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In Roads #47

By Felicia Morgan

#47 In Roads-Gunk

 

The band is setting up and an interesting looking character is kind of wandering around, but he doesn’t seem lost. I ask if I can talk to him. He says sure but he will have to go to work soon. Turns out he’s the sound guy.

“I’ve been around since sound boards were this big,” he tells me as he indicates about a foot between his hands. “I used to work with the Jackson Five when Michael still had a fat nose.” He waits for me to laugh before he continues on with the string of examples. Turns out he’s mixed sound for the likes of the Commodores, the Stones, Ozzie Osborne, Brittney Spears, Willie Nelson and many others. His first European tour was in 1971; the first U.S. national tour was two years later.

“I try not to travel so much anymore,” says the 63 year old. “I stick around home more these days since I have a set of 9 year old twins.” I raise my eyebrows and give him a, “Wow.” Gunk laughs and shrugs. “Yeah, I know.” He’s been working with the Commodores for the last couple of years because they do about 30 shows a year on weekends. He can easily fly out for those and still be available to help his woman who works as a teacher’s assistant during the week.

I ask if he went to school to learn his trade and he scoffs. “No, the industry didn’t even exist back then. I got started because friends had a band and I had a ’57 Chevy with a trailer hitch. We did little community centers, teen centers, dances and the like. I started out with a little 40-foot trailer. I just came off tour with Brittney Spears and she had 52 trucks that were 53-foot long. The Stones have close to 100 trucks for their shows.”

He traveled off and on with Ozzie Osborne from 1990-1998, but his favorite performer to work with is Willie Nelson. “I worked with Willie off and on since 1984. Although I haven’t done anything with him lately I used to do a lot of fill in dates for him. He is how I met the Fryed Brothers Band, as a matter of fact,” he says. I can tell he needs to get back to work so I quickly ask David how he got the nickname “Gunk.” He looks down at me and says flatly, “It was in high school.” I could tell he had no intention of sharing that story, so I thanked him for his time.

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