Category Archives: GTG House Shows

GTG Feature In City Pulse!

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Big thanks to Dylan Tarr and City Pulse for this excellent piece about the 10th anniversary of GTG Records! Follow the link here or read the whole piece below!

A Decade of GTG Records

Local Lansing record label celebrates a productive anniversary year

BY DYLAN TARR

Lansing’s GTG Records put out 16 records this year. That’s over 150 songs and more than 10 hours of music. If you wanted to, you could drive all the way to Tennessee listening to nothing but GTG releases from this year alone. For a record label based out of a house that City Pulse once named “Eyesore of the Week,” that’s a lot of music. And honestly, it’s a lot of music no matter what your headquarters look like.

“This was sort of a special thing,” said GTG co-founder Tommy McCord, also known as Tommy Plural, admitting they don’t usually release a terabyte of music in 12 months. “We decided that since it was the 10th working year of the label we wanted to celebrate it.”

McCord traces the beginnings of GTG Records back to 2007, when he and his bandmates, Hattie Danby and Nicholas Richard, put out the Plural’s first EP.

“We first used it as a way to release our demos and our friends’ demos on CD-Rs,” said McCord. “In 2007 we put out an EP called ‘Professor Nanners,’ and that was the first time we had a professional company manufacture the CDs.”

Since then, with 10 years on the record and over 100 releases, the label has taken on a life of its own, McCord said, describing it as more of a collective of local musicians than a business.

“I knew bands would be putting things out this year and I thought if I reached out to a few more people I could figure out one release a month,” said McCord. “We ended up doubling up in some of those months because there was so much happening.”

If you still have some reservations about a record label run out of a dilapidated house on the east side of Lansing, you shouldn’t. This is exactly where the music you eventually love comes from.

Def Jam started in Rick Rubin’s dorm room while he was a student at NYU. Bruce Pavitt dubbed together compilation tapes for an obscure fanzine that later turned into Sup Pop. It doesn’t matter if bands are recording in a sound proofed studio in L.A. or in a Michigan basement between noon and 11 p.m. to comply with noise regulations; great music is great music.

City Mouse’s “Get Right,” released in November on GTG, sounds like the band Sleater Kinney could have been if they didn’t lose their razor-sharp teeth immediately after their first album. GTG’s first release of 2017, The Hunky Newcomers live album, “Harder Stuff Dude,” sounds like Black Flag in an alternate universe where Greg Ginn actually possesses a sense of humor.

And the Hat Madder’s fourth release on GTG, “Rotting On the Vine,” is a proggy, Mars Volta-like record without any of the step-dad connotations that prog-rock often comes with.

I could go on comparing GTG bands to other famous bands you’ve heard of to convince you that Lansing’s music scene is undeniably important, but I won’t because that’s a job McCord happens to be very good at.

“I’ll be honest, I tour the country for large parts of the year and I see cool bands everywhere,” McCord said. “But I feel like the concentration of cool bands in Lansing is higher than anywhere else, and I really don’t think it’s because I’m a hometown pride person. There are just a lot of cool weird things here.”

And with a surplus of cool, weird things to foster in Lansing, McCord said that GTG as an organization simply becomes whatever it needs to be to do its job.

“It’s like what do you want to do as a band,” McCord said. “If the band’s not going to play shows very much we’ll have a mostly digital release and a small run of CDs to have at the release party.”

Similarly, if a band intends on touring and playing out constantly, GTG puts out vinyl releases too.

“With the Plurals, we noticed on tour that bands who had a 7 inch or a 12 inch seemed like they were always selling them,” McCord said. “I was like, we can get in on this, right?” he laughed.

But pressing vinyl is expensive. While this might dissuade other independent labels, McCord only laughed and said, “no one gets rich off this stuff.” And besides, he said, “Records just look sweet. It’s cool to look at it and just to know your music is on it.”

GTG has evolved with the scene, picking up the slack where Lansing’s shortcomings wear even thinner.

“Around 2009, a lot of local venues closed so we started to do more house shows. All ages spaces and intimate venues for touring bands who might not get a lot of people out at Mac’s Bar are important,” said McCord, referring to the GTG House, the label’s headquarters and inclusive local venue.

GTG does the dirty work, too. That’s right, they book tours, a nightmarish process few bands attempt and even fewer succeed at.

“It’s really hard to make people give a shit about you if they don’t know who you are,” said Isaac Vander Schuur, front man in the Hat Madder and GTG engineer. “There’s definitely a lot that the label can provide as far as making sure your tours get booked and you’re not thrown to the wolves out on the road.”

GTG helped book the Hat Madder’s recent west coast tour, insuring Vander Shuur and his bandmates weren’t driving 2,000 miles just to play to a different empty room each night.

Sure, GTG Records can pack out a venue, make sure you not only survive on tour but thrive, all while manufacturing and distributing your record, but what about all the hopeless losers like me and you who aren’t in a band? What’s GTG doing for us besides eating up all the space on our Zunes?

