Gary Minkler /  Seattle  Art School Soul
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Gary Minkler

Art School Soul
Seattle

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Singer for legendary Northwest band Red Dress, his first solo CD perhaps a soulful taste of Van Morrison if recorded by Waits and Zappa..

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Great Article on Gary Minkler and Red Dress — 11/07/2014

Super fine lowdown on Mr. Minkler by the estimable Frank Gutch in the Segarini: Don’t Believe a Word I Say blog (Dissecting Pop Culture Since 2011. Great Music. Great Stories. Great Googa Mooga.)

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The Gary Minkler Combination - I'm A Case...

The Gary Minkler Combination - I'm A Case

The Gary Minkler Combination live @ Egan's Ballard Jam House Album available at http://www.greenmonkeyrecords.com Video shot by Jerry Massie September 31, 20...

Art Zone Shuffle: The Gary Minkler Combo play 'Counterfeit Life'...

Art Zone Shuffle: The Gary Minkler Combo play 'Counterfeit Life'

Red Dress front man and song poet Gary Minkler launches a new project, 'Little Trailer Ruby'. Testing the waters on Art Zone, the Gary Minkler Combination (Bill Bagley, John Stephan, Walt Singleman, Marty Vadalabene, Jed Jedrzjewski and Rudy Harper) paint a version of 'Counterfeit Life'. Originally recorded May 28, 2013 for Art Zone with Nancy Guppy.

REV Red Dress and closing segment 1983...

REV Red Dress and closing segment 1983

REV host Roger Fisher introduces local band Red Dress for the final segment of this 1983 episode.

Gary Minkler | Gary Minkler
Gary Minkler

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Gary Minkler /  Seattle  Art School Soul

In the old, weird Seattle, Gary Minkler was a wobbling lighthouse that guided waylaid stragglers stuck in the coral between the hippie and punk eras, onto to the shores of musical freedom. Before striking a popular chord with a big chunk of the Seattle demographic in the late seventies with Red Dress, Minkler co-produced several outlandish variety shows that featured the cream of Seattle's underground garde. These shows were the musical spawning ground for what would finally emerge as Red Dress.

One of the most original bands Seattle has ever produced; Red Dress brought together a group of complementary talents that continues to burn with a special chemistry that defies time, trend and category, while at the same time remaining deeply rooted in Northwest rock heritage. Most Seattle musicians knew and admired the “art damaged” force of nature that was truly blowing the roof off the pre-grunge Seattle music club scene. Emerging giants such as Matt Cameron, Jonathan Poneman and Conrad Uno were enthusiastic fans.

Now, after over thirty years of energizing the disenfranchised descendants of the Boeing Corporation, Gary has taken the daring step of putting a new band together to record and play some Minkler songs with a different sound and nature. The Gary Minkler Combination reunites him with keyboardist Bill Bagley and drummer Gregg Keplinger as well as a coterie of top-notch Seattle musicians, including John Stephan and Walt Singleman. The album is a fabulous collection of words and music that gives listeners a deep glimpse into the mind of Seattle’s most musical poet. Produced by Conrad Uno, the legendary mastermind behind classic albums by The Presidents of the United States, the Fastbacks and the young Fresh Fellows, “Little Trailer Ruby” will thrill the longtime fans and win over the hearts, minds and ears of those who have yet to hear Gary Minkler.

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Vocals, Nylon-string Guitar

John Stephan

Guitar, Backup Vocals

Walt Singleman

Bass

Bill Bagley

Keyboards & Backup Vocals

Gregg Keplinger

Drums
Nov 07, 2014

press quote

Great Article on Gary Minkler and Red Dress

Super fine lowdown on Mr. Minkler by the estimable Frank Gutch in the Segarini: Don’t Believe a Word I Say blog (Dissecting Pop Culture Since 2011. Great Music. Great Stories. Great Googa Mooga.)

Source

Dec 26, 2013

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Sparky’s List Of Very Nice 2013 All Indie CDs - Shockpop

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Oct 14, 2013

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"They don't make albums like this anymore and its good to see someone have the guts to do it. For a more soulful roots approach you wouldn't go far wrong with 'Little Trailer Ruby' and it deserves to be heard." Martyn Coppack

