Bands on the Verge: El Gigantor

Jenny Dwoskin

El Gigantor is a different breed of cover band. Composed of eight juniors, the band has their own manager, a sasquatch mascot – but no drum set.

“We have African bongos, though,” bassist Joe Goessling assures people, “and a snare. Honestly, sometimes pots and pans are used.”

Fortunately, the band’s backup vocalist/backup percussionist, David “Sunshine” Bauman, has a keyboard which features drum sounds. “Occasionally, I tickle the ivory,” he says. Yet, even without a formal set, the band plays an impressive lineup of ’90s, 2000s and some ’80s jams.

Managed by Pat Griffin, El Gigantor includes Goessling, Sunshine, Michael Bolton (guitar – and no, he’s not related), Chris Gudas (guitar), Dan Janniello (percussion), Kevin “Kev-Fro” Lubarksy (lead singer), Steve Quinn (percussion), and Pat Salemo (guitar/backup vocals). Aside from the concert band, El Gigantor is easily the university’s largest musical project.

“We just want to make our audience happy, regardless of the music’s quality,” says Gudas. He says the band’s play list consists of “upbeat songs that people know.” If that means sacrificing creativity, they don’t mind. Besides, Griffin admits, “El Gigantor is not ‘musically-gifted.’ But we’re capable.”

Ambition is what has driven the “El Gigantor” name to the top of Main Line charts. This may be an admirable accomplishment, but the band does not feel fulfilled. In fact, they are hoping to capture a piece of the globalization phenomenon.

“We sent Kevin, our front man, abroad this semester to break into and open up the Australian and Asian markets for El Gigantor,” Bolton says.

El Gigantor originated at an authentic toga party. “We had always been friends,” Gudas says, “But we never realized that we all could play musical instruments. So, we started the band.”

Griffin adds: “The original concept was to have about 20 people in the band, so there would be no need for microphones. But, that wouldn’t be good for profit; we’d have to split the money 20 ways.”

Of course, El Gigantor is not in the business for the green. They’re in it to pay homage to their influences, who, according to Janniello, are mostly early Bob Hope, vaudevillian shows. “The Mickey Mouse Club was also huge for our harmonies,” he says, “also listing to the Soggy Bottom Boys, and Britney Spears’s earlier work.”

Don’t be fooled, though; being a musician is not just about the music. Kev-Fro says there is an aesthetic sensation as well. “Our outrageous outfits, for example, are the visual translation of our music,” he says. “A pair of skintight leopard pants can be like a face-melting guitar solo.”

Who wouldn’t want that kind of excitement in their backyard? “Yeah, we’ll play your house – for sustenance,” says manager Griffin. Chips and dip, in particular, are always well received.

Fame is not the game, here. Rather, El Gigantor strives to attain a certain attitude. “We like to think of ourselves as having a minor in this new arts discipline,” Sunshine explains, “and that discipline is showmanship.”

As for upcoming campus events, on April 13, El Gigantor will be rocking the Connelly Center. And, this Saturday, the band will make its silver screen debut at the Villanovan Film Festival. “It’s not Kurosawa,” warns Griffin, “and it’s fictionalized. But it’s good.”

Lastly, because El Gigantor practices in Gallen Hall (with the windows open), they would like to make a formal apology to Jackson Hall for the ruckus.

“Sometimes we rock too hard,” Sunshine confesses, but just think of it as a sonic massage. Therapy for the soul.