A Few Minutes with Nick Gorvik of Trigger Hippy coming to Woodstock November 2nd

Nippertown Publisher Jim Gilbert recently had the opportunity to sit down with Nick Gorvik, bassist from the band Trigger Hippy. Nick and the band will be performing at the Levon Helms Studios on Saturday, November 2, 2019.

Here’s some excerpts from the interview.

Jim: I appreciate you taking the time to talk with us. I know you guys are getting ready to get out there and start touring. You must be busy.

Nick: Yeah. I was actually just at Target trying to pick up some toiletries for the tour.

Jim: Are you guys kicking the tour off in Woodstock?

Nick: Yes, it’s the first show. We played at Levon Helm’s back in 2014, when we did two nights there.

Jim: What a great place to start a tour.

Nick: I’m thrilled to be playing there. Levon Helm is a hero of mine, and just to be up there in that area is special.

Jim: So when you guys started this project, it was sort of a supergroup with Jackie (Greene), Joan (Osborne), Steve (Gorman) and yourself. Now it’s a little more of a ‘band’. Is it more cohesive? Will this be the line up going forward?

Nick: Whenever you embark on a new relationship, you hope it is going to last forever! (both men laugh) We had this going on for a long time, Steve and I. Joan and Jackie were in the group, but we had other musicians in before too. But it was always Steve and I. Having different people come and go wasn’t a big deal, it just added to the experience.

Photo by Scott Willis Photography

Jim: You guys come from different backgrounds. When I hear you sing, I hear blues. Amber is soul, and Steve sounds more southern rock. How did that meld together in the studio?

Nick: We all had the same roots and foundation, so it came together as a nice blend of voices. We each have a different take on stuff, and I believe that makes American music what it is. We do play all roots music, and it comes together nicely.

Jim: The new album sounds great. I enjoy your tone, especially when you harmonize. How do you decide who leads on which vocals? I know Amber is officially lead, but you seem to take turns.

Nick: Depending on who brings the song to the band, we each may take a turn at it. Some songs we discuss sounding good for Amber, or another musician. When we write a tune, someone just initially takes the lead because they feel in tune with the song itself.

Jim: You were the primary songwriter for this album?

Nick: Yes, I wrote most of the album. Just like being in a relationship, we’ve all been on either side of the coin. So it seems quite easy for me to write for a female voice as much as a male voice. I like writing something and seeing how someone else interprets it too.

Jim: When she (Amber) sings it definitely feels like it came from her, too. You guys are picking cities and venues that are classic hangouts for other musicians to pop in. Do you anticipate being joined by any musicians on this tour?

Nick: Not that I know of, but who knows! You never know with rock ‘n roll. People show up, and if it presents itself in the right way, it can be fun to have people sit in. American roots (music) invites that too.

Jim: Yeah absolutely. The new album was released two and a half weeks ago. What are your goals with this album? Your first single, “Don’t Bring You Down,” was the first one released.

Nick: We are traveling and promoting this album, and the tour is definitely around the album. We put out four songs leading up to the album, but we were kind of pushing the single “Don’t Bring You Down” with the video and such. We are just looking to get out there and bring the music to the people and just enjoy it.

Jim: You looking forward to Woodstock?

Nick: Yes, I am. I’m hoping to eat some good food, drink some wine.

Jim: I highly recommend The Colony. It’s a great place that been really building new energy. We are gaining a lot of energy for roots music upstate. We are lucky to see these great musicians come through like Trigger Hippy. There’s seems to be an unusual emphasis on bass and drums. What were your interests and influences?

Nick: Like most professional musicians, I play a number of instruments. I play guitar; I’m terrible at the banjo, I’m terrible at the mandolin, and I’m terrible at the piano. When I pick those instruments up to see what’s going to happen, it isn’t much!

Some of my heroes are Fats Domino and Chuck Berry. He (Fats Domino) was huge influence as a youngster, and I saw him when I was seven. I saw Chuck Berry when I was 10, and you know, it was way past his prime, but I really was inspired.

Jim: That’s funny, we saw the same musicians growing up! They were at county fairs growing up that my parents dragged me to.

Nick: Right! At county fairs…They were still at that point in time making a living, doing the circuit, but seeing guys like that. I always gravitated toward rockabilly music, blues and R&B. I had a huge R&B background.

My dad was a musician. Growing up, he was playing a lot of western swing, and I have that background as well.

Two of my heroes are Levon Helm and I loved Townes Van Zandt. Good party music, that stuff.

Jim: Yeah, it’s all American music. It all blends together, right?

Nick: Yes, if you watch Ken Burns’ county music documentary –

Jim: I just watched that.

Nick: The whole thing?

Jim: Yep, all 16 hours.

Nick: It took me a long time to see how really the genesis of this music have really simple, although very complex, history. I mean its really just a few people in the right place at the right time, and this whole genre of music and the whole culture of country was founded. A lot of the early musicians in country and folk musicians couldn’t be told apart. It wasn’t until the business aspect got into it that they chopped it up to make genres for marketing purposes. But it is all the same.

Jim: Yeah, that’s only two kinds of music – good music and bad music. I just saw a heavier band here in Albany, and then listened to some bluegrass.

Nick: I’m not a big fan of heavier stuff, but I do really value more hardcore bands. I am a fan of the more underground, hardcore bands. When I was in my early 20s, there was not much of a music scene. If you wanted to go see live music, you had to go see hair bands or underground punk bands or hardcore bands. Those bands, like Bad Brains, got me back into music. I was in college and had stopped really being interested in music, but the realness of those bands really got me back into music.

Jim: I love those bands. I think Darryl Jenifer, from Bad Brains, lives in Woodstock now.

Nick: Oh cool. I was trying to explain to my son about that band. He isn’t familiar with those types of bands, and I try to tell him, man, you have to believe me. If you saw them in a club playing the way they were 20 years ago, it would blow your fucking mind. I tell him, you don’t understand. You’d be a completely transformed human being.

Interested fans should plan to stop in Levon Helm’s Studio in Woodstock on Saturday for Trigger Hippy’s first stop on this tour. There’s a good likelihood you will be transformed by Trigger Hippy, too!

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