& Gap Dream
Discussion with Sean Bohrman, Lee Rickard and Gabe Fulvimar
Moderated and Images by Teal Thomsen
Edited by Clare Shearer
“We didn’t think about what we were gonna do
before we went on stage — we kind of just went on the stage
—Sean Bohrmanand whatever happened, happened.” — Sean Bohrman
Born and raised in Akron, Ohio, Gabe Fulvimar was part of the local rock ‘n’ roll scene when he met the guys behind Burger Records at the Cleveland neighborhood bar Happy Dog. His garage-synth project, Gap Dream, was born through inspiration from Burger Records cassette tapes. Fulvimar has recently moved to Fullerton, CA to pursue Gap Dream, and live and record with Burger. Listen to Gap Dream here.
The guys behind Burger Records don’t do CDs, they’re sticking with the vinyl and cassette tapes of their youth. An anomaly or a novelty—either way it’s working for them—in part, because they don’t act like any other record label. And mostly because of their pure enthusiasm for good music. Music and burgers.
A now bygone band formed by Lee Rickard and Sean Bohrman in Fullerton, California, which was an experiment in pure improvisation—testing what would happen if the bandmates didn’t practice or write songs.
Thee Makeout Party!
The four-piece garage power pop band of Lee Rickard and Sean Bohrman. Most of Thee Makeout Party’s songs were recorded in one take and self-produced—leading to the establishment of their own label, Burger Records, in 2007.
Lee Rickard and Sean Bohrman—the minds responsible for Burger Records—met at their Fullerton, California high school in the 80’s, when they collaborated on zines and an essentially music-less improv band called The Noise! While self-producing an album for their second band, Thee Makeout Party, Sean and Lee began doodling hamburgers everywhere and, in 2007, Burger Records was born.
Burger doesn’t sign bands. They invite those they know and admire to record and release cassettes through the label. Their annual festival, Burgerama, features a lineup of these bands with sounds from surf-rock to garage-punk to power pop and psychedelic. And their new hybrid station, Burger TV, documents what’s going on with the Burger crew, live shows, music videos, and general absurdity.
Issue sat down with Sean, Lee, and Gap Dream’s Gabe Fulvinar in a back room at the Burger Records store in Fullerton, its acid green walls overwhelmed with music posters, stickers and paraphernalia. They all currently live at the store, even Gabe, who arrived from Ohio to tour as Gap Dream and never left. Appropriately, our interview was erratic and wandering and often paused for someone to take a hit—which seems like a completely honest look into the life of a Burger boy.
Lee Rickard: Hello, hi, I am Lee Rickard from Burger Records and I’m here with Gabe Fulvimar, of Gap Dream.
Gabe Fulvimar: Hi, how’s it going.
LR: And my partner and best friend, Sean Bohrman.
Sean Bohrman: What’s up.
LR: Sean Thomas Bohrman, okay, some respect. William Lee Rickard here, Gabriel number one Fulvimar.
Teal Thomsen: Where is everybody from, first of all?
SB: From Fresno, California.
LR: Anaheim, California.
GF: And Akron, Ohio!
TT: When did you start making music?
GF: I started making music, making my own songs, when I was probably about sixteen. I had a 4-track and that’s how I would record and write my own songs.
LR: Sean and I had our first group when we were about the same age, called The Noise! (it’s an exclamation point). That was our attempt to make music and, believe it or not, we have some a cappella.
SB: It was our attempt to make music the quickest, easiest way, so we didn’t practice or learn to play any of our instruments. We didn’t think about what we were gonna do before we went on stage—we kind of just went on the stage and whatever happened, happened.
LR: Pretty much Burger style, to this day.
SB: We got kind of popular. People were talking about us, which was funny. I remember going to a show at the Showcase Theater in Corona. I was waiting in line and these two kids were like, “Have you seen that band The Noise?” and I said, “Yeah they suck!”
