As promised, today your Blogmaster brings you the best in Internet reporting with an in-depth look at The Gurn Killers, who won the Harrah’s Total Rock, Total Rewards Rock Band 2009 tournament this past Friday.
Here’s a refresher in case you’ve been snoozing. We here at the Total Rock blog have been following the career of The Gurn Killers (Chris Daou on guitar, Joel Micalizzi on vocals, Miguel Molinari on bass, and Luca Fusi on drums) very closely. They started on the road to the winners’ circle at the local competition at the Showboat in Atlantic City, and then went on to win that venue. The GK’s then went on to take the last of four spots in the finals, representing the eastern region with relish.
If you weren’t able to come to the finals in Atlantic City, you can check out videos of all the bands, thanks to @SaikoSakura.
Now that they’ve had a few days to let the awesome settle in, your Blogmaster sat down with the bandmates in an electronic sort of way to talk about the tournament and what comes next for The Gurn Killers.
First things first: did the guys have any idea that they’d go all the way?
“I’d like to say super-confident, but we had our doubts almost immediately,” says vocalist Joel. “After winning the very first time, we were super excited to play in the next round because we thought it would include performance scores. The next day we find out it’s only score. Then we find out we are playing against MoB and GurnKiller.” For those of you outside the NYC plastic rocker scene, these are some of the best players around.
“Guys like Azuritereaction and GurnKiller, whose YouTube videos I used to watch in order to learn HOW to play Rock Band…needless to say, I was a little starstruck,” says Miguel. Their strategy became one of focus.
“We practiced Down With The Sickness until I could play the entire song without looking – seriously, we have footage of this – and then practiced some more,” Luca adds. “I knew we could score as well as anyone in the world on that tune if the stars aligned and we all had a great run of it, but like Miguel mentioned, the teams we were up against in that round were world-class players – consistent, if nothing else – and so the odds of us coming up and over them on tournament night were pretty low.”
“I was definitely confident in our overall skills and showmanship, but you NEVER know, especially when it comes down to judge’s opinions,” Chris points out. Good thing for them the judges liked what they saw.
Speaking of, erm, what the judges saw: costumes. How the heck did those come about? In case you haven’t had this image burned into your brain yet, here it is again.
“When the strategy is to ‘take it to the next level,’ then your regular shopping isn’t gonna cut it,” Chris says. “Major thanks to Tic Tac Toe (my favorite NY sex shop in the West Village) for providing us endless options for the drag outfits (pre- and during the run up), also Inven.tory in Soho for some awesome jeans and shirts.”
“For the finals, we knew we didn’t want to do the exact same costumes. We were close to doing ‘You Oughta Know’ for the finals, and were starting to make costumes for it, but then we decided that song might be a little to mellow for the instrument players and the costumes a little too boring,” Joel told me. “After a quick change to ‘Kids in America,’ we ran to the gift shop downstairs hoping for pastel shirts and shorts.”
“I can’t believe it turned out as well as it did, but then, that’s sort of the way the whole tournament went for us,” Luca says.
Now that they have $10,000 in prize money, what are they planning on doing with it?
“I’d like to go see my mom in Orlando and maybe the rest of my family in Puerto Rico,” Miguel says, prompting “awwwww”s from all the women in the room. “Maybe treat the GK army to nice meals for the next week or two. Those guys are all awesome.”
Chris has a solid plan. “Finally take my girlfriend Jess out (a veritable saint for putting up with soooooo much Rock Band).”
An ION drum kit and a real drum throne is Joel’s goal, which is already realized.
“I’ve just started playing real drums again after meeting Chris the night of the first competition – we’re in a metal band together now – and I’m thinking about a really nice electric kit so that I can practice on the off-nights,” Luca says. Anything else? “I missed my girlfriend’s graduation from her Doctoral program for the sake of the finals and probably have a lot of flowers to buy.” A fine idea, the room of women concur.
So is this the end of The Gurn Killers, the plastic rock band that could? Hell ‘naw.
“We are researching possible marketing opportunities for The Gurn Killers. We’d love to hear from MTV, Harrah’s and/or Harmonix to see how the GK army can help them spread the Rock Band gospel,” Miguel, who, by the way, can be reached at TheGurnKillers.com, says.
Joel agrees. “We will also be looking for other interesting opportunities to play Rock Band in front of people. All four of us are great friends, so we’ll be hanging out no matter what.”
“We’ll definitely be back at the Pourhouse on Tuesday to wrap the whole experience up with friends,” Luca adds. “We’re not splitting up just yet!”
“Expect a ton more stuff happening over the next few weeks as the our website ,” Chris promises.
The guys have a ton of people to thank, so get ready for some rapid-fire shout-outs: Brandon, Sarah, Dylan, Izzy, Moe, Megu, Sneezy, Chris, Ryan, Laura, Geo, Mario Speedwagon, James, Mark, Afshin, Shannon, Dave, Eric, Alex, Jess, Joyce, Dalia, the b-i-m band (Matt, Anthony, Jon, Jenna), Lisa, Dr. Iwalani Crush (the most understanding girlfriend in the world), the staff at Showboat and Harrah’s (Susan, Kaila, Mindy, Kathy, Kyle, Kerith), and Johnny Limo. Also, of course, there’s the Gurn Killer Army who cheered from the sidelines.
“Without them, we’d have been out of the competition long ago,” Luca says.
Miguel adds, “We certainly couldn’t have taken home the prize without their support.”
Your Blogmaster can attest that it’s been a crazy fun ride to the end of the tournament, and that the best may be yet to come. Thanks to everyone who makes Rock Band great, and congratulations to the Gurn Killers!
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