“We’re not one of those bands that is somehow innovative or is going to alter the paradigm of music at all,” Matt Miller says, a wry smile barely noticeable on his lips. “I always refer to our stuff as loud, fast rock ’n’ roll.” The longtime Santa Fe musician and (I’m just going to say it) local punk rock legend refers to his newest project, GHMC. It’s pronounced “gimmick,” but Miller says the acronym can be used in a variety of fun ways such as “God Hates My Cock” or “Greatest Hits of Mariah Carey.” “We came up with a pretty long list of our own,” Miller says, “and we encourage other people to come up with their own lists as well.”
GHMC is an exciting addition to the local scene, not just due to Miller's involvement—he's one-third of The Floors, one of the most underrated Santa Fe bands of all time—but also because of bandmates Sarah Meadows (of The Hollis Wake) and Ken Maestas (from Voodoo Junkies). OK, so these acts might not carry the same weight they once did, but for those of us who came up in the Santa Fe scene of the last 20-ish years, we've kind of been wondering what these people were up to. They were the giants whom so many of us in shitty bands desperately tried, and failed, to musically emulate (we just didn't have the chops). We're talking punk rock royalty, but with the instrumental skills to outdo even their own heroes.
Though Miller downplays his guitar prowess as he points to influences ranging anywhere from jazz and Morrissey (Miller says he likes Moz's extremism in a ha-ha kind of way) to Led Zeppelin and Black Flag, it's the ultimate spirit of punk kept alive and played out on a local yet universally important scale that's worth your attention. I say this because I'm excited for a little of the old punk rock flavor around here, sure, but also because Miller, Maestas and Meadows are the kind of musicians who do it for the love—not for money and certainly not so a bunch of strangers in a bar will tell them how fantastic they sound. And if I can just fanboy out here for a second, it's pretty intense (in a good way) that this particular lineup exists.
For their upcoming show, GHMC takes over The Underground alongside Albuquerque rock bands Alien Space Kitchen and Full Speed Veronica (which features Meadows' former Hollis Wake bandmate Malcolm June).
"I think it's great that [promoter] Johnny Pink is going to be filling that rock rock niche," Meadows says. "I know I feel like a more whole person when I have music in my life, and there aren't a lot of those rock rock bands in Santa Fe."
And there it is—people who know what they're doing who play mostly original music (!) which, honestly, should be enough to pack in the crowds just on its own. Both Meadows and Miller say GHMC will get down to recording very soon and that they've kicked around the idea of touring regionally—all of which points to how they're becoming a little more serious. This is a good thing, as is the band's collective attitude toward musicianship.
"I was one of those kids who punk rock changed my life forever," Miller adds. "And even though we're more of a Dickies kind of thing with the drunken audience banter going on, I like to think we bring a certain intensity when we play as well."
This is true. Miller has always exuded a certain bad-guy-of-pro-wrestling persona while onstage, and now, with the addition of some of Santa Fe's finest to complement his songwriting, GHMC is surely destined for great things.
GHMC with Alien Space Kitchen and Full Speed Veronica
9 pm Thursday Aug. 11. $5.
200 W San Francisco St.