And once, at Cuz café, we had to go apologize for making a mess. But before we went to apologize, these two little Mexican kids who had seen us play—breaking stuff, getting kicked out, yelling at everybody – said, “Hey, aren’t you guys The Noise?” We were with the Colonel and he put his arms around us and said, “These guys are The Noise!” Like we were popular or something…
TT: Who did you guys listen to growing up and who is your music influenced by today?
GF: The first time I realized I liked music, I was very small. I don’t remember how old.
SB: You were in the womb.
GF: I was watching TV, I think I was two or three, and I saw this video—Hall & Oates’ “Maneater”—I later pieced together, because I still like that song. I think that is the first song I ever liked. And I remember seeing it, but now I remember just a few seconds of the video.
SB: What seconds stuck out in your mind?
GF: The part where he is picking the bugs up and washing his face with them. It’s so gross—he’s washing his face and the faucet’s running and the sink’s filled with mealworms, and I can just see his hands with the tips of his fingers coming out. Then he puts it on his face and all the bugs were sticking in his mustache.
SB: My earliest musical memory is watching Van Halen jump on MTV. And every time it came on, I would get up on the coffee table and just start jumping. I am crazy, and might as well jump right?
LR: Yeah, might as well.
SB: My world jumped. I went with my dad to Selland Arena in Fresno, and we looked down into a parking garage area until I caught a glimpse of them walking into the arena. I grabbed my “5150” tape I wanted to get signed, and Alex Van Halen, the drummer, walked from a door to a car, like from here to this door over here (he motions an equivalent distance in Burger Records), waved and got in the car. And that was it, but it was cool. I was like, “Dad, that was Alex Van Halen.”
LR: My earliest musical influence is what Sean tapped into already with Van Halen. I also had “5150” on cassette. It was my second cassette tape in my arsenal. The first being the Buddy Holly and The Crickets Best Of. And neither tape had artwork or anything, so I didn’t know what the people looked like. I just had the tapes—I found them on the ground at some tweaker’s place in Riverside. And I played them out of my little Fisher-Price boom box with animal sound buttons on it. That, I wish still had.
That got me into rock ‘n’ roll and then, in 1988, my mom start dating Steve Kerr. He turned me on to Appetite for Destruction by Guns N’ Roses and that kind of got me a little more twisted and weird and I brought Guns N’ Roses tapes to show-and-tell in the first grade and stuff like that.
“We had real MTV. No one has anything
like that now, except for Burger TV.”
— Gabe Fulvimar
GF: I took mine to school, too. I had a little Bobby Glove fanny pack and I wrote on it “Metal Tapes” in Sharpie. In there, I had Appetite for Destruction and I had Metallica … And Justice for All and The Black Album and I had Iron Maiden Powerslave. Oh God, I think I even had some MC Hammer in there, cause I was digging on MC Hammer then. I was into whatever was purveyed to me because, at that time, we actually had MTV. We had real MTV. No one has anything like that now, except for Burger TV.
TT: How and when did you decide this is what you were going to do? Sean and Lee with Burger Records, and Gabe with Gap Dream—when did it all begin?
LR: After The Noise!, Sean went to college and I started Thee Makeout Party! with my friend, Dan Bush. The band went for nine years, off and on, altogether, and we had a various cast of drummers and things. So, Thee Makeout Party! used Burger Records as a kind of subsidiary, like the Beatles had Apple and the Beach Boys had Brother—Thee Makeout Party! became the Burger boys.
Since I was little kid, I loved burgers. The first time I drove across the country in a van was in 1993 and I ate a hamburger at every diner. I was 10 years old and I came home and I had an epiphany—I knew I was gonna have a burger joint, and I still am someday. I’m gonna have a bar-grill with a stage, dance floor, museum, rock ‘n’ roll—our club, our special place. Burgers have always been on the brain.
When Makeout Party self-released our second single “2 EZ 2 LUV U,” we started reaching out to Audacity, and it snowballed. Sean quit his job because of Makeout Party touring and our other partner Brian [Flores], who used to have a record store, was just laying low out in the wilderness, not doing much, and sitting on tons and tons of records. Sean partnered up with him and he cashed out his 401k to start the store. That’s when we got the focus on Burger a lot more and, a couple of years later, I got to finally quit my day job and work for Burger full time.
