My interview and photo shoot with CLGIV spanned about 3 ½ hours. In this time, I learned more than a few captivating tidbits about the musician: Leo once licked a puddle in 2nd grade, had (has?) a pet bee, has a custom design of Blackbird shoes named after him, and apparently has an alternate ego named “Svetlana Sexycat”.
Might I also add that when we met, he was very sunburned… quite a commodity in this dreary summer of ours.
Our interview, which was held outside, allowed Charles to conduct several costume changes--his glasses were replaced with shades and his jacket was removed 4 times during it's course: how fashion forward.
Charles Leo Gebhart IV, who is formerly of Unnatural Helpers and currently a solo musician, plans to spend his summer recording with Gold Leaves, ("I am so excited about that. I met this guy and told him how much I love his music, and he asked me to come play and record with him. So awesome.") Grant Olsen of Arthur & Yu's new project. Leo is currently on GGNZLA records (alongside Unnatural Helpers) so stay posted to see updated show dates and music releases.
See for yourself how just stylish this flaxen man can be.
Wearing a Daniel J Mitchell original T.
Featuring Cairo original crystals and Blackbird original CLGIV shoes.
"This photo represents what I am doing right now. I am getting my photo taken by a giant camera. I am the girl in the picture."
And the interview...
Where did you grow up?
On Mercer Island.
What was your first concert?
I saw Skip Leader, The Red Aunts, Gas Huffer, Fits of Depression at The King Cat Theater in in 7th grade. It was one week before I saw Green Day for the Epitaph Records Punk’o’Rama.
How about one of your most cringeworthy memories?
I punched Michael St. Pierre in the stomach when he was climbing in between two trees on the first day of kindergarten. I still feel guilty about it.
What were you listening to as a kid?
I remember our family’s first CD, it was the Cirque du Soleil soundtrack, after we saw them perform for the 1990 Goodwill Games. My first cassette was “The Simpsons Sing the Blues”. Also “Deep Breakfast” by Ray Lynch when I was 10 years old… I still remember the tune.
Musically, do you have a favorite labelmate?
Yeah, Johnny O’Donnell. His record Hellbodies is still my favorite one. He is such a prolific songwriter. Also, I think Trent is the most amazing composer. He has a natural gift. It’s been a great experience knowing him.
Do you have a favorite Seattle venue?
My two favorite shows that I’ve ever played were at Cairo and the Jewelbox at the Rendez-Vous. They are good venues with an awesome audience, and both had a great spirit around the show. I loved the show at Cairo because there is no specific structure or framework to the space, so there is little distraction for the performer—they can be more involved with the audience.
Tell me a weird tour story, please.
Most notable was probably in 2003—I went on tour with the Catheters and our transmission in the van broke down in outside Indio, CA. Eight years later I was on tour with Missoula Oblongata and our van broke down. Our transmission died. In Indio, CA! We were stuck there for a week while we were waiting for the part. Very strange.
What is your staple article of clothing?
I really like polo shirts. I like a good collar. Most people would probably say my hair. I’m also really into my new polarized prescription sunglasses. (That explains the costume changes!)
What sandwich best describes your personality?
Today I had a salmon sandwich from Le Fournil on Eastlake. It was amazing. So I’m gonna go with that.
Thoughts on Sonic Boom closing and the death of record stores?
Aren’t we the problem? We can get everything for free on the internet these days. I feel as though people purchase merch at a show as a token of remembrance, not because they need the music. They can find it online.
Who in the world would you invite to dinner?
My grandfather CLG Jr. He died before I was born. Everyone I’ve spoken to said he was a phenomenal, considerate person. I would have loved to meet him.
Do you have an idol?
Well, I have an inspiration. Jonathan Richman—both musically and psychologically. I guess there’s no right word for it. He is a very self-aware musician. I remember first hearing his album and thinking, “I want to do music that sounds like this”.
Got any summer plans?
Yeah. I’m learning how to ride a motorcycle this weekend. I never learned and I always wanted to.
What would you do as a member of the opposite sex for a week?
Oh, I guess I’d do push-ups.
Hey! You can see this man in the flesh! Charles Leo is playing Seattle Weekly's REVERB Music Fest in October. See you then, friends.