Gungor recently completed their “I Am Mountain” tour, but not before making a stop in my neck of the woods. It was an overwhelmingly good show. I had the chance to meet Michael and Lisa, and they are great. But I’m going to write about a different Gungor today.
As my wife, friends and I waited for showtime, we started hearing rumors of a certain special guest performer. Really? Are you serious? Could it be? We were giddy with the potential and elated when it was confirmed by Michael from the stage: the opening act, making only his second live appearance on the tour, would be Wolfjaw.
Anyone who has read Michael’s book, The Crowd, the Critic, and the Muse, will remember the name Wolfjaw. It’s the stage name of Michael’s brother, Robert. The book relates several stories about Wolfjaw. Without retelling them all, let’s say that his approach to life is different than mine or most people’s.
For one, he has a medicinal license, and a questionable medical reason for using “a certain type of herb that he enjoys.”1
Then, there’s this:
Those who read my book may be interested to know that Wolfjaw “iced” his nipples during our formal Christmas dinner this evening.
— Michael Gungor (@michaelgungor) December 28, 2012
With all the stories in mind, I was very intrigued to hear that Wolfjaw and his brothers followed through on a recording project first told about in the book. His plan for those involved was to go to a remote place, have bonding time, then use old-school recording techniques to create an album that was all about a free-flowing feel. You can read about the recording process here, on Gungor’s blog. It wasn’t rehearsed, and the process wasn’t critiqued. It was simply about creating from a place of inspiration and love.
Wilderman came out for the show dressed in a Cosby-esque sweater with zebra print lounge prints, and his performance didn’t disappoint. It was entertaining, unpredictable, and fun. It definitely fit Michael’s description, ” a wild vibe.”
I had a chance to meet and talk with Wolfjaw, who kindly introduced himself as Robert, afterwards. I expressed my appreciation for what he has taught me.
You see, I am a person who is predisposed to do things “the right way.” No matter the task, I usually aim to do it well, efficiently, and in a way that others will appreciate. I have learned from Robert/Wolfjaw, however, that life isn’t about doing things that are “good enough.” Through his example, I’m learning to do things I love, until I love the result. It’s been a huge lesson.
Incidentally, we also geeked out about synthesizers. Robert performed on the “I Am Mountain” record and shared the secret behind the sweeping synth on the title track. (It’s played on an old Oberheim OB-Xa, and the sweep was simply portamento.)
I’m so grateful to my wife for buying our tickets as a Christmas gift and to all of the Gungor clan and fans there that night – it was unforgettable.
1. Excerpt From: Michael Gungor. “The Crowd, the Critic, and the Muse.” Woodsley Press, 2012. iBooks. https://itun.es/us/kqQoH.l