“My goal is to show people there’s a lot of great music being made out there and that it’s still possible to have fun in America in the Trump Administration,” McCord said.

“It’s really important in times of discontent to have an outlet for expressing your frustrations and opening up communication with more people,” said McCord. “Shows with a positive energy are great ways to meet people and find more allies for your cause.”

And whatever your stance on safe spaces is, I’m sure we can all agree seeing a show without getting punched out or molested by some creep is preferable if not important.

“You get all these people in a room together and everybody just enjoys each other’s company, you can really tell,” said Vander Schuur. “When you play a show in front of a GTG audience you get an inspiring vibe back from them, even if you’re not having your best night. They still have your back front and center, waiting to see what you’re going to do next. That’s why I started playing music in the first place and that’s why I’m still doing it, because I’m a part of this label.”

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April 2017!! Lansing shows! Mini-Honah Lee Mini-Tour! Stoopfest!! More!!

Lots of great shows in Lansing this month!

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Here’s a list of every GTG related show happening around the US this month, got some tour dates from a duo lineup of Honah Lee, plus the first road dates from Dim’s new band Alpha Rabbit. One of those dates is the Tommy Plural CD release!

4/6 – Tim & Dim (Honah Lee) w/ Alpha Rabbit @ Mill Hill Basement (Trenton, NJ)
4/7 – Tim & Dim (Honah Lee) w/ Alpha Rabbit @ 123 Pleasant St (Morgantown, WV)
4/7 – Small Parks @ The Avenue Cafe (Lansing, MI)
4/8 – Tim & Dim (Honah Lee) w/ Alpha Rabbit @ GTG House – TOMMY PLURAL CD RELEASE PARTY!
4/8 – The Stick Arounds @ New Dodge Lounge (Hamtramck, MI)
4/9 – Tim & Dim (Honah Lee) w/ Alpha Rabbit @ Northside Yacht Club (Cincinnati, OH)
4/11 – The Hat Madder @ Trumbellplex (Detroit, MI)
4/12 – The Plurals @ The Workshop (Grand Rapids, MI)
4/13 – The Plurals @ The Sanctuary (Detroit, MI)
4/14 – The Plurals @ The Avenue Cafe (Lansing, MI)
4/20 – Narc Out the Reds @ Mulligan’s Pub (Grand Rapids, MI)
4/21 – Narc Out the Reds @ Quality Beet (Michigan City, IN)
4/22 – STOOPFEST 2017 (Lansing)
4/23 – The Hat Madder @ The Green Door (Lansing, MI)
4/25 – GTG House Show w/ Disappointed Dad, Fever Hands, Blaine
4/26 – The Hat Madder @ The Fledge (Grand Ledge, MI)
hl-ar
Stoopfest is gonna be sick too!
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Whoo!!

Let’s Get Some Color In Here!

Tommy Plural BANNER
More info next week! Release party event here!

YES! (GTG Fest / Small Parks/ The Stick Arounds)

GTG Fest 2016: SUCCESS! Soooooo many good times. Thanks so much to The Avenue Cafe, all the raffle donors, the attendees, the bands, the city of Lansing… everyone! GTG Fest 2016 was the biggest year yet for us and we can’t wait to see what the future holds! Even if right now we’re all still nursing our sore bodies and unraveled minds! That’s how you know it’s a fest weekend!

This weekend was also really important to us because we released two new LPs and in the process had two more bands join our family! Small Parks released their debut LP “Honest Light” on vinyl (it came out digitally in the spring but now it’s a for-real real record!) Friday night, with The Stick Arounds following suit with the release of their debut (recorded live at the much beloved and missed Mystery Garage) LP “Mystery Garage” on Saturday night. Two different perspectives of the Michigan DIY community, many styles and sounds, and all good, honest pure-GTG Records goodness. You can order ’em at our store right now!

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Expect further updates on these two great bands and more info on their records in the coming days. It was a great weekend and there’s still so much to take in! Good times.

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Drinking Mercury is playing a show!

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I get excited about every show I play. You never know how a show is really going to go, it could look like it’ll be a great crowd and then the response is tepid… the room could be empty before you start and then suddenly fill up with enthusiastic, awesome people. The band could be a well-oiled machine but then inexplicably fall off the rails for no real reason, or you could be under-rehearsed and then totally nail the set. Every show has the promise of something new and exciting and I hope that never changes.

This Friday I’ll be playing the first proper show in over two years by my very first band Drinking Mercury. We’re playing at GTG House with Brook Pridemore, Elroy Meltzer, and Rent Strike. This band has continued to exist for over 16 years because the sheer joy of making music together is something that we can’t get away from and even when we don’t do anything for extended periods of time we can always pick it back up where we left off. We’re currently recording for a new split LP that we’ll all be talking about plenty in the not-too-distant future but as is the nature of the band it could be another little while before we play live again and, well, playing live is incomparable to anything else. Get some insights into our recording and rehearsal process on the band facebook page and try and get as excited as us.

