Detroit's own rock 'n' roll he-man John Krautner's first solo full-length is called Fun With Gum Vol. 1. It's out this month on the red-hot, Southern California-based record label Burger Records.
Metro Times: Is it fair to assume that the title of your record, Fun With Gum Vol. 1, is a reference to the bubblegum genre?
John Krautner: Yes, indeed! As a matter of fact, I have had such a long infatuation with the genre, I refer to it as "gum" for short. I do have to say that I received quite an education from Wendy Case, who held my hand during the old days, and taught me what gum was all about. I think I always knew I liked bubblegum music, but Wendy helped me understand why I liked it.
MT: Is this a concept record?
Krautner: I guess you could call it a concept record. Ultimately, I just want people to have as much fun listening as I did recording it.
MT: How did the record come about, then? Is this something you worked on a long time?
Krautner: Sean and Lee over at Burger records and I have long shared a love for this music since my band the Go and their band Thee Make Out Party toured together back in 2008. This record was actually their idea. After the Go finished recording Fiesta for Burger in 2012, Sean told me he was going to start harassing me to make a bubblegum record — which he did! I love Sean and Lee and it's hard not to give them absolute respect for all the sacrifices they've made for their label.
With help from my good pal Bobby Harlow, we started making it in 2013. It took about a month and a half. Because of the surging demand for vinyl manufacturing, it's taken some time, but it's finally out! Harlow is my longtime music partner and a dear friend for almost 20 years. A couple years ago, Bobby moved out to California to produce bands for Burger. But before he left, he produced this album for me, here in Berkley.
MT: Do you have a favorite moment on the record?
Krautner: (Laughs) Yes! My favorite moment is in the middle of the third verse on "I Can Cry Too." You can hear a screen door swing open. That's my mom coming down the basement stairs with tuna fish sandwiches for Bobby and I! I think I like it because it still sounds musical.
MT: You have this solid band together now; how many of those people played on the record?
Krautner: My band consists of Ben Luckett on drums, Steve Nawara on bass, and Justin Walker on lead guitar. All three of them also played on the record (fantastically, I might add.)
MT: What are the chances for a Go reunion?
Krautner: The chances are always good. We are ready for the opportunity if it should come our way. We've never advertised any of our shows as our "last show." We like leaving the door open.
Krautner performs at UFO Factory on Friday, April 24; starts at 9 p,.m.; 2110 Trumbull St., Detroit; facebook.com/ufofactorydetroit; $8.