TT: What about Gap Dream, when did that come about?
Caravan of Stars
Burger Record’s annual tour with various Burger bands around the US & Canada, playing a mix of venues and house parties.
A neighborhood corner bar in Cleveland, Ohio, unchanged since the 40’s, that serves hot dogs and cocktails, and is a venue for live music.
LR: It ties in with Burger. During the first Caravan of Stars tour in 2010, we came through and played Happy Dog in Cleveland, Ohio and I was looking for some reefer and was pointed in Gabe’s direction. Gabe was all wide-eyed and friendly. We smoked some and I said, “Hey man, you’re gonna be turned on to your new favorite band,” which was Conspiracy of Owls – coming out of The Go, as a side project, but even more far-out and synth heavy. It was right up Gabe’s alley, but I didn’t have any idea at the time. I didn’t know if he was a synth dude or whatever.
GF: But he felt familiar, it was strange, he just had a vibe. I knew he wasn’t sketchy but he was quirky. You see a lot of bands come through, you see a lot of people come through and, especially in a town like Cleveland, you can get into some weird situations.
LR: He didn’t have his guard up with me.
A psych-punk band formed in Orange County, California by Alex Ebraham, Derek Cowart and James Sanderson. The Cosmonauts worked with Burger Records to put out their first album Causmonauts in 2010 and If You Wanna Die Then I Wanna Die in 2012. Listen to the Cosmonauts here.
“When I look back, it’s crazy. I was really inspired, not even knowing how much I would be inspired by them [Burger Records] in the future.” — Gabe Fulvimar
GF: I thought, “These are some legit looking people.” And I hadn’t seen any of these bands before in my life. I saw Cosmonauts—they blew my mind. I saw so many things that I soon became very familiar with. When I look back, it’s crazy. I was really inspired, not even knowing how much I would be inspired by them in the future.
SB: And then he started to send us some music.
A garage-rock band based in Fullerton, California who began as Nontoxic in 2002, and now releases tracks through Burger Records as Audacity. Listen to Audacity here.
Conspiracy of Owls
A side project coming out of Detroit’s The Go, Conspiracy of Owls creates a throwback psychedelic dream-pop. The band has released their first album Conspiracy of Owls, as well as Lessons and Ancient Robots via Burger Records. Listen to Conspiracy of Owls here.
Tucson native Matt Rendon was the one-man-band the Resonars for 15 years, playing 1960’s style pop-rock on his 4-track. After he signed with Burger Records and recorded his last solo album Crummy Desert Sound, Rendon found bandmates and the Resonars now plays as a full outfit.
GF: I started listening to Burger stuff—Cosmonauts, Audacity, Conspiracy of Owls—and, after about a year, I started coming up with my own stuff. Danny James came out after I did Gap Dream, but when it did I was really listening to it. The Resonars, too. I was ordering all the Burger tapes and I was just playing them over and over again, and it was great. I could order any tape and it was good.
LR: Gabe was buying all these tapes and I saw that he was in Akron, Ohio, so I asked him to tell the Black Keys “Hi” for me. I didn’t even know he knew them, and was in the band and everything.
GF: I played keyboards in that band. I had gone down to Cleveland because I was in a band at the time called Future Days. It was just a bunch of our friends—Cory, who plays guitar in Gap Dream now, Jonah , Greg—and Patrick Carney wanted to record us. He was trying to help us out, but you couldn’t help us out.
Formed by Carlos Palacios, Andy Jordan and Eric Johnson in 1998, the Cuts are a rock band from Oakland, California with a reputation for being crazed and dangerous. Their lineup changed over the years, as did their sound—incorporating more psychedelic, power pop, and glam influences. The Cuts broke up in 2006.
We walked into his house and I have on a Burger shirt, and Greg had a Burger bag, and he says, “Oh, Burger Records, I know those guys.” I said, “Really?! You know them? I met Lee… I know Lee, kinda.” Pat told us that Lee tour-managed The Cuts when they went on tour with the Black Keys.
