GONZO is a 5 piece based out of Charlotte NC that brings a sweat generating high energy funk rock to stage. Backed with all original music and jamability, lead vocalist Charles Christian keeps the crowd moving with his charisma and acrobatics, while Isti Nemethy on bass and Perry Lemmon Jr. on drums lay down the nasty rhythm. With guitar virtuoso Chad Harris and Tomi “The Scientist” Gulden on keys, these guys create a full catchy sound that has the audience grooving and asking for more.
The range of influence is vast with each members’ unique and colorful contribution: Incubus, Pink Floyd, James Brown, Rage Against the Machine, Buena Vista Social Club, Burning Spear, Carlos McSwain, Tool, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and more. With the style, energy and lifestyle combined, GONZO has acquired the reputation as a party band and cultivates such atmosphere wherever they play.
In 2014, raging parties at The Castle house in Cleveland Ohio were relatively common. Bands played in the sub-ground, beer soaked, concrete dungeon where if you stood taller than 5"8 , you had to watch out for unforgiving duct work overhead. John Sabo not only hosted these parties, but performed in several of the gritty grunge and raging punk bands that spawned from the underbelly of the condemned corner stone. There, Isti Nemethy, Tomi Gulden, Charles Christian and Matt Hawks among a myriad of other musicians would soon join this party montage and congeal what came to be GONZO. After a few months of jigsaw jamming, songs and shows started to flow. By November of 2014, the band decided to leap frog from the familiar pond to one they'd never known. From the birth place of aviation to the first in flight the five of them re-situated in a house together and got acclimated in Charlotte North Carolina by hitting open mic's all over their new home town as well as other neighboring cities. They started booking local shows at venues like Tommy's Pub and Crown Station, throwing wicked house parties with home made stages, raging bond fires and 100ft down hill slip n' slides, then branching out to Zoe’s Cafe in Gastonia then further out to Jake's On Devine in Columbia, South Carolina. After recording a couple L.P's and a couple small weekend tours later they found themselves on their first 10 day tour in a $1k 1989 Ford Econoline with no air conditioning in the beginning of the sweltering summer of 2016. Accompanied by hype MC/ merch man Milk Jacobs the six of them got their first brief GONZO life-on-the-road experience. They hit 8 shows in 10 days starting at Two Doors Down in Fayetteville NC up to DC, then Baltimore, then Philly, then Brooklyn NY, and finally three cities in Ohio including their hometown Cleveland, where they played Mahall's 20 Lanes for a Grand finale. After the white knuckle road raging experience their drummer Matt Hawks came to the cold hard conclusion that he was not cut out for the road. Hawks resigned and respectfully returned home. Shortly after, founding member John Sabo, due to a string of strange and unfortunate events, also bowed out and returned home. After much pondering of direction and a short self assessment the three original members found Perry Lemmon Junior, (drummer of Aarodynamics) and, Chad Harris (guitarist of Hey Zeus Chrysler.) The 5 of them began practicing at the 1st GONZO house and rekindled the fire tinkering with the new dynamics while putting fresh twists on classic material and building chemistry.
Rolling with the bumps and winding curves of life's rocky road Tomi , Isti and the honorary 6th member of the band Milk Jacobs found that their lease was up by November which gave them less than a month to find a new place. With lots of searching and a bit of luck they happened upon what would become known as the GONZOPLEX, a band's safe haven despite one particularly un-enthused neighbor who happened to be the "warden" of the hunky dory little neighborhood. Charles Christian joined in on the lease with the three of them as they tried NOT to make too many waves in their new serene surroundings. At their best attempts of tip toeing into the waters two months in the band had the most massive new years party any of them or the rest of the unsuspecting neighborhood had ever seen. With Easily upwards of 500 people in attendance the five of them and a dozen of their friends, family and fellow musicians turned hoards of high-schoolers away at the gate who allegedly heard about the party from some unknown neighbor. Then by some miscommunication, later in the night a second wave of post rave, after party people were directed to their address via word of mouth and social media from a show at the Filmore. Performing to hundreds of party people, narrowly avoiding eviction and/or being convicted that night they managed to keep the house and their records remained relatively clean despite the night's brush with petty theft, shattered sinks, broken mailboxes, flaming gas canisters, Macaroni Jesus and much more they were not prepared for as they moved into an equally unpredictable 2017.
