, “How could I ever get to that level?” All I knew were the three or four chords I had learned on my Pimentel.
Well, we dosed on some windowpane [LSD], totally enjoyed the show and then went home to watch “Saturday Night Live” because this band called Devo was supposed to play. I knew there was this thing called punk rock or new wave going on in New York; I was aware of it, but I couldn’t get a hold of it in Albuquerque. Devo came on and changed everything. I had just started skateboarding, and so we had all this energy. I saw Devo, and I was like, “Fuck.” They played the Stones’ “Satisfaction” wearing these hazmat suits and horn-rimmed glasses—just like my dad and all his Sandia Labs friends. Bob Casale was playing some beat-up guitar. There was no ego. And I said, “Fuck it, this is what I’m going to do.” We all stopped blasting Zeppelin and started listening to punk.
What was your first band?
One day my buddy Kevin said, “Gordy, you know all this music. You’ve got the guitar stuff down, and we all love this music. We should start a band.” We formed Jerry’s Kidz. There was nowhere to play, but word got out. The scene started in our practice garage. All these people—outcasts and punkers like Joey Abbin and Steve Eiland—had no place to go, so they started hanging out with Jerry’s Kidz. We’d practice four to six nights a week to accommodate our friends. For me, that was the beginning. We created our own version of punk rock, and people listened.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this interview, featuring Fred’s Bread & Bagel, Cracks in the Sidewalk and the birth of Black Maria.