It was pointed out to me by one of my readers that today marks the tenth anniversary of the death of lead singer and focal point Jerry Wick. In a moment I'll address more specifically the music that I'm sharing today, but I thought I would first offer these thoughts. Like most astute Gaunt listeners who lived outside the band's Columbus, OH radius, I became acquainted with the quartet not through their initial volley of locally issued singles, rather the Sob Story ep and the band's first official long player I Can See Your Mom From Here, and from that point I never lost a shred of interest in them. Bratty and raw, but insightful and relatively tuneful, Gaunt possessed the kind of chemistry (at least on vinyl) that any aspiring punk band would be thrilled to use as a template. Sonically they were a bristling cauldron of ferocity, angst and volume that was wholly indigenous, yet free of any esoteric indulgences. On stage they were even more explosive than on tape, and the culmination of any given performance resonated far beyond the temporary case of tinnitus they were so adept at inflicting.
I saw Gaunt twice, and though I had ample opportunity to introduce myself to the band, I passed. Never had a conversation with Jerry, or so much as submitted a fan letter. No drooling fanboy adoration here, just a sincere respect for the group's music and down to earth ethos. Nevertheless, when I learned on January 11, 2001 that he was the victim of a hit and run accident while bicycling home in the small hours of the night before, I was instantly dumbstruck and gutted. I was the one that broke the news to a number of my friends, mostly via email. I recall getting home from work that night and scouring the web for any more info on the circumstances of his death, looking for a 'chatroom' or a 'thread' where I could share my thoughts. I did find a site where I was able to leave condolences for his family, and I left it at that.
To the credit of his surviving bandmates, they've had the decency and integrity not to cash-in on his passing with posthumous albums, dvds and so forth, though any Wick related material left in the vaults would be a welcome noise to my ears. It was my understanding that Gaunt had already parted ways after their third album and major label bow, Bricks and Blackouts failed to catch fire in the post-grunge/nu-metal ether of it's era. I've read from multiple sources that Wick was dissatisfied with the production of the album, and was still smarting from the experience two years on. At any rate, Gaunt left behind a robust recorded legacy - and an almost entirely respectable one at that, even if there were few Gaunt converts after the fact.