Experimental soul with some spoken word Moving on from the exhortations of the Red Dress days, singer-songwriter Gary Minkler has gone down the Kickstarter funding route to develop this, his new album. Free from any record label expectations, a certain amount of experimentation has been allowed in what is ultimately a classic soul album with some very strange asides. Described as a bunch of songs layered with some spoken word pieces to move forward the story, this is not as drab or progressive as you may think. Instead, what we get is a nod to those long lost soul albums from the early 70's when artists were given free reign to follow their muse. This is one of those late night/early morning albums which creeps up on you and sucks you into its world. The songs on offer range from the soft rock of 'Where I Am' which showcases the soulful voice of Minkler to the epic sounding 'Black Cloud' with not much change in between. Throughout the album you feel a sense of exploration as the skittery 'Lulu and Wanda' gives way to the fantastic 'Not Quite' which has more than a hint of Curtis Mayfield about it. Nothing seems contrived about it though as Minkler finds his own voice throughout. The upbeat jam of title track 'Little Trailer Ruby' exemplifies the playfulness at heart here which leads into the swinging 'Big Heart'. It takes 'Red Hot Face' to bring things full circle though with its blues approach giving the album a sort of “always been there” feel whilst still staying fresh. The spoken word pieces add little to the album apart from adding a disconcerting feel. Minkler manages to make you feel somewhat safe with his voice although there is a slight bit of menace here. None more so that on 'King of Siam' which never seems to take off or on the aforementioned 'Black Cloud', which is a highlight. They don't make albums like this anymore and its good to see someone have the guts to do it. It doesn't all work but when it does there are some real treats. For a more soulful roots approach you wouldn't go far wrong with 'Little Trailer Ruby' and it deserves to be heard. It will be interesting to see where Minkler goes next.

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Sep 13, 2013

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This is one of those rustic guys that you want to seek because he makes music that sounds like yesterday but suits you today because you don’t care for stupid shit like timeliness. John Book

Gary Minkler sounds like someone who has done his share of traveling, crashing in homes and villages, smoked a lot of cigarettes, had his share of strong coffee, pours in a bit of special blend alcohol to make it taste better even though flavor may not be his thing. At least that’s what the music on Little Trailer Ruby (Green Monkey) sounds like, sounds from a trooper who knows nothing but to move forward. I often speak of albums I would find in my uncle’s collection, stuff that I feel I could only find in his stash, or the type of records I would not have discovered if I didn’t go to one of my dad’s friend’s house and was able to zone out in front of the stereo. It’s a multi-genre album, the type that were made long before anyone cared about an album going everywhere from pop to rock, country to classical, and whatever else they felt like. I imagine Minkler being the type of guy who may have books full of lyrics ready to be translated into music, or perhaps one notepad with just his best material, and he knows the right people who will do it. I almost want to say Minkler’s music is like a less-crazy and less-insane Frank Zappa, or if Zappa’s passion for doo-wop transformed into making pop music for people who seek to be popular, it would sound like this. Yet, Minkler isn’t exactly what I’d call a modern day pop artist, not in the sense of Drake, Robin Thicke, or Bruno Mars. This is one of those rustic guys that you want to seek because he makes music that sounds like yesterday but suits you today because you don’t care for stupid shit like timeliness. It’s music meant to be played by friends in a garage or basement with empty Zig Zag packets everywhere and trash cans full of overflowing empties, singing songs about lost times, growing old, and the validity of our existence. A very satisfying listen. (Jokingly, the first person I thought Minkler sounded like was Richard Marin in his “Testimonial by R. Zimmerman” skit from Cheech & Chong’s Wedding Album, which I realize was meant to be a parody of Bob Dylan but that comparison to Dylan’s raspiness is apt here.)

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Jun 18, 2013

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The songs themselves create a world of their own. While they do not collectively tell a story, they are tied together by a musical thread, of sorts--- a feel. They take art rock to a different level. Frank Gutch Jr.

