Abq Music History: An Interview With Gordy Andersen, Part 2

August March
4 min read
An Interview with Gordy Andersen, Part 2
A portrait of Gordy Andersen (and his kidney surgery scar) won the “Local Celebrity” category in our inaugural photo contest. (Jasmine Ceniceros)
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I nursed a bourbon and Coke and kept the recorder running. On the other end of the line, Gordy Andersen sipped Jägermeister, and I continued to ask about the people, events and experiences that ultimately led him through a maze of local music and culture to Black Maria.

Alibi: How did things change for you musically as the ’80s erupted?

Gordy Andersen: Kevin Cruickshank’s girlfriend was this hesher chick [named] Jenny Zimmerman. She went to Sandia Prep, and he went to Eldorado. Now she’s Jen from The Genitorturers. Part of the reason Jerry’s Kidz ended was because she decided to move to Florida, and he moved with her. It’s not a band without all the members.

How did that sense of collaboration work out post-Kidz?

I’ve been consistently aligned with like-minded people that become my friends. I’m the most comfortable and at my best in collaborative situations. I’ve always had my own thing, acoustic-electric shit I do. It doesn’t sound as good as any of my buddies who play guitar … all the people I don’t even know who are better than me. But when I’m collaborating with others, that kind of insecurity goes away. I let myself go; my playing is better.

What bands came out of that evolving collaborative bent?

In 1986, with Cracks in the Sidewalk, it was the first time I was the only guitarist, so I made a lot of shit up, did a lot of experimenting. I worked with some of the most intense musical minds—artistic, educated. We had this one song, “Fucker’s Concerto,” that’s got “the devil’s chord” in it, a banned tone from the dark past. I didn’t know the name of the chord or its particulars [a chord with a flatted fifth or augmented fourth] before I played with Cracks, but the sound always appealed to me. I was surrounded by people who are far better musicians, but they saw something in my weird, self-taught style and playing.

I was in a cover band, Young Black Sabbath Teenagers. It started as a joke but ended up being the Fred’s Bread & Bagel house band. We’d play Neil Young and Black Sabbath songs at parties that Aaron [Hendon] would host [where Zinc is now]. We had a horn section, two drum kits and a whole lot of electric guitars. Aaron was really supportive. He was a major supporter of the whole scene. Those were halcyon days.

So that was the ’80s and ’90s … Let’s move on to the 21st century.

Brian Banks and I started [Black Maria] in 2003. I had been playing acoustic country music in the East Mountains. I missed my ears ringing. I missed my amp. A mutual friend introduced us. There were similar interests in all sorts of music and genres. We started working together. Brian was living at a legendary Burque music and tattoo house, so there were a lot of other musicians hanging out. We discovered stoner rock. … We liked that fucking old, fucking hard-rocking boogie shit. We were both metalheads as kids, then became entrenched in punk rock. It made sense.

We also met the Sells brothers at that house, Terry and Brent. They grew up together playing music, and they have their own language. All these guys are a bunch of geniuses. We decided to play this kind of music, but we didn’t think anyone in town would give a damn. But after two or three months, word was getting out; we had a set. We didn’t have a goal. We just wanted to play. We gigged at Joe’s Place in back of Carraro’s Pizza, and hundreds of people showed up.

I love all the bands I’ve been in and the people I’ve worked with over the years … But with Black Maria—even after 12 years—the honeymoon never ended. We’re humbled and honored that we have an audience. We’re stoked.
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