Chris Krupa Interview
In the spring of 1998, they released their first CD to rave reviews. It
became the top selling local CD the month it was released and received 1999
SAMMY (Syracuse Area Music Award) nominations for Best Local Recording and
Best Rock Band.
Their latest CD is titled "Confusion Among The Masses."
When they're not in the studio, they're out on the road playing shows
all over the Northeast, from Maine to Ohio and everywhere in between.
We are of course talking about Supergush. Supergush vocalist, guitarist
Chris Krupa talked with us about his group.
Q - Chris, I don't understand why you had to change the name from Gush
A - I still don't understand that myself. (Laughs).
Q - Were you on the verge of signing some kind of major label deal?
A - No, but Gush was. The band Gush out of Long Island. They had just
started distributing their CD nationwide. So, it was a matter of they had
the name first and we opted to change it first before it got into any legal
things. We had done some research and nothing turned up which is always
the case. And then, about a year into being Gush and just developing a fan
base and setting up the name where people knew who we were, we come across
another Gush. And, it was like okay, well as long as they're there
and we're here, it's not a problem at this point in time. It's not like
we're on the verge of breaking, and it didn't look like they were either.
A couple of months later, their CD showed up in Borders and some other local
music stores in the national distribution section. So, they were getting
some airplay on some of the stations down in New York City. We just kind
of opted to change it figuring that it would have to come at some time anyway
if we were to break.
Q - So, they didn't call you at any time and say what's going on here?
A - No. We kind of headed it off at the pass so to speak. They were aware
that we were out there.
Q - Were you in a group before Supergush?
A - I was in a group in college called The Brave Utensils, from 1992 to
Q - What college was that?
A - LeMoyne. That's where I met the guitarist Terry Clifton, who
I founded the band with. We did pretty much cover stuff and played a lot
of local bars and parties. It was kind of like your typical college band.
Then I moved away after graduation. I was in a blues band for a year
in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. That brings us to 1995. It was a four-piece band
called The B Flat Blues Band. Terry and I were pretty good friends, so we
stayed in touch after graduation, even though I was out there and he
was here. We talked about starting something up when I moved back. I was
only gone for a year, doing AmeriCorp which is kind of like volunteering
in the Peace Corps, but it's within the country. So, when I finished up
my year, I moved back to Syracuse. Terry and I started an acoustic duo called
The Noisy Boys, which we've been doing ever since. We still do that on the
side with the band.
Q - Where do you play with that duo?
A - The acoustic duo plays a lot of the smaller bars and some of the same
bars we play with the band. We do like Bennigan's on the Blvd., Rosie O'Grady's,
Coleman's. One of the places we played just for that is a place called Takoma's,
out in Chittenango. It's a great little bar. We've had a good rapport with
those guys for about five years now. We play those places on a rotation
(basis). Typically Terry and I will play the acoustic duo on like a Thursday
and Friday, and the band will play on a Saturday. Between the two projects
we probably play three to four times a week and over the summer anywhere
between three to five times a week.
Q -You certainly work a lot.
A - Terry and I both work for the Syracuse City School District and so
with the summer this is all we do. We beef up the schedule a little bit.
Q - You perform on college campuses out of town. What's the purpose behind
A - Well, it's kind of a dual purpose. Colleges pay really well and it
helps us finance the things we do, like promotion locally, as well
as recording and reproduction of the CD, merchandising and advertising.
We spend a lot of money out of the band advertising shows. And so the colleges
enable us to do other things cheaper around here. You know, we'll go and
make our money at the colleges doing covers as well as originals promoting
the new CD. It's also a decent money maker. We play anywhere from Maine,
the farthest east we've been, to Columbus, Ohio, the farthest west we've
been. The music we play is aimed right at the college age person, as far
as covers that we do. A lot of modem rock songs. On those types of shows,
maybe a third of the night will be original material. The original material
is very pop rockish as well. So, it kind of fits right in.
Q - Do you think there's a music scene in Syracuse?
A - It's tough to tell. For cover bands yeah. There's definitely
a scene out there. You've got bands thriving off the cover. People want
to hear songs they're familiar with. As far as original material, other
than Styleen's, I can't think of a place you can go and play original material
successfully, without a huge fan base. Possibly The Lost Horizon, although
that's always aimed at a heavier crowd it seems. Styleen's seems to be the
only place in town maybe apart from like a Happy Endings which is more of
an acoustic based thing. There's not too many places to play in town. You
find that a lot of the just original bands don't come through that often.