Back in the eighties, I stood outside The Fabulous Rainbow Tavern in Seattle (and it was fabulous, in many ways) to watch Red Dress perform in front of an almost-sold out crowd of fans who appeared to be almost as maniacal as the band, which was putting on a powerhouse of a show judging by the crowd reaction. It was raining and I was miserable (the rain can get cold in Seattle, I was finding out) but I was mesmerized. Dancing gnome and head Dress Gary Minkler was giving Seattle a lesson in music-over-the-line as I am wont to call it--- a set of originals so unique that the ones who got it were ecstatic and the ones who didn't felt left out. I remember very distinctly one song during which Minkler strutted across the stage (his version of a dance) with rubber mouse in hand, holding it above open mouth wailing “I like to eat my mouses raw” while the band funked it up behind him. The moment impressed me so much that I can virtually close my eyes and watch that performance screened on my eyelids today, some almost thirty years later. That, my friends, is impact, and when I heard that Minkler was heading back into the studio to record a new album a number of months ago, I was intrigued to say the least. You always wonder if the old-timers can do it again--- recreate that or some other kind of excitement on record and, especially, live. Voices change, hands stiffen, the music jumbles. The vision blurs sometimes. The excitement can die with age. Trust me. I've heard a lot of mediocre pap lately coming out of musicians who once had direction. So when Minkler's new album Little Trailer Ruby came in the door, I put it on with more than a little trepidation. See, I liked Red Dress's Little Ship album enough that I bought two copies, just in case. And I bought two copies of the Red Dress single Money Dreams b/w I Like To Eat My Mouses Raw, too. I have seldom done that, but I had to with those. Something told me I would need them. I didn't. Not really. Though I did end up giving one of the singles to a good friend who was distraught when his girlfriend trashed his copy during a, shall we say, dispute (I am truly shocked how many times that has happened to my friends over the years). The big question was, could Minkler even approach what he was a number of years ago? I mean, Money Dreams was a monster of a song and I Like To Eat My Mouses Raw a funky novelty that really rocked. Hard to top those. Turns out Minkler didn't have to. What he did was pile a few years of maturity onto his creativity and let his soul shine through. Simple as that. His voice is better than ever, unique in the same way that is Jeff Kelly's, perfectly imperfect. (Kelly is and has been the core of one of my favorite all-time bands, The Green Pajamas, for decades) Minkler's voice wavers on Ruby as does Kelly's on everything he has recorded, but the tone is unique and so soulful that you can't help getting wrapped up in it. The voice is so married to the songs, in fact, that I can't imagine any of the songs with another. The songs themselves create a world of their own. While they do not collectively tell a story, they are tied together by a musical thread, of sorts--- a feel. The band is somewhat laid back, as is Minkler himself, but so tight and on the same page it gives me goosebumps at times. I mean, I love these guys! They take art rock to a different level. Minkler signed to Green Monkey Records for this album, an indication that head monkey Tom Dyer has not lost his touch when it comes to the truly good music in and around Seattle. Dyer scored big on this one. He already has a stable of artists worthy of way more attention than they are being afforded (including Jim of Seattle, The Green Pajamas and The Of, to name a few) and in adding Little Trailer Ruby, stands to give the other artists on the label some much needed and deserved attention. Because that's how good this album is, folks. Like oil in water, it will float to the top. And help Green Monkey do the same. The album is available for streaming at the Green Monkey website as are all of the artists on the label (there are links to any songs streamed elsewhere). Stop by and take a listen. Start with Little Trailer Ruby. It's a f**king monster. Frank O. Gutch Jr

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Jul 13, 2011

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While Red Dress functions as a unit, vocalist/front man Gary Minkler is its presence, its performer, its center. Gary’s gigantic voice and theatrics belie his small stature. His sheer power envelopes Red Dress, and–by extension–the audience.

http://thestrangesttribebook.wordpress.com/category/from-the-cutting-room-floor/narrative/red-dress/ While Red Dress functions as a unit, vocalist/front man Gary Minkler is its presence, its performer, its center. Gary’s gigantic voice and theatrics belie his small stature. His sheer power envelopes Red Dress, and–by extension–the audience. Red Dress’ players have come to realize that, especially in recent years. “[We] make sure that Gary’s stuff is getting through,” says guitarist Pete Pendras. “’Cause it’s important. If he’s singing it, it’s important. He’s telling the story, so let’s not get out in front of him with some guitar figure or something. They’ll be time for that.” Gary’s quiet off-stage demeanor provides no indication of what he does in front of an audience. He doesn’t just tell stories during performances. He physically creates characters and lives those stories. “He’ll take on these characters,” says Pendras. “[We’ve] got one song called ‘Bumland Anthem’ where [Gary] actually [wears] a smashed, wrinkled old overcoat [with] a really terrible, grungy, awful hat. And he becomes this guy–this bum in this song. He talks about rolling around on the ground and sleeping under the freeway. And he’ll physically do that. That’s it. He’s in there. He’s become that person. “One of the biggest things about playing with Red Dress,” Pendras continues, “is the transformation between [Gary] the person and [Gary] the performer. I don’t think there’s a bigger transition that I’ve encountered in working with other people.” Back in 1994, Popllama’s Conrad Uno put out a Red Dress retrospective called The Collection. It contains two disks–the first is a studio recording, while the second captures a live performance. Uno, who did live sound for shows around Seattle in the ’70s, became enamored with Red Dress after his then girlfriend recommended the band to him. “I just loved the–Gary, his whole trip is just very engaging for me,” says Uno. “I love his lyrics and his persona and his body–his person. He’s just amazing. And, really, the freakin’ guitar playing just drives me crazy.” Last October, I emailed Uno specifically to talk about Red Dress. He is of course a Seattle legend, having produced and/or put out records by the Young Fresh Fellows, the Fastbacks, Mudhoney, Love Battery, the Squirrels, the Presidents of The United States of America, and many others. Of them all, Uno is inspired most by Red Dress. “Feel free to call me about Red Dress,” Uno stated in his email response. “They are why I’m doing this.”

Jan 22, 2011

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Red Dress 1 Hour Special on Art Zone

http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/video.asp?ID=6011016

Jun 14, 1984

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"Gary Minkler is Seattle's vocal god" The Rocket

"Money Dream" from Red Dress defies superlative. It's a truly awesome song that reveals this band's force and strength, and is the best local recorded song I've heard in the last year (or more). Gary Minkler is Seattle's vocal god: his dark low growl and sweet soulful falsetto move skyscrapers and melt glaciers. Guitars rock and slice through the song, held together by a dangerous beat. It's out of control...The Rocket