For the sake of convenience and camaraderie , Perry (PJ) and Chad soon moved in to the GONZOPLEX. Along with a few other floating friends, the plex became home to the likes of the often troubled and allegedly semi-felonious nomadic counter culture. In essence, building a musical commune of societal undesirables with any and every right to celebrate at any given time, especially on a Monday when they made rent, stayed out of jail and put their pennies together to get hammered. With conflicting schedules and a sound ordinance of 10pm getting practice in and gigging was fairly difficult. Beer Pong, building mini put put courses, and constructing home movie theaters as well as make shift bedrooms out of sheds did how ever take a fairly common precedent in their daily existence as one friend in particular who lived with them for half a year aided them in their endeavors while he and his fluffy, white Westy friend laid low. They still managed to play small festivals like Shakedown and have modest house shows / parties. Due to the band and house residents’ over all lack thereof income they scraped up meals of free fruit's and veggies from Chad's job at the farmer's markets, end-of-night reject pizzas from nearby pizza chains, free bread from sandwich shops and ramen noodles. But while sustenance was low the music was plentiful, the shows we're flowing, move's were being made, some money was coming in and good times we're on tap. GONZO was truly"givin up food for funk."
By mid to late summer of 2017 PJ, Milk Jacobs and Charles were hitting the streets nearly every weekend as well as some weeknights in their friend's semi legal Buick La'sabre. With d'jembes, buckets and positive vibes the three of them lit the streets generally between 11pm-4am. They came to call them selves The Three Buskateers. Equipt with flyers for shows, GONZO business cards, and a pocket full of rhythm they promoted the band, made a few bucks, and incited dance parties on the corner of 6th and Tryon. This was around the time that they had been invited by Fred Heintz (singer/songwriter of Late Night Special/ producer of Shakedown Fest) to perform at the Fillmore Underground with his band and Derek Sjoblom (aka Little Blue Fish) on September 25th of 2017. There they played to their largest crowd yet of roughly 450 people.
By the end of 2017 GONZO began recording their first full length album complete with 11 tracks of original material including guest vocal work by Adayla Turner on Gypsy Monkey and Wormhole. With recording engineer Endre Tomashek of Spinning Whale Studios, the album was recorded in the living room of the GONZOPLEX over the course of roughly a week, then some final touches were done on vocals at Endre’s home studio in Charleston, South Carolina. Over the course of the next few months, mixing, mastering and edits were made through email back and fourth as the band played monthly shows at Jack Beagles in Noda as well as other local bars and breweries to stack cash and promote for the highly anticipated album release party. They also did live radio podcasts with Piedmont Artist Profiles (PAP Snow Peak Radio) hosted by James McMahen who aided them in not only promotion but videography and production. After much consideration as to where to hold the event the conclusion was made. Jack Beagles had come to feel like home and was happy to hold the release party on June 1st, 2018. Accompanied by The Lovely Buds, GONZO performed to over 420 roaring friends fans and beagles that night. After that they have been focused on promoting the album and creating shirts and other merchandise. The album is now available for download on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon and Spotify. You can also listen on Youtube, Sound Cloud, their web page www.gonzotheband.com and many other places. Hard copies can be purchased at their shows and their website. They are currently working on writing new material, setting up tours for 2019 and partying like Holyfield just won the fight and legalized cannabis nation wide. You can find them in Charlotte playing various venues once or twice a month and/or at their GONZOPLEX studio on the first Saturday of every month where they host a local musicians’ collective jam.