Local Music Focus: Sick Gypsy guitarist lives his dream

The local band Sick Gypsy has performed various shows at The Statesmen bar, appeared on the GSTV telethon and performed in places as far away as Key West. The band's members include Matt Girler, Sara Passafume, Dan Marcus, Mike Loyd and Andrew Chisena. Marcus, Loyd and Chisena are currently pursuing gigs in Las Vegas. However, The Lamron was able to sit down with Girler to find out more about Sick Gypsy and Geneseo's local music.

The Lamron: How would you describe Sick Gypsy's music?

Matt Girler: We're a hybrid combination of a lot of different sounds. Every member brings something from their background. I play a lot of rock-funk and blues bass. Our bass player is more of a jazz meets metal kind of thing. Our other guitar player has background with The Pixies and Jimi Hendrix. We're all bringing different flavors to the musical stew. But these days I would quote us as a rock-reggae with a Latin rhythmic kind of feel to it. Very danceable is what we're going for. We love seeing people dance and hoot and holler and just have a good time. We've got about eight originals that we're trying to hammer down. Some of them have the reggae feel and others are just straight out of left field. They don't sound like any genre that I can pinpoint.

The Lamron: Have you recorded any demos?

MG: The closest thing we have to a demo right now is a collaboration of live shows that we've done. We set up a recording machine, we play the show, and then we just take bits and pieces. Like let's say song A was good, song B was bad. But the next show song A was bad and song B was good. So we take the good pieces of each of our shows and make a nice little conglomerate picture of what we hope to sound like at a live show.

The Lamron: How did you guys all meet each other?

MG: I met Dan first semester. He was MC-ing the Open Mics over at the Idle Hour, and I would show up every Tuesday, do my act, have some fun. Every now and then I would go back to his house, we'd hang out. So over the course of the semester our friendship kind of evolved, and I met Andy and started hanging out at the house. The next thing I know, there's a different bass player, Jim, rockin' out with them and the drummer. I'm like, "These guys are pretty fun." So I started jammin' with them, andpretty soon it was understood that I was kind of in the band. And then Jim left, and we got Sara as the bass player. That's pretty much how it evolved. Andy, Mike, and Dan started as a Manu Chao cover band. Then we started picking up a couple rock covers like Sublime, stuff that people would recognize a little more. And then slowly but surely a couple originals filtered their way through the ranks.

The Lamron: How did you come up with the name Sick Gypsy?

MG: We were playing a Halloween party for a friend of our's, and we were all dressed up. Dan was really under the weather. I don't know if he had food poisoning or what, but he walks out of his room all gussied up like agypsy. He's pale and drawn and looking like hell. Our drummer took one look at him and said, "Dan, you look like one sick gypsy," and it stuck. It was very spontaneous.

The Lamron: Where do you see Sick Gypsy going in the future? Is it something that you hope blossoms into a career?

MG: Oh yeah. None of us want to work a 9 to 5. I think we've all pretty much established that. We're definitely going to school for a backup plan just to know that we have an education, and if the band falls apart we have actual careers we can go into. But I think every single one of us does not want to wake up at 9 o'clock and put on a shirt and tie.

The Lamron: What do you think about the local music scene in Geneseo? Is it more underground than it should be?

MG: Yeah, I think it's very under represented. In Rochester there's this magazine called City, and it tells you every show coming up, every art expo, every festival, anything that you could possibly want to go out of your house and do. I find that whether it's in the Whats-Up digest, or in The Lamron, or in The Clarion, or any of the publications that you find around here, it's more of who you know is how you're going to find out about the arts. We cover campus with flyers everywhere the week before our shows, but that's about it. And it kind of disappoints me because there's a lot of really talented people whether they be poets, writers, artists; they're everywhere here. This is no slouch of a school when it comes to artistic and cultural talents. I think it's kind of a bummer that we don't have much of an outlet for people to be aware of stuff that's going on.

Sick Gypsy will perform Saturday, April 14 at The Statesmen at 10 p.m.