Remembering Jerry Wick: Interview With Bret Lewis

This interview with Bret Lewis took place prior to the Gaunt tribute show at the Summit January 1st. To read about the actual show, here is Rick Allen’s review.

I grew up on rap so my knowledge of Gaunt is from osmosis. I’m not an expert.

Yeah, but you said you grew up with Nick Shuld?

Yeah, I like that guy now. But at the time he was a year older and seemed snooty. So when he joined Gaunt, it was another reason to hate on him.

Was he with Beano?

Yeah. They were fun. When did you join Gaunt?

I was the bass player. Basically, Jeff and Eric …  Jeff Regesnburger, the drummer. Eric Barth was the bassist.  They did a European Tour in 94; say from October to December.  Then quit.

Nick and I joined in January.

What were you doing before then?

Musically or in my life?

Various things..

Nothing really. I had graduated from college  in 92. I went to Boston to try to go Medical School.

I was dating a woman, and Jim Weber called me. He was the first guitarist in Gaunt, before Jovan.   And said, “the Turks are going to Europe, do you want to do merch?”. This was in 94 too. I said, “yeah, sure.” I was in Europe simultaneously with the Turks when Gaunt was over there. They had 6 or 7 shows that overlapped.

How long were you in Gaunt?

Two and a half years. I was on two albums, Yeah Me Too, and Kryptonite.

What made you decide to put this show together?

This was Jim Weber’s idea. It might have had something to do with the Gibson Brothers, the Turks and Scrawl doing the parking lot blow-out show. Maybe feeling a little bit nostalgic for that. Jerry died January 10th.  2001. There was enough distance from that date for most of the guys. And we would always get together at Jerry’s on the 1st of the year for a party at his house. So the past 10 years, Sam Brown, and Jim Weber would have a Euchere party at their house. Thats what we do.

For this one, Sam Brown is having people over that are playing before the show and then we are all gonna pile in cars and go over to Bourbon Street.

Where were you when you heard the news that Mr. Wick had passed?

I’m sorry..

uhmm..uhh

Oh, when he died. I was in archictecture school. I was in graduate school for archictecture and for some reason that night I was at my mother’s house in Newark. An ex-girlfriend called me at my mother’s house January 10th. He died January 10th, at say , 2:00 in the morning.

I got a call the next night from this ex-girlfriend from New York, she asked “Did you hear Jerry died?”.

I said, “I had no idea.”

I hopped in a car and went to Larry’s Bar. So everyone kind of convened at Larry’s. And uhm, that was that.

So everyone went to Larrys to drink and talk. Was there a funeral?

The funeral was a few days later. The funeral was in Parma, Ohio. Bettina, who runs Thrill Jockey  came in. Who Gaunt put there first two or three albums out actually. There was actually something in Parma. And then I think we came back, and there was another memorial at Larry’s. At some point at the next month or so there was a show at Little Brothers.

Uhmm…so.. Mr. Wick liked to play Euchere?

He would always play Euchere at Larry’s. He lived above Larrys for I don’t know how long. We had all lived together Jim Weber, Jerry Wick, myself on 19th Avenue from like 91-92. After that Jerry moved above Larry’s until he got his house on the NorthEast Side. We would go to Larry’s all the time. We would go up after Larry’s and listen to music at his apartment.

Who all is playing the show? (Note show already happened)

The Ferals. Lara Yarzac was 19. She just adored Jerry, I think.  They had a really good friendship. Then the Slave Apartments. Red Rubber Nose, Jim Weber.  basically the original line-up minus Jerry plus me.  Uh. Necropolis.  Uh. Jerry Decicca is gonna play a few songs. Delicious Pizza,  who is Sam Brown and his ex-wife, and Nick Schuld. I think thats it?

What about I hate Gaunt?

What?

Oh, This is Why Gaunt Sucks, which is the New Bomb Turks.

You said alot of these band names are taken from inside jokes?

Jerry one-liners. The Slave Apartments are called the Cocaine Sniffing Slave Apartments.

Jerry’s side project were always called Cocaine Sniffing Prime. Because of the John Richmond Modern Lover’s song, there is a line.

Red Rubber Nose. Jerry got really mad once in Boston. I think it was one night when the Turks were playing with Gaunt. I could be wrong about this. He basically said..I don’t know the exact story. But he basically got pissed off and asked ‘where is my red rubber nose’, implying that he was a clown. And everyone thought he was clown. And no one took him seriously, as a musician.

Delicious Pizza, Jerry would get these little catch phrases. And say them over and over. Delicious Pizza was one of them.

And This Is Why Gaunt Sucks was another..the band might have flubbed a song. Jerry had a tirade, and yelled, ‘this is why Gaunt sucks.’

