The Whirlwind Excitement of Gogol Bordello Is Hitting SoCal


GOGOL BORDELLO play Observatory/Santa Ana Mar. 2, Observatory/North Park Mar. 3 and The Fonda Theatre Mar. 5; photo Daniel Efram

“Since I was a little baby, I thought I would like to have some kind of Gogol Bordel-lesk type of name; so when I grew up and became a big tall man, I said what could be better than a Gogol Bordel-lesk type of name than Gogol Bordello,” according to Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello.

“We were all winners of an American Idol competition. Except it was from different countries. Like Pedro is the winner of the Latino American Idol competition, Sergei is the winner of the Gypsy Russian American Idol competition. Then a producer put us together and told us all the lines… and here we come. Isn’t it obvious?”


GOGOL BORDELLO; photo Lauren Ratkowski

Armed with a healthy dose of sarcasm, a nine-piece band, and their gypsy punk sound, Gogol Bordello is heading out on tour in support of their recent album Seekers and Finders. And it is impossible to tell what any given show may be like.

“There are no shows that are alike,” explains Hutz. “The people in the band are spontaneous and playful. The gist of it is the band itself, the organism of the band is an improvising type of entity. We have played shows during earthquakes in Japan, and all over the world in all kinds of settings. From jazz festivals to metal festivals.


GOGOL BORDELLO; photo Daniel Efram

“The thing that makes a special show is seeing people’s eyes sparkling. That’s the show – the show is the eye of the audience. And I think the ratio of that in our case is pretty high. You know, there is a cliched saying that the eyes are the windows of the soul; but I think it’s pretty accurate I think. That never gets old.”

Known for their high energy shows for nearly twenty years, Hutz shed some light on how they have gone about this feat.

“There is a figure of speech: How do you capture energy?” mused Hutz “The important thing to understand is we do not capture the energy. We exude the energy. The engineers come and capture the energy. The band can exude energy at any given point in time.

“I like garlic. So like that goes for like everything else in my life. It has to have like that garlic frequency. And it has to remain quite spicy…. Which is why for this record I want to make sure all the spice is there.

GOGOL BORDELLO; photo Lauren Ratkowski

GOGOL BORDELLO; photo Lauren Ratkowski

“My favorite songs to play are when I get drunk and do entire Jesus Christ Superstar by myself. And karaoke by myself. That’s my favorite songs. I do hip-hop style, mumble hip-hop, medieval-pyscho-mumble-billy.”

As for the pre-show rituals the band engages in, Hutz said they decided to use something he learned in his past.

“When I was in the theater I learned a useful tool. Before the show you get to spend time together for sure.‘Cause it’s eight people with diverse moods and backgrounds. So about an hour before the show we start hanging out and not giving each other personal space. And then we do this kind of cathartic group, I guess you call it pyscho-gypsy gymnastics type of a thing. And then off we go. But really, it’s not even necessary. Give me a microphone and I’m ready.”

Gogol Bordello has never been a static band, constantly mutating since their inception.

“It’s always been transforming,” illustrates Huntz. “It started out as a duo, me and an accordion player. It literally snowballed for three or four years to being an eight piece. In fact, I didn’t want it to be a rock band. I wanted it to be a chamber, Tom Waits kind of a thing. And then it got out of control and became this insane orchestra of transplanted souls. And it’s always been shapeshifting ever since.”

Experience the aural feast that is Gogol Bordello when they come to the Observatory / Santa Ana Mar. 2, the Observatory / North Park Mar. 3 or The Fonda Theatre Mar. 5.