LR: In ‘04, on the Key’s first headlining tour.
GF: This is big shot.
LR: Oh, I was blowing it right away. Before I even met The Keys, I was doing tricks over their drums and stuff, and The Cuts—who are known bad boys—said, “What are you doing man? You’ve got to calm down, you can’t be doing that shit.”
Pat never forgot about us and, eventually, our band got to open for them a couple of times, so we gave him the first dozen Burger tapes or whatever.
GF: And, then, Gap Dream came from listening to all the Burger stuff—from being a fan, it bled in. I started getting stoked on all of that and sending them music. And I was like, “Remember me? We smoked and you gave me a tape and a button.”
“He started sending us songs and we fell
in love with them, and eventually
turned it into a cassette that went viral.”
— Lee Rickard
LR: He started sending us songs and we fell in love with them, and eventually turned it into a cassette that went viral. Pitchfork wrote about it, and then there was a bidding war, and he wound up doing the album with us. Since then, we took him on a few tours and he moved in with us and did another record here.
TT: So, Gabe, when did you move here from Cleveland?
GF: I moved here December 1st of 2012 and moved right in there.
LR: In our storage unit, Burger #1.
GF: First, there was only one light, and you had to go all the way to the end to turn the light switch on, and it was raining, it was December. I got off the plane and I thought, “It’s fucking raining. That sucks.”
LR: You slept in there your first night?
GF: Yeah, Sean goes, “You go in there.” And I said, “Alright.”
SB: I think it was, “Get the fuck in there.”
GF: I was really excited, though, it just happened so quick—I came out here for a two-week tour and spent three weeks out here and I fell in love.
LR: That tour almost killed me, too, I have never taken myself to the doctor before. I was so miserable.
GF: Because before that Lee was out a month at King Tuff, then he was back home for maybe half of a week, and then here I come. And I didn’t know at the time, cause I hadn’t done much touring, what he had just been through.
SB: Didn’t you have Gateway Drugs?
GF: Oh yeah we had Gateway Drugs, and they were great. But man, it was a weird dynamic because none of us knew each other, really. The three of them knew each other, and me and Lee were getting to know each other. But it worked out great—we played well, everything sounded good.
It was wild, too—we didn’t know these guys, and all of the sudden we found out their bass player was in the Hudson Brothers, and he was Kate Hudson’s half-brother. And I’m thinking, “Wow, I’m a bus-boy from Cleveland.” It was just cultural differences.
SB: What are the cultural differences between living in Akron and Los Angeles?
GF: People definitely party harder out here!
LR: WHAT?! Does Cleveland rock?
GF: It’s just farmland and little thatched roof houses.
LR: What about the guys from The Mice? Bill Fox wondering around the street, talking about Ohio—you guys respect your history, your rock ‘n’ roll history. Do you have any Bill Fox stories?
GF: Oh, yeah. He wakes up and goes to the corner store on Franklin and gets a tall pack of Milwaukee’s Best Ice.
LR: And crushes them.
GF: I’m there buying my cigarettes and when I see him, he says, “Hey man, what’s up Gabe man?” I’m like, “Hey Billy.” And he says, “We’re gonna go over to Liz’s house.”
And I knew Liz, she lived across the street and was perpetually on house arrest. She was cool, she recognized me. I would come out and she would always wave, and I would say, “Come over,” and she could only come to the edge of her yard, but she’d want to talk. She knew, just by the way I dressed and stuff, who I knew and she said, “Oh, you go hang out at the Happy Dog, don’t you?”
Happy Dog rules, for the record.
LR: It’s where Cleveland does, in fact, rock. Happy Dog respects rock ‘n’ roll heritage.
TT: Do you guys have favorite cites to stop at and play on tours?
LR: From Thee Makeout Party! – Milwaukee, we were treated like gods.
GF: I can’t really say. Even on crappy night, we still have fun.
LR: Yeah, every town rules. In San Francisco we always have great shows.
GF: We’ve got bunch of friends in all places now.
LR: Portland. Seattle. San Antonio. El Paso rules, that’s one of our favorite places to go. Tucson.
