Gene Louis - Bullets & Octane/The Brave Ones - Interview Exclusive Print E-mail
Written by Dom Daley   
Tuesday, 23 August 2011 05:00

Jun_23_2011_326There are some musicians out there kicking it and keeping it real doing their thing but there is one that has captured the hearts and minds of more than one Uber Rocker through his various bands and solo projects. 


If you've seen any of his bands live you'll know what an electric and memorable frontman he is. With an insatiable appetite for songwriting, having released no less than five volumes of solo material, he is able to explore many sides of his musical taste whilst always keeping it noticeably Gene Louis. From the superb Bullets And Octane to the solo albums via the punked up Sex & Violence and the more countrified/roots The Brave Ones, Gene Louis is a supremely talented writer who shouldn't go unnoticed or ignored, If you're wondering who he is just go check some of his work out and open up a world of amazing music from an amazing talent. People, the words of Gene Louis Buerger.......


Let's start at the beginning, Gene. From looking on your website there was always music around you as a child so I'm thinking, having your dad play the drums, the family must have been very supportive of your career choice, right?


Ok, here we go. Ha ha. Yes, both of my parents are musicians - Mary my mother played piano and violin in the St Louis Symphony and my father Joe Buerger is still currently teaching and touring on the drums. He taught Dave Weckl back in the day for years. So yes, much love and support over the many years of this musical ride!! I never went to high school because I was playing drums in my father's band and my own terrible teenage bands, ha ha. 

Not only are you singer with some great bands but you also play a bunch of instruments as well. Did you always want to sing or were you more interested in sitting behind the kit or play the guitar?


As far as playing many instruments, I kinda consider myself a jack of all trades, master of none. I get burnt out and bored fast so it's always changing month to month, project to project. I'm much better at drums than any other instrument. As for guitar I'd say more of a songwriter than guitar shredder, it's more about rhythm than licks for me. As for singing, it's all about the 31139_115110828522281_100000700946157_126030_7759648_n-1melodic hook as apposed to lyrics, first approach. I never thought....I wanna sing! was more about presence, attitude, capturing the fan eye to eye. I don't consider myself to be a good singer. Vibe over technique with me for sure.

You're up to volume five on your solo recordings - when can we expect volume six and will it be similar in style? Songs like 'This Is Me' are superb and the acoustic band set up really works well. Will they ever come out on hard CD versions rather than just downloads? I used to love vinyl and would read album sleeves from cover to cover yet I always feel I'm missing something with just a download.


Solo records, yes planing a vol#6 by the new year. A bit more country flavoured striped and simple story telling. I would love, love, love, to put them out hard copies, vinyl would rule, but as we know being a broke musician makes physical product a no-go as of now.

When you're playing with, say, The Brave Ones how do you decide what band gets what song or is it a case of you write a song and it'll fit into the personality of Bullets rather than The Brave Ones?


Choosing which song goes with which project is kinda based on how riffing the guitar part I write is. It's usually easy, it's either super country open chords (The Brave Ones) or mega riffin' (Bullets) - No reason to over think it.


Is there less bullshit working with Brave Ones and Sex & Violence as compared to when you were signed to a major label with Bullets & Octane?


It's nice to hand over all the business to the suits and have some heavy connections powered by a big wallet, but it all gets confused, someone usually drops the ball and down it goes. Let's face it, DIY sucks as well; No money, no product, no connections. Man, it's a tough time for the music business.

You strike me as a guy who likes to keep busy and doesn't sit still much - would this be a fair assumption? Who are you currently playing with in your line-ups and when can we expect to see you visit the UK maybe for some Brave Ones dates?


The line-up for all my bands seem changing month to month, haha. Hard to keep quality players around when the money ain't coming in. As for plans for any touring - it's a fuckin' joke!!! Once again, no label, no money, no tour - simple facts!!

Bullets live were such an intense experience you gave no half measures when performing - how does it differ with you're playing the guitar in the Brave Ones? The last time I saw you was on the Gunfire 76 and Bullets And Octane tour and you absolutely stole the show and left quite an impression on those watching who perhaps didn't know what to expect. Any plans for more tour dates?


Yes, the Brave Ones live experience is a different animal than a Bullets show. Bullets is a drunken train wreck!! TB1'S is about stories, more songwriter calm. Ha ha!

With the way things are going with more and more record shops going and downloads seeming to be taking over bands and artists are taking up setting their own little cottage industries which can only be a good thing especially for underground music. Is 181610_102341239846301_100002112759862_21019_5964399_nit easier setting things up by yourself and using sites like Facebook to get the message out there and distributing the CDs and shirts yourselves? You get total control doing things this way and it seems someone like you are able to be as creative as you want. Do you feel there is more freedom now to make music without record execs having an input?


I like to just be the creative musician artist, I feel all the business just complicates my head. In a Gene Louis perfect world I would love to find management that could work all my projects properly while I focus on content, sounds and visuals. I am not afraid of creative criticism, getting direction, being a team player. Here are my records, work them!!

What is your most memorable achievement to date in music?


Achievement.....I guess watching my music video on MTV Headbanger's Ball was a childhood happened for me!! Making my parents proud of my sticking to this shitty business for many many hard dues paying years!! The few but special fans and friends that over the many years have told me how a song of mine helped them through a hard time.

If you had a few songs from each band you've got to impress a possible fan what would you play them? 


Oh man, which songs would I play to sum me up to someone???? Wow, (Gene Louis)...'This Is Me', 'The Revelry', 'These Are The Days'; (Bullets) 'Pirates', 'Going Blind', 'Save Me Sorrow', 'Caving In'; (T.B.1s) 'Street Rats', 'Filthy Wings', 'Round 'n' Round', 'Old Cafe'.


We run a section called Hell's Gigs which can also be used as some sort of confessional booth and an opportunity to exorcise a gig ghost. What's your best/worst story?


Stories......Well how about the truth??!! I'm super lost trying to figure out what to do with my sinking ship. I'm covered in tattoos, never went to high school, getting older with a shitty future if I don't figure out how to make music for a practical living, blah blah blah. I've worked on one thing my whole life, music, and that's who I am. It's a marriage!!! Take the good with the bad!!! Who wants to help???