So I was going through stuff on the internet. I was reading the obitruary. And Eric Davidson was quoted, “”Jerry would want to talk about Studs Terkel and Nietzsche for eight hours in a van, which is OK for some people, but not for most,” Davidson said. “Even though he might have not finished any Studs Terkel book ever, he at least knew those first three chapters well.” Saying Jerry had an undergrad intellectual…

I kind of remember that. I don’t think that was fair. I can understand, this sort of superficial reference in “Kryptonite” for example of the Superman was probably sophmoric on Jerry’s part. But at the same time, he had probably read the books, and understood the concept more than your average college student that is taking a philosophy course , and reads There Spoke Zarathursta.

I didn’t take it for an insult. I just took it a way to describe how Mr. Wick talked.

He was a thinker and he talked. A lot of times, he talked without thinking. And so. He never got into too much trouble. He was one of those people that were very loud, boistorious, and would be really set in his ideas. And the more he drank, the more he would be set in them.And willing to argue. And tell you that you were wrong. And sometimes that was very fun. Other times it got to the point you were thinking, you are too drunk to talk.

Say a 19 year-old kid is reading this interview…How would you like Mr. Wick to percieved? Now that you have had 10 years to reflect on his abscence..

10 years and a 19 year old comes along and reads donewaiting, uhm.. I think there are 5 albums, 1 ep. I would want them to know he was a prolific song-writer and half of the stuff never got released. There are some real gems in that. I think Nick Schuld posted some of them online. A lot of single as well.

They should listen to it. It is really good pop. There is some stuff that you kind of scratch your head, especially the early stuff. Some of the early stuff it good too.

And then maybe that 19 year-old would get into writing music.

Jerry had a fanzine called Cornhole.

Named after the beanbag game?

Cornhole, I think because I was talking to my parents about it in 1992, is just an asshole. And I think where he got it, ‘it’s your cornhole’.

So yeah, he wanted to be thought of as an intellectual.

How long did he put Cornhole out for?

You would have to ask Ron House. I would say two years. You probably never knew Sam Yesh?

Nah.

He was kind of a noise guy that probably suffered from some sort of Psychotic delusions. He would interview people like that. There were interesting interviews.

What are some favorite memories you have?

Like bands we played with or

It is a big question. Anything.

There are stories like the first show I played with Gaunt, I think was Mudhoney at Bogarts in Cincinnati.  Previously, I had  played in one tribute band that played in front of  20 people.

There were probably 900 people to see Mudhoney. That was fun.

Did have some words for you before you went out?

No. He was like, ‘lets just go. play.’

There was one time in San Francisco where we had mistakenly got gas in the van. Nick Schuld was driving. He was a bad driver at the time; he might be a great driver now.  And so Jerry got out without us knowing at the gas station, and we left him there. Probably drive an hour so that was funny. We had to turn around. We got in a wreck. And then we went and picked him up.

You got in a wreck?

Yeah, Got in a wreck.

Sounds like an episode of Seinfeld.

We got into a wreck. It was literally a pig in a burlap bag in the back of the truck that we hit.

Did you guys exchange information?

It was a small town. It would like if you had something happen to you in Mt. Vernon. So we just drove it into town, and filed a police report. The van was insured. We always rented our van. It was insured.

It was definately our fault. By our fault, I mean Nick’s.

I was talking to Adam Elliott of Times New Viking. I asked him about if the different generations of punk rock hang out with each other, in say San Francisco. For instance, you go out and see Adam talking to Ron House. He said it was a very Columbus specific thing. People of different generations stay in proximity of each other. I don’t know what my question is..

I  think the question would be, how was it fifteen years-ago?

Gaunt was never that big. They were kind of big in Boston. They could drive to Boston or New York, maybe and have a hundred people at the shows. We were never as big as Times New Viking.

We would kind of just go to New York. Most of had friends from college, say in New York. Jovan had a friend name J.T. Olson..Now I think about it, it was an extension of Columbus. People that had been in Columbus, that had been in bands in the 80′s. It kind of migrated from New York to Boston or Austin, Texas or San Francisco. Those places, it would be kind of like a reunion or catching up with old friends. It is an interesting thought.

That is the advantage of Columbus that people don’t think of. It is what makes Ohio State football functional on a bigger scale because the alumini is so huge, that everyone wants OSU to play in their bowlgame because they know people will come out. I think on a smaller scale, that is something that can work for rock music.

It is nice parrallel. I hadn’t thought about it like that.

Our city is built around a university. We don’t have a waterway

I think the thing that Columbus has, that other cities don’t..Let say there is band like Fifteen year-ago like Gaunt was playing in Atlanta. I don’t think 1) they would get together and do a tribute show. And 2) Have the bands that are in Atlanta now, the younger bands come out and support it. And understand where they came from.

Gaunt. Jerry was a huge Jim Shepard, and Ron House fan. I don’t have a lot of data to support that theory but I would’nt be suprised.

The one exception would be Guided By Voices, because, well, they are Guided By Voices.

That is kind of special

It is.

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