Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Definitely Gary / The New Deal


Jason Hoffman

Whatzup Features Writer

Published February 23, 2006

Heads Up! This article is 16 years old.

After two years the whimsical power trio

known as Definitely Gary finally follow up their

smash-hit debut album (No. 2 in two out of every

five Alpine villages) with The New Deal.

There are approximately 10 songs that stretch the

boundaries of what can be achieved with wood,

wires and alternating current, casting great

amounts of fear upon all who attempt to share

their stage and continuing the fine tradition set

years ago by Jackie Fly.

The Garys waste no time in getting down to

bidness with “Well, Alright,” an instrumental of

a repeating guitar motif that is punctuated by

machine-gun drums and culminates in a party that

tumbles over into “It’s Going Down,” a driving,

funky, off-center rocker that takes off its hat

to early Van Halen and replaces it with an

oversized fedora. “Weatherman” is classic Gary

with a nearly comatose, chemically induced first

verse and lyrics like “I can tell that you combed

your mustache today.” Then big guitars and big

drums bash in to serve as the wake-up call to a

rousing funk-fest of slapped bass that ebbs and

flows into a frenzied finale. Twisted Sister

meets Greenday in the feisty “Dr. Doctor, Ph.D.,”

a fun punker that sports a very nice instrumental

passage in stereo! After this song

presumably ends there is the first of many

mini-songs, this one a 40-second repeating riff

of a completely different character.

The influence of Zappa and Primus are heard in

“Filthy Dirty,” a ditty filled with an amazing

bass line and buzzing guitars – all of which

stop abruptly two minutes in to make way for a

50s sock hop hosted by Johnny Rotten. As if you

doubted that bassist Casey Stansifer was a

monster on the low end “DÈjý Vu” will put those

to rest. This song turns things up to at least 12

in terms of energy, cramming more notes into this

single song than some people put on an entire

album. Zach Smith’s mammoth guitars force the

rabid bass into submission in the chorus, but

only with the help of percussion master Jon Ross,

a man who is a member of more local bands than he

isn’t (I’ll wait while you read that again).

The band channels The Squirrel Nut Zippers in

“By The Wayside,” a very silly song about

revenge-seeking, neglected rodeo clowns that will

give you a sugar rush while it lifts your wallet.

“Scheidler Family Practice” mixes Talking Heads

with early Adrian Belew for near disco euphoria,

spinning you around before beating you into

submission with “Radio,” a manically aggressive

song that includes everything it can to ensure it

never gets airplay: unorthodox poly-rhythms;

copious musical changes in a variety of styles;

some light wah guitar; an actual guitar solo;

and, eventually, a nice raucous jam session.

With their silly album cover poses, afro-laden

guitarist, upright rubbery bass, twisting

melodies and pliable rhythms, it seems that

Definitely Gary are intent on following their own

path, bravely forging genre-defying music in a

Midwest full of safe cover bands. The New

Deal is more than just a good bargain, its

chock full of musical goodness that will stick in

your head as much as it sticks in your teeth.

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