Distinctly 90’s Sound: Gas Huffer

I can’t stress this enough. If I could go back in time to see just one band live, I wouldn’t go to see Led Zeppelin. I wouldn’t watch Nirvana. Hell, not even GG Allin.

I’d watch Gas Huffer.

I was first exposed to Gas Huffer with the Punk-o-rama compilations that came out with Epitaph, so I was a late bloomer with the Huffer appreciation. But once this band blew out my speakers, I started getting an obsession of hearing as much Huffer as possible.

Gas Huffer was started by Tom Price (of the late great U-Men), Matt Wright, Don Blackstone and Joe Newton in 1989.

While being a Seattle band, their sound was not grunge. These days I know why my second favorite band is The Cramps, and the musical equivalence between the two is undeniable in my opinion. The garage/surf sound delivers raw passion unlike most genres. But it’s only the few excellent garage bands that deliver the proper humor and intelligence which compliments the rawness perfectly. Gas Huffer and the Cramps are two of those bands.

While starting out with a dirtier sound in the first 2 LPs on Empty Records, the releases at Epitaph and Estrus moved to a more catchy and slicker sound. I can’t name one Gas Huffer album that is the best, but I’d say the 3rd through the 6th are all perfect albums.

(What I call a perfect album is one that I enjoy every single track of, and the order of which makes sense. The New York Dolls’ “s/t”, Earth’s “2”, and Helms Alee’s “Night Terror” are just a few of not-so-long a list of perfect albums, in my opinion.)

Tom Price’s guitar work is a style I’d kill for. I’d say subconsciously, Matt Wright’s voice and look is partly the reasons for my 12 year-old sideburns. Don’s bass is just groovy as hell, and besides Joe’s kicking drumwork, his artwork is just my style. spot on. (Check out his website for current work http://josephnewton.com/)

These days I own all Huffer LPs on vinyl and Cd, as well as most of their EPs/singles. It took me some time to find their only video release, and luckily, all the vinyls I purchased had the comic book in them, which is just so original and rewarding for the fans of the band. I talked with Monster Magnet’s Dave Wyndorf about such a thing for his band, and being a huge comic fan himself, he really liked the idea and said he’s definitely going to pursue it.

Unfortunately the Jekyll and Hyde Show started a year after the breakup of Gas Huffer. While we have played their music in the past 4 years, no interviews have been made, though I’ve tried to contact a couple of the band members in this time. If such an interview would be possible, I know we’d do them justice.

Here’s to the best band that most people never knew.

Gas Huffer.

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5 thoughts on “Distinctly 90’s Sound: Gas Huffer

  1. Hey Oren,

    I googled “Tom Price Gas Huffer guitar” to see if there was anything about the rig he used–i think Les Paul guitar. I really enjoy his guitar work/sound, too, as well as the band in general. I got into them circa ’97, but unfortunately never got to see them. I think Tom has a relatively new project going called Tom Price Desert Classic. Thanks for the post, these guys are definitely underrated, but most people are lemmings and couldn’t tell a great band from horrible one.

    Best,

    Wingaddict

  2. Yeah, I heard about the Tom Price Desert Classic, and they even have a 7″ out.

    Funny thing is after writing this post I continued to search for the members of the band and was fortunate to find Matt Wright. He informed me of Tom’s new band (which also features Don Blackstone) and said the band would be happy to do an interview.

    Yeah, this is happening very soon, and must be the personal highlight of my radio-broadcasting career.

    stay tuned,

    -Oren

  3. whoa! thats some ego stroking reading for my friday morning. to wingaddict: toms guitar sound comes out of his magic fingers. i’ve been playing in bands with tom (or watching the UMEN) since the early 80s and i can truthfully say he gets “his” sound out of whatever rig/guitar combo he uses. cant wait for the interview oren, love to talk about ourselves and our “huge” “contribution” to punk music in the 90s. its much more gratifying to think of myself as an elderstatesman of rock than a pathitic aging psuedo hipster. talk to ya soon. D.

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