Maybe the Planet 505 is the other place you'd catch bands doing their own
thing. There's not a lot of places for bands in the rock industry to play
in the Syracuse area. So, you find a lot of people traveling. We'll do the
Syracuse area a little bit more because it's like we have a dual band. We
do the covers as well to make the money and we do the original shows to
promote the original material.
Q - You performed at a Syracuse Crunch game back on November 6, 1998.
A - Right.
Q - I've never heard of a group doing something like that. Were you the
A - I think we were. I think they only had two or three bands play. It
was like a series they wanted to start called 'Party Under The Ice.' They
had a band playing 'Happy Hour' on a Friday night prior to the Crunch game.
I think we played maybe from five to seven and the hockey game was seven-thirty
to whatever. That was kind of neat. It was definitely a different crowd.
All walks of life were at the Crunch game, maybe a crowd we wouldn't be
exposed to normally. We've really stumbled into a lot of unique shows, between
the Crunch game and we've also played the Back Court. We played for one
of the Syracuse University games. We played the St. John's game back in
'98. I don't remember the date, but, it was one of the Syracuse games. It
was great to get the band out there and let people see us. There were 30,000
people at the St. John's game, who maybe never heard of us. That was a lot
Q - Does playing a gig like that actually help the band? Do people come
up and say I saw your band at the St. John's game?
A - Yeah. It's funny how things will come back to you years later. I'll
have somebody say we saw you guys playing as the acoustic duo out in Canandaigua
at a little hole in the wall we play that's been great to us over the years,
so we've gone back there. People say we've seen you there, we've seen you
here, just randomly down the road, two, three years later. You don't necessarily
see the impact of playing those shows right then and there. It's basically
a name recognition thing. You need longevity and you need to stay in it
for a decent amount of time before people are going to remember. That's
why we're big on the promotion stuff. We give stickers away at all the shows
just so somebody walks away with something that's tangible, so they can
say, I remember seeing this band a couple of years ago at Styleen's, and
they're playing this weekend.
Q - You've approached record labels, haven't you?
A - Yes. We did a solicitation about a year and-a half ago, when the first
CD came out. We had some decent response back, but nothing to merit going
after anything like that. We'll probably try the same approach, although
it's such a shot in the dark. You really need that connection, somebody
who knows somebody. You need the break of coming across somebody who's
interested in your music not because you solicited them but because they
happened upon you, or because you've built a big enough fan base it only
makes sense that a label will take you over.
Q - You approached independent labels?
A - No. We went after anything that was solicitation. We probably mailed
to about 50 different labels; which included smaller independents and some
of the larger ones like a Geffen or SONY. We didn't have too many bites.
With some people it ends up in the trash. Some people give it a listen
and say get back to us when you got new stuff.
Q - Your songs are also on MP3's website, aren't they?
A - Yes.
Q - If somebody can grab a song for free, doesn't that really defeat
the purpose of selling a CD?
A - Well, if you look at the music as an extension of marketing yourself
and letting people know you're out there ... we're not looking to make money
on the CD. The new CD we have out we probably sunk eleven grand into. We're
selling it for ten dollars a pop. So right there, we've already lost a thousand
dollars. We're just doing it to get the music out there. Be aware of our
songs. Maybe somebody likes it and passes it onto a friend. At this
part of the game it's just part of the promotional tool. Everything you
invest in at this point is basically a break even. What can we do to put
the band in the best position possible to make the next step.
Q - How many CD's did you have?
A - We had a thousand printed. We've already done pretty well. The
CD release party at the Hotel Syracuse went exceptionally well. We had a
great turnout. It was just a lot of fun. We did story telling. We got to
see a lot of old friends and new friends. We had a lot of people show up
that we didn't expect to come. It was great.
Q - I see you're playing Party on the Plaza. You'll probably be able to
sell quite a few CD's there.
A - Definitely. Anywhere we're able to get an opportunity to get
it out there, you've got to take advantage of it, because it comes and goes
so quickly. I can't believe we've been together going on three and a half
years now. It flies by. As you get older, your marketability goes down.
Nobody wants to hire a band that's got a bunch of 35 year olds in it playing
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