“Every town we go to there are people
who are stoked. The more we do it,
the more we are building relationships
with all of these people. ”
— Sean Bohrman
SB: Every town we go to there are people who are stoked. The more we do it, the more we are building relationships with all of these people.
LR: I love going on at Happy Dog in Cleveland.
TT: What are some of your favorite albums right now? Currently what are you listening to?
LR: I don’t want to embarrass myself and say “Oh, I am fucking jamming Steven Miller Band right now.” [laughs]
Born John Webster Johns, Jack Name is the L.A.-based musician’s most recent moniker—though he’s currently touring with White Fence as guitarist. Previously, he went by Fiction Boys and Muzz, among others, and has worked with Ariel Pink. His first album Light Show was released January 2014 through Drag City.
SB: Gabe’s listening to the Jack Name record.
GF: We’re all listening to that. Light Show, it’s on Drag City. Jack Name was the weirdo from White Fence. He’s awesome.
LR: His record has been in the making for many years, I guess. And it’s really cool.
TT: So what are your interest and passions outside of music? Besides burgers.
LR: Burgers are our life. But I skateboard.
SB: I watch wrestling. I read Philip K. Dick novels and watch sci-fi movies.
GF: I have never seen him read a book.
SB: We are working all time. We put in 18 hour days.
LR: Even if we’re hanging out… we’re multitasking, our brains are never relaxed. Everyone is on different levels, but we’re all spazzing out all the time.
TT: What are your thoughts on the rising creative scene in L.A.?
GF: It’s good to have.
SB: I am totally against it. [laughs] I’m just joking.
LR: I think it’s good that we have a lot of friends from the Bay Area that are moving down. That’s going to help cultivate a bigger community. It’s a fun thing happening right now, I really can taste the magic in the air—its time and place is today, it’s right now, it’s this very moment. I can just feel it, the essence of it. It’s all around us. It’s all happening.
TT: Last question—what’s next, for the future? Shows, new bands, new albums, everything.
LR: I know Gabe has a side project, playing at Ace Hotel on June 16th.
SB: And we will be doing stuff at Ace Hotel…
LR: In the future. Every third Monday of this summer with all kinds of cool, radical DJ’s.
GF: And Gap Dream has a new record coming out soon.
LR: Hell yeah. Multiple records, I hear.
GF: I am gonna go record in a month…
LR: In Joshua Tree?
GF: Yeah that’s what we are thinking. We’re also going on tour with Part Time. Going back to Europe.
LR: He’s recording some records coming out on Burger, doing this Part Time tour, and releasing a split 7” of Gap Dream and Part Time—on Burger Lolipop, of course. And he’s got the new band Pleiades coming out with a 12” on Burger.
Also, Sean has recently acquired the credit on the new Dwarves album for layout and design. What are your feelings about that?
SB: To me now, as I am right now, it’s cool.
LR: Feather in your cap, might as well call it baloney, macaroni something like that.
A punk band formed in Chicago, Illinois in the mid 1980’s as The Suburban Nightmare, Dwarves is now based in San Francisco. Their sound has shifted, through the years, from garage punk to hardcore, to a middle-ground punk rock that aims to shock with its lyrics. The band has been described as “one of the last true bastions of punk rock ideology in the contemporary music age.”
SB: Something baloney, macaroni. But if it were me when I was 16, on the Dwarves album, I would be fucking freaking out!! We interviewed him for our magazine back in high school, but now I have layout credit for the new one.
It’s a dream come true for me because I grew up on the Dwarves. When I went to buy my first punk CD at Green Records in downtown Orange, I got Dwarves’ Horror Stories. I remember going to Thanksgiving in Porterville and making everyone listen to Dwarves and all this stuff that I had just gotten into, sitting in the kitchen, while everybody was cooking.
TT: What about other new things for Burger in the future?
LR: We’re working on a publishing and licensing venture.
SB: We’re starting our third company.
LR: We have big plans and tons of records on the grill.
SB: We have big plans.
LR: Big, big plans.