Last January, the West Coast Blizzard took America by storm, and raged all the way from New York down to Georgia. Streets were piled high with snow and many a power line came tumbling down. But this didn’t stop Murphy from spending the storm in his basement,
recording his solo project, American Goon.
This isn’t Murphy’s first venture into the world of music, either. Six years ago, he founded the country-blues band, Blackfoot Gypsies, as a two-piece, with Matthew Paige on vocals and guitar, and him on the drums. Later, the band added a bass player and a harmonica player to expand their sound.
But the expansion didn’t stop there for Murphy. While he enjoyed creative freedom in
Blackfoot Gypsies, the urge to venture more into heavy metal led him to work on the
hardcore sound embodied in American Goon.
An admitted political junkie, Murphy used the album to voice some of his opinions on
American politics, and the seeming ridiculousness of American pop culture.
“There’s a large issue with people not being able to put themselves in another person’s
shoes,” Murphy explains, while not at all removing blame from himself as a potential part of
He says, “Every living being is drawn to something that kills them – whether it be reality
TV, drugs, or food. We’re all kind of doomed by what we love, and it’s awful but beautiful.”
But delving into political and philosophical thought and music wasn’t the only expansion
that came with working on a solo album. Trapped at home in the snow-storm, Murphy
became a one-man- band by playing all the parts himself. He did the writing, singing, the
recording, and played drum, bass, and guitar.
“A part of me just wanted to do a solo thing to see, ‘Is this something I can pull off? Is this
something that is possible?’” Murphy admits. “Finding a voice I didn’t completely hate of
my own was a process of trying and listening back… [I also had to learn] how to play
guitar… I’ve never really been too comfortable taking guitar solos… It was a nice challenge.”
Nevertheless, Murphy says his solo project will never overshadow his work with his band
mates. It’s been a great ride with Blackfoot Gypsies, who just completed their first
European tour. The band stage-dived in Spain after being peer-pressured into the daring
move by their audience; and put on many other great shows in Sweden, France, Holland,
Germany, and Norway.
With all the hard work that comes with being a part of a constantly touring band with now
international recognition, Murphy isn’t sure when he’ll make the next move for American
Goon. But we look forward to the next time he’s snow-stormed into his basement…
In the meantime, check out Zack Murphy playing with Blackfoot Gypsies. The band is
playing shows all month from North Carolina to Georgia.