Blues Music

Pat Faherty and Tim Carman of GA-20 on “Yum Yums” and Side Hustles

GA-20 (credit Fancey Pansen)

Photo credit: Fancey Pansen

Tell us about your tour vehicle. Any notable breakdown stories?

Pat Faherty: We have a low mileage Sprinter high top. There haven’t been any major repairs but, after getting brakes replaced, we stopped in the Colorado mountains because we smelled and saw smoke coming from the tires. While we were cooling off, we got a great picture that became the inside photo on the Crackdown LP.

How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?

Tim Carman: I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t eat very cheaply. I enjoy food and spend way too much money on cold brew especially. Matt used to joke that I eat 17 meals a day. All this snacking has led to a fun Instagram series called “Yum Yums” where I rate road snacks on a scale from 1-10 Yum Yums. It provides a nice excuse for my snacking habits! Thankfully, playing drums burns off some of those tasty calories.

How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?

Faherty: I don’t break strings that often, and packs are usually between $6-8 depending on the retailer.

Carman: I don’t break strings. But I do break sticks. Usually go through maybe 12 pairs a year.

Where do you rehearse?

Faherty: We have a half-finished basement that we rehearse/record in. We’ve done a live stream concert and recorded 3 albums in there. Stubbs built it out really well.

What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?

Faherty: In high school I had an awful punk band. I think the first song I ever wrote was for that band and it was called “West Indies.” The chorus was “Oh the West Indies. I wish I could go there.” Please do not ask me to elaborate.

Describe your first gig.

Faherty: I played an instrumental trio gig at a friend’s restaurant. We played background music. Nobody listened but I managed to be really nervous anyway.

Carman: My first gig with GA-20 was at Atwood’s Tavern in Cambridge MA. I essentially was subbing in for their previous drummer, who couldn’t make that particular gig. I spent quite a lot of time working through the tunes and I think we only rehearsed once before the show. It was a blast. I instantly knew I wanted to be a member of the band. Things clicked for the three of us on stage that hadn’t clicked in my other playing situations.

What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?

Faherty: I teach guitar, and I manage to teach while on the road. I’m not sure I’ll ever stop teaching. I like helping beginners out and it helps me solidify some musical concepts in my head.

Carman: As a side job, I work for Hudson Music as their social media person. It’s the perfect side job to do while on the road. I post to their IG, Facebook, and Twitter accounts and get to interact with some legendary drummers like Mike Clark and Steve Gadd. I also publish my own drum books. I currently have four available.

How has your music-related income changed over the past 5-10 years? What do you expect it to look like 5-10 years from now?

Faherty: It went from supplemental to primary and sustainable. I owe that to the hard work Stubbs, Tim, Tracey, Terry Cole/Colemine Records, and Michael Morris/Mint Talent put into this band. I have no idea what 5-10 years from now will look like but here’s to keeping it going.

Carman: My music income has changed quite a bit over the last five years. I used to rely heavily on teaching drum lessons, but because GA-20 is on the road so much, I basically don’t teach anymore. My income comes from playing, which I couldn’t be happier about. We’re very fortunate to be touring as much as we are, in this day and age. We love working with Michael Morris at Mint Talent and expect that in 5 to 10 years we’ll be touring just as much and hopefully making a comfortable living doing it.

What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?

Carman: For someone looking to make a living as a drummer, spend more time working on feel, groove, and sound and less time working on playing fast and executing fancy fills.

GA-20 was formed by friends Pat Faherty and Matthew Stubbs in Boston, MA in 2018. The project was born out of their mutual love of heavy traditional Blues, R&B, and Rock & Roll of the late 50s and early 60s. Faherty and Stubbs bonded over legendary artists like Lazy Lester, J.B. Lenoir, Earl Hooker, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush and Junior Wells. Feeling a void in current music, the duo have set out to write, record and perform a modern version of this beloved art form. Joined by drummer Tim Carman in 2019, GA-20 is a trio of 2 guitars, vocals and drums. Raw, passionate and honest performance, both on stage and in the studio, is the only goal.

On Crackdown, GA-20’s third full-length release, the band creates an unvarnished, ramshackle blues that is at once traditional and refreshingly modern. Expanding on their previous releases (2019’s Lonely Soul and 2021’s Try It…You Might Like It! GA-20 Does Hound Dog Taylor) GA-20 finds inspiration on the edges of the genre, where early electric blues first converged with country and rock ‘n’ roll. The album’s nine original songs include the loping “Louisiana-flavored Dry Run”, the dirty and bare-bones “Easy On The Eyes” and the melodic garage tinge of “Fairweather Friend”. With tight, propulsive performances and a brevity and punk energy reminiscent of The Ramones, Crackdown is rowdy and fun, filled with instantly memorable and well-crafted songs.

Connect with the band online and on the road.

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