The rocky yet punky feel of Seattle band The Finger Guns has seen the trio conjure up their very own musical genre of “punk’n’roll.” From that terminology, you can probably guess that their music is fast, raucous and a bit angsty.
The latest taster of this sound is new EP Blowsy, which was released in July. The band sent us Go Away to have a listen to, which typifies their lively, fast-paced punky feel. Little drum rolls open up, are joined by a little bassline, then guitar sounds, a cry of “1,2,3,4” then it launches into an upbeat opening verse “I forgot what I did yesterday, Getting old is weird they say, And I don’t care if I get better, I don’t wanna be unkind, But I really don’t mind, Always sit and hear your story.”
That flows into a big shoutalong chorus “Life is short and we’ve gotta pretend that we all matter in the end, Throw a party ’cause this can all go away,” with lively drums, then jumps straight back into another lively verse. A second chorus gives way to punky chords, then a quick solo flows into one final blast of the chorus. Give it a listen below:
We had a chat with frontman Steve Bergstrom to find out more about the band. Read on below…
GR: Who are The Finger Guns?
SB: “The Finger Guns are: Steve Bergstrom (vocals and guitar), Eric Chapman (drums), and Arthur Hagman (bass and vocals). We are from Seattle, Washington.
“We started playing together about nine years ago. Arthur and I (Steve) had played in a band together in the 90’s and remained friends. One day, we were chatting via IM and Arthur mentioned that he wanted to get back into the scene in a band with more of a punk influence. I was playing in another band but told him I was in. He reached out to Eric, who he knew from other bands that he had shared shows with. One week later we agreed to meet up and jam on Addicted To Cheese by the Evaporators and Hopeless Romantic by Bouncing Souls. The rest is history.”
GR: You just released Go Away. What should people be expecting from the song? And what inspired it?
SB: “People should expect two minutes, twenty-five seconds of fun and celebration of getting to wake up every day. It’s meant to make you drive fast and sing loud. It’s loud, fast, upbeat, and full of a good time.”
“The inspiration is a harder one. When we were writing the record we had a number of friends in our circle experience bad situations and loss. Also looming is the unfortunate reality that things in society aren’t great right now. People are fighting. People are meaner. It’s kinda dark right now for many people, even getting up and talking to others is hard. The writing of this song was a bit of a cathartic way of recognizing that many of us still have it very good and life is short. Get out and have some fun as this ride can end quick.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
“That is always the loaded question now, isn’t it? We’ve co-opted the genre ‘Punk n Roll’ for our sound because while we certainly feel we aren’t a true punk band, we can hang with the fastest and crusty of three-chord bands that we play with. Our sounds can span from a country/rockabilly vibe clear through to metal and rock influences, but largely revolve around a classic punk verse-chorus-verse formula. We all grew up in with the Seattle grunge scene exploding around us and we’d be lying if we said that wasn’t an influence.
“The greatest thing though is, as we span these genres, it’s allowed us to play with bands and in settings that otherwise might be a poor fit for a band that strictly adheres to the genre. We always strive to be contextual with our sets and ‘play to the crowd/venue.'”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
SB: “Observation. For things that are close to us, we tend to write in metaphors. What we don’t like is what we call ‘Advice Rock’ meaning yelling out what others should do.
“We are out and about all the time and a big part of our live shows is to get out and meet everyone who we are playing for or with. You can learn a lot about people by removing the ‘ME’ factor and ask questions about them. You can really meet some cool and inspiring people by just asking what their story is. There is even a line in Go Away ‘But I’ll always sit and hear your story.’
“A deeper dive into the songs on this album shows a bit of regret, the inability to control situations that you’d love to, and finally a kind of ‘who cares, let’s party’ influence.
“With all of that said, we don’t need to preach to you on whatever hot button issue there is today. It’s not that we aren’t passionate and we will fight but there are way better and more eloquent people to preach than us. We are here to play well, play very hard, give a good show, and maybe give a fellow person a hand up if they need it.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
SB: “The Bouncing Souls, Red City Radio, Bob Mould, The Gaslight Anthem, and Social Distortion. We tend to be more punk-influenced but also love things like Guns & Roses, the Foo Fighters, and even 80’s metal.
“For Eric, Travis Barker is a huge influence. I’m more of a Bob Mould/Mick Mars/Johnny Thunders kinda guy. Arthur is more of a bass sponge with influences that span everything music.”
GR: What have you got coming up through the rest of 2019?
SB: “The rest of 2019 is going to rock. We have a bunch of regional shows and are working to get into other cities before the snow starts flying (which makes travel a total pain). You can check out our website at thefingerguns.com for dates and locations.
“We do have a bit of a change though. Our bass player (Arthur) who is on the album is going to spend more time with his family so we have a very talented interim bass player named Kyle Curnutt sit in for all of the rest of the shows. He and Arthur have already traded shows and we will have no problem keeping the same level of quality and showmanship that we do for all of our live gigs. Arthur will still be involved with us in some aspects and we respect and love him.
“We are also putting bigger focus on streaming services and working to get on playlists. Longer-term, we love cranking out our EP’s so we will more than likely end up starting 2020 with doing some recording and working at an EP or a split 7-inch.”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
SB: “We love doing music. We love meeting people. Come on out to a show and say ‘hi.’ Hit us up online and say ‘hi.’ Life is too short to not get out and experience the world.”