Balls Afire! Glen and the Sunshine Gang Are Serious About This Joke Band Thing

Categories: interview
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www.myspace.com/glenandthesunshinegang
Few rock groups have balls big enough to doggedly pursue the status of a joke band. That's not the case for Orange County's Glen and the Sunshine Gang; their candor regarding their faux status is like two massive glowing orbs dangling between their spandex covered thighs. On Friday, July 16, the band will bring its spandex covered antics to the House of Blues Anaheim with Beta Wolf, Bob Knows Best, Walk the Rio, and So Long Davey.

"House of Blues has been the biggest venue we've played save for the world wide universe of Youtube," says singer Tyler Trautman, 28.
Despite the humor exhibited in their hardcore style meets new-wave mashup, there are genuine moments of profundity. In the anthemic song "Y2K," singer Tyler Trautman laments the loss of television shows like Saved by the Bell, but in the chorus, he triumphantly declares, "The sun is setting, but we'll keep on shredding." 
According to the band's bio, these chaps came together in 2005 while studying film at Chapman University. Keyboardist Zak Soltes needed a song for his senior thesis, a short film entitled "The Hot Boys Get What They Want." It's an 11-minute odyssey about apple pies, infidelity and career advancement.
Says Trautman, "We thought, how about we make a song that sounds like a kids' song, like for Reading Rainbow or something you'd see on PBS." The conceptual milieu of the Sunshine Gang was almost born, but it needed one more element. "In the bridge I put in a classic hardcore breakdown just to make people laugh."
Inspired by their close friends, Orange County's own Atreyu, Glen and the Sunshine Gang started playing locally and even enlisted the help of Atreyu bassist Marc McKnight.  "On the first song we recorded, Marc did some vocals. He did the screaming hardcore part." And though the beefy guitars showcasing the the Sunshine Gang's agressive side is inescapable, there are some remarkably softcore styles thrown into the mix.
Asked to name the band's three biggest influences and Trautman lists Devo, The Faint and Prodigy. Though it sounds like an audibly bizarre hodgepodge,  the gang cranks out some serious grooves with catchy hooks and lyrics about surviving abortions and, as we mentioned earlier, Saved by the Bell.  Referring to the iconic early '90s high school cheese-fest, Trautman sings "The Cell phones are bigger than the phone bills, and all the girls are addicted to caffeine pills." 
Trautman is more than a mere singer: "Ever since I was 14, I worked in a gymnastic school my mom owned ... at a show in Bakersfield, I did a backflip and landed on my face and split my face during the finale of the song." Undeterred, he says he will bring the same theatrics to the band's upcoming show at the House of Blues. "My girlfriend will probably hate me for saying I'm going to flip, but I'm definitely going to be doing some flips."
Trautman also promises there will be men in spandex, a keyboardist clad only in underpants and a ball of energy that "won't burn out until the world ends." For the uninitiated listener,  the tune "Saved By the Bell" is highly recommended. It repeatedly makes reference to character Jesse Spano's hilarious addiction to pep pills. "You can connect fans with subject matter they're familiar with. You watch Saved by the Bell (as a kid) and it's the coolest thing in the world. But 29 years later, it's the cheesiest thing in the world. But it's still cool."  While Glen and the Sunshine Gang have no imminent plans to tour,  and instead are focusing on their local fan-base, a five-song EP will be released on iTunes in the next month.
One of the songs, "Lose my Mind" is now available on the band's MySpace page. Trautman says it's a song about a girl on the prowl. Asked whether the joke behind Glen and the Sunshine Gang will continue, or if more gravity will be thrown into the final product, he says, "We'll make the joke continue. Just plan on it getting better."

Check out the video for Y2K. Dig the gymnastics at 1:40:


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