TEXT: SCOTT ELLMAN '15, STAFF WRITER
The Blast Zone is a football talk show hosted by Baggins (Davey Bales ’15) and the G-Hole (Gabe Gilbert-Lurie ‘16) on 88.1 WESU Middletown. The show airs in the early hours of Wednesday morning—or the fading hours of Tuesday night depending on your point of view. For an hour a week the two discuss everything from fantasy studs and duds to hypothetical mascot battles to Millard Fillmore (our 13th President, in case you were wondering).
But a couple of weeks ago extenuating circumstances led the Blast Zone into uncharted territories and an entirely different kind of radio broadcast. I caught up with the G-Hole to discuss that special broadcast.
SE: Talk us through the decision that led to your performance. Why did that happen? Why switch from (your) fantasy football show to this singing performance?
G-H: So my co-host, Baggins had a midterm and told me that he couldn’t do the show, and I went to the people that would be my first choices if I had to replace him, and none of them could do the show with me due to midterms, so I guess I was the only one on campus dedicated enough to do (the show)—well actually that’s not true. I had one friend who offered to do it with me, but he couldn’t do the prep, which is kind of the toughest part of the whole show… so I just decided that I didn’t want to cancel the show or just put on music or whatever. I just thought that would be boring or a cop-out. But I can’t really do the Blast Zone alone… it’s not a one-person show, so what could I do that would be interesting? So I decided to sing Les Mis.
SE: Why Les Mis?
G-H: It’s my favorite play. I know the lyrics to a lot of the songs. You know I read the lyrics as I did it, but I didn’t have to completely rely on them. It’s orchestral, and also I thought it would be funny. I definitely didn’t want to go and just sing a bunch of random songs. I wanted them to be from one body of work, and Les Mis is sort of my favorite body of work.
SE: How do you think people responded? What’s the sense that you get of how people came out of it?
G-H: I heard that a lot of people sexually climaxed during it actually.
SE: Oh yeah, is that true?
G-H: Yeah. Um, but that’s hearsay and secondary sources. Primary sources I’ve talked to told me that their favorite parts were the emotion I injected into some of it. Certainly it was not the technical singing that brought people to the show, but it was you know sort of the bits were I cried or stuttered at the end of Épanine’s “On My Own” that really got people going.
SE: Yeah you seemed to really get into that. Do you relate to Épanine personally?
G-H: I empathize a lot with Épanine actually. Empathize and sympathize. Look them up. I think Epanine is the most tragic character in the show. You know she’s the favorite child but in this sad, abusive home. She’s not really treated well even though she’s the favorite child. Grows up poor on the streets kind of hustling people and then falls in love but gets, you know, for lack of a better term, friend-zoned, and she just loves this person so much that she literally dies just to help him find love with another woman. She loves him so much that she can let him go. I know that’s a cliché—like, I could never love someone so much that I could let them go… and I think that’s really beautiful when that happens. It tugs on the heartstrings of what the G-Hole has left in his heart.
SE: You sound kind of morose. Did that in some way influence what resulted in this performance?
G-H: I don’t know. I think I definitely drew some of the emotion from Épanine’s song just trying to channel Epanine and what I’ve seen in the play and what I can imagine from her story. That being said, I definitely thought back to moments in my own life, of heartbreak, and definitely channeled that into the song. There were some moments at the end where it sounded like I was crying, and they were acting, but all actors draw on real emotion to get to where they’re going.
SE: The good ones I think, at least.
SE: What are some of your favorite musicians or acts out right now?
G-H: I’m a big fan of Bono.
G-H: Nope. My favorite band would definitely be the Avett Brothers. I’m into a lot of genres of music. I like rap a lot. I like country music… but I think the Avett Brothers are my favorite all-time band. They really bring everything to the table, which is important for me, especially good stories. My favorite genres tend to be folk, country, and rap, because they’re more story-based rather than music-based. I like lyrics that tell a story Perfect example is “Traveling Soldier” by the Dixie Chicks. I like something that you can—it’s almost like reading but with music, and I think the Avett Brothers tell great stories but in a beautiful, melodic way, which is once again relatable and just fun to listen to. They have great voices, and they’re just fun to listen to. They just pull on the heartstrings.
You can listen to the full recording of the G-Hole’s Les Mis performance at the link below and tune in to The Blast Zone every week on Wednesday mornings at 88.1 WESU Middletown.
Link to episode: https://soundcloud.com/scottellman/the-blast-zone-episode-5