I don’t really have more to add. Just excited! Being excited is cool, right? Kids still use that word still… “cool”? – Tommy

Logan & Lucille!

On tour now!

On tour now!

In 2011 The Plurals went on our first “long” tour. We had made it a regular thing to do some long weekend to 10 day trips out to the east coast a couple times a year since 2007, largely to keep up with our friends that eventually formed into Honah Lee, but in the summer of 2010 on a whim I hit up a guy named Billy in Tucson, AZ to see if we could play a little festival he was putting together for April 2011 called Way Out West Fest. Billy said what few others before or since have said and said that, yes, he would have The Plurals on his inaugural festival and suddenly we had to book a tour to the southwest. And, well, since we were going that far we might as well book the west coast too. This first west coast tour was a turning point for The Plurals and was definitely many learning experiences crammed into a short period of time but the end result was that we were hungry to play for as many new audiences as we could and we haven’t really let up sense.

Though the intervening years have been a bit rough on us.

Though the intervening years have been a bit rough on us.

We wouldn’t have had such a positive experience if it weren’t for the new friends we made along the way, and one of the first was Logan Greene. When we  rolled up to Tucson, AZ for the first time on April 8th, 2011 we were among the first people to show up for the fest. We went to meet up with Billy at a bar called The Hut, a Caribbean-themed college bar on the “main college drag” of Tucson; a bar we would not be frequenting were it not, perhaps bafflingly, hosting this weekend-long DIY punk fest. Sitting outside the bar was a guy with red hair and glasses and he made it a point to introduce himself to us straight away. His name was Logan and he was, as he put it, “one of the only actual local musicians playing the fest.” He didn’t say this vindictively, more just pointing it out matter-of-factly, and I knew I had met a kindred spirit right away. I have often expressed frustration at how bigger music events in the Lansing area don’t often include the musicians that make cool and interesting things happen on the day-to-day ground level and also how it’s a rare thing for a band that achieves a level of success to actually give back to the local community, so I understood Logan’s point. Logan also had pushed for their to be an all ages venue for the fest and I could see he was gunning for the fest to be as big and great as possible and that he wasn’t interested in just joining the party.

But I might have been wrong.

But I might have been wrong.

As the first Way Out West Fest went on we made a lot of friends, saw a lot of tropical mixed drinks consumed after the bar had failed to order an adequate amount of cheap beer, saw a lot of great bands, and also witnessed the phenomenon of people being unable to bounce back from partying too hard and missing large portions of the fest. Our set came in the middle of day two and we were in a little bit of a blackout area (maybe in more ways than one…) after everyone had crashed for the afternoon but before they had left the hotel to check out the evening performances (which included Tiltwheel, Toys That Kill, and Lenguas Largas… yeah, this was a good lineup!). So, we didn’t have a huge audience for our set but one of the people that made it a point to show up and bring as many people along as he could was Logan. Later on he played with his band The Bricks, and the next day he did an acoustic set with his band Doctor Dinosaur. I’ll just put it this way: the guy knows his way around a tune, and his friendly demeanor doesn’t hurt anything. A few days later when we got to San Pedro for the fist time and met our future band brothers Black Sparrow Press we noticed that there was a painting on their wall that someone had done of Logan playing an acoustic set at one of their house shows. Things like this let you immediately know that you’re among friends.

I wasn't able to find the portrait in question online anywhere, but this one may say more than I ever could.

I wasn’t able to find the portrait in question online anywhere, but this one may say more than I ever could.

Over the years we crossed paths many more times, for Way Out West Fest 2012 and then just for Plurals tour dates in Tucson. I learned that Logan spent time as a music teacher, knew a lot of other musicians that I had respect for, and he eventually started a label called Diet Pop Records with his girlfriend Lucille Petty. In 2013 I did the “excuse to travel to California in the winter for as little money as possible” solo acoustic tour and Logan and I met up for a batch of dates in Arizona and California and sharing the stage with him for a few nights I learned a lot about how to present music in an acoustic format and I left the experience with some new songs written. In 2014 Diet Pop Records starting a cool video series called Trundle Sessions and were kind enough to invite The Plurals along to film a performance. Finally, as The Plurals imminent third album An Onion Tied To My Belt was nearing completion Diet Pop agreed to be one of the labels to help put it out. We really are family now!


So, the latest Logan Greene incarnation is a musical duo with Lucille called, get this, Logan & Lucille. They’re in the middle of a long international tour and GTG House is hosting them on FRIDAY JUNE 26TH, just a couple days after their return from the European leg. I’m really looking forward to showing my friends what we have here in Lansing and I hope everyone else can join me!

– Tommy Plural

Better? Days

Better? Days