banner ad
banner ad
banner ad

A Dirty Dozen with KRIS GUSTAFSON from TRAUMA – September 2022

| 1 September 2022 | Reply

According to a recent press release regarding the band’s new album: “This collection of tracks was being written during some dark times for the band, and the world as a whole: It was 2020 during the pandemic that most of this music was created. The band collectively worked very hard to contribute and write music that best represents the band as of now. This collection of music is in a much heavier vein than TRAUMA’s last album As The World Dies. There is much to be absorbed here. Fast heavy guitar riffs, pounding drums, thundering bass, and to top it off killer vocals. To sum up Awakening, heavy metal fans from around the globe will be able to sink their teeth into a heavy metal feast for ALL!” We get drummer Kris Gustafson to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Awakening is TRAUMA’s 4th studio album to date. We are very excited for people to hear it. It was recorded during the 2020-2021 pandemic when all things were fucked up. I think musically it is a strong album. It may take a couple listens to grasp what is there. It is a lot heavier than previous TRAUMA albums and with Brian Allen on vocals it fucking ROCKS!

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Well, that was some time ago. My father was a jazz drummer. When I was a kid, he would bring me to some of his gigs and I would watch and listen for hours. That is where it all started from. I just practiced my ass off until I started playing in garage bands then clubs. Drums are my life.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

My first concert I saw when I was 14-15 years old was KISS. I was totally blown the fuck away. They were larger than life! I had practiced to many different albums when I got into it. Jazz music was number one. I listened to everything I could get my hands on. When I saw Song Remains The Same from Zeppelin for the first time. Wow. What a band! There have been so many bands that I went to see that were just fantastic. One band that still to this day stands out to me was when I saw METALLICA at the Old Waldorf in San Francisco, I was blown away by their raw energy. I knew on that night that they were going to be a big thing.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Oh wow, that is a tough one. I would have to say Randy Rhodes. He was brilliant. Totally fucking insane guitarist. He had his own style that was something else. Off the hook!! There are so many greats that that would be a hard one to do.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour? What do you like to do to unwind?

I live up in the mountains of Lake Tahoe. I like to walk my dogs, hang with family, and go out in my boat to unwind. I am pretty low key when not doing music. I also work on houses and things like that. I stay pretty busy with a ton of other stuff.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Besides TRAUMA, I have played in many other bands from Jazz, blues, Rock. I would say TRAUMA’s music is Bay area Thrash metal. I’ve had others say that it reminds them of Judas Priest, Maiden, Sabbath, and a host of others. With anything, once the critic’s get a hold of something it is opening Pandora’s box on what they think. I’ve seen many negative reviews in my career, I don’t really remember any particular one that made me say oh wow we fucking suck! You have to be happy with what you’re doing and just not over think anything too much because it will drive you nuts trying to figure out why someone thinks a certain way. You either like it or you don’t, then move on.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Ha, this is a good one. We all know how to cook, but when we are on the road, we really don’t have time to cook for ourselves. It is taken care of, or we go out to eat. Many of us don’t drink anymore so there’s that. If we have days off which doesn’t happen very often when your touring, we may have an acoustic jam of some sort, but most choose to sleep or get caught up with shit at home.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Pre-Covid I went to see Aerosmith; I went to get some drinks at the bar and low and behold standing there by himself was David Coverdale. I went up to him and thanked him for all his music and years he has done it. Super cool guy. I was almost going to say to him if you ever need a drummer I will work for free, but he had Tommy Aldridge in the band so that would not have been appropriate, so I didn’t. I’ve met Tommy before and he is super cool and a fantastic drummer!

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

I have been at this a very long time. I would honestly have to say it is the people that you meet. I have met some very interesting people on this journey. Musicians are very fun people to hang with! As far as a dream job, I would have to say a marine biologist I love the Ocean.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Hmm, nothing in particular, Most all ask the right questions. As far as questions I am tired of is answering questions about TRAUMA’s former bassist. Cliff Burton. I get why people want to know about him, however, I was not in the band in those years. Donny Hillier was, and he passed away in 2020. He was the guy to ask.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Yes, waiting for too long to put TRAUMA back together was a mistake. In 1986 everyone just parted ways. There was no direction from the label we were signed to. I wish we would have stuck it out, but I moved to Los Angeles and got involved in studio work and other things and played in bands seeking the lucrative big dollar recording contract and all that bullshit that now means nothing. I cannot turn the clock back. Over the years I had played gigs and had been on tour and people asked me. Why don’t you put TRAUMA back together. The only way that was going to happen was a good reason to do it. So in 2013. We re-released Scratch and Scream through Mike Varney and he said we should have a band to play live if there is a demand. So we did. As far as anything else I have been blessed and very lucky to being moving forward with everything.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Good question, I would have to say any of Led Zeppelin’s records. Their music to me was magical. It just flowed with such melody, power. That is why they sold over 300 million albums. Times were different back then. Now you have pro tools and computers and bullshit. Those albums were all recorded raw on twenty-four track tape machines. A completely different vibe and the band was able to just do whatever the fuck they wanted to do. No barriers. There are too many bands from that time that I still really like.






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

Leave a Reply

Please verify you\'re a real person: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

banner ad
banner ad