Gunner and the Grizzly Boys, The Legal Immigrants

While interviewing Gunnar from Gunnar and the Grizzly Boys (GGB) and ***** The Legal Immigrants (TLI)

me: So who are you? 

Gunnar (GGB): My bands name is Gunner and the Grizzly Boys, Shane Grehan plays the lead guitar, Chris Newberg plays the lead guitar..well not really.. well yeah and key bored, Joe Connolly plays the Drums, Rob Mason plays the Bass guitar. Joe Rood plays the acoustic guitar and sings. Thats all of them…

Joe (TLI):Except for you..what do you do?

Gunnar(GGB): My name is Gunnar, my name is in the band… I sing and play guitar, and you know dance like a chicken, I also do alot of the writing with friends and aother folks in the band..what ever inspires myself.

me:Do you dance like a chicken because of talking heads?

Gunnar (GGB): I dance like a chicken so people enjoy themselves, and want to come back. because I want attention.

(directing my attention to TLI)

me:So what is your bands name and what is your name?

Joe (TLI): My bands name is The Legal Immigrants, and my name is Joe, Joey sometimes. Lead gutair is Trevor Reidsma. Tony plays the Drums. On bass is Stefan Schwartz, Stefan eat my shorts, he plays bass and he sings. Yep. he sweats alot, yeah hes a sweater, that’s why he never wears sweaters.

me: So What is your bands name? 

Trevor (TLI): My bands name is The Legal Immigrants,


me: And your name?

My name is Trevor,

me:What instrument do you play? 

I play lead guitar.

me: you are very simple.

Straight question, straight answer,

Joe (TLI): He’s a simple man

(asking Gunnar) Where did the name come from?

Gunnar(GGB): My parents gave me this name, so I think people say that It’s my God given name. The ‘And the Grizzly Boys’ came up when I was writing songs and I was giving them to my friends to listen to.Joe and Rob of the band ended up being my friends at the time, and they would listen to it. We ended up going on a trip, a trip up north, we went fishing and just getting drunk we kinda coined ourselves ‘the Grizzly Boys’ while we were up there. This was after Joe and I (of Gunnar and the Grizzly boys) wrote a song about chewing tobacco and I think that we kind of just rolled with that. Not saying I took the name from Grizzly the chewing Tobacco. Then we called ourselves The Grizzly Boys, then I realized if i wanted to maintain any power in this band I better put my name in front of it. So I established that very early on before we started playing.

Joe(TLI): Yeah that’s why we are calling ourselves Joe and The Legal Immigrants. That is a brilliant idea.

me: so how did you come up with your name? 

Joe(TLI): No clue, I seriously, seriously I and a guitar player I had at the time, we needed to call ourselves something. We where texting back names and stuff. I don’t know, the Legal Immigrants was just the first one he actually liked. I was like “sweet that’s what we will call ourselves.” we get ‘The Illegal Immigrants’, ‘The legal Aliens’, or ‘Illegal Aliens’, I swear. So there is some issues with it. Some people think its politically driven. Its not.

me:how long have you been playing Locally? 

Gunnar(GGB): I have been playing locally, regionally and nationally for 4 years. Locally thats a weird question, playing music, within the area that I have lived, locally for 14 years.

me: how old are you now? 

Gunnar(GGB): I am veintiséis.

Me: 25?

Gunnar(GGB): yeah, wait no, seis

Trevor(TLI): 26.

Gunnar(GGB): It is 26 for all you non- bilingual .

me:how long have you lived in Michigan? 

Gunnar(GGB): for 26 years. since August 26, 1987.

Me: I know your birth date now. What part of Michigan are you from? 

Gunnar(GGB):Kent City, Michigan

me: (TLI) How long have you guys been playing locally? 

Joe(TLI): As a band four years. four incredible years, action packed.

me: so where are you from? 

Joe(TLI): I am from Grand Rapids, he (Trevor) is from Middleville, which is just south of Grand Rapids.

Me: He (Trevor) can’t talk for himself? 

Joe(TLI): Nope he has this kinda mystique thing.

Gunnar(GGB): Its really nice without my band here. I can actually talk.

Me:how many in your band. 

Joe(TLI): Four people in my band, three people other than me, so I guess that’s four total.

me: how long have you lived in Michigan? 

Joe(TLI): 27 years non-stop, but there is probably 1/2 a year collectively if you count all of my vacations and all that, I was gone for half a year, so just to be safe, on the side of caution we will say 26 veintiséis point five years.

me: (talking to Trevor) do you want me to ask you the same questions? 

Trevor (TLI): sure, I’m from  Middleville, I have lived in Michigan my whole life which is 24 years. What was the other questions.

Joe(TLI): How long have you been playing music.

Trevor (TLI): I have been playing music since I was six years old. I have been preforming, first time when I was 12 years old. I have been playing steadily since then.

Gunnar(GGB): I think you should try to form a haiku, or whatever that’s called, where he thinks hes better than us, have our little Slash.

me: What personal experiences have influenced your music?

Gunnar(GGB): Alot of death. I am not going to lie, my uncle died and that was after he gave me my first guitar. I wrote a song about him. Basically when I worry about death I go to music. That’s pretty much it. Life in marching band, life in choir, life in drama class, life in ministry band. Yeah that’s where I have been inspired too.

Joe(TLI): different struggles, different parts of life, just trying to accomplish your dreams. about times when you just fall flat on your face, a lot of the bad times, every once in awhile you will write sunny day, you know just noodling around on your guitar.

me: so do you guys share your writing (to Trevor and Joe)?

Trevor (TLI): He(Joe) writes everything.

me: What type of music do you play? 

Gunnar(GGB): I play country music with a Michigan root.

Joe(TLI): Rock n’ Roll,

Trevor (TLI): I agree.

Me: what did you think (and or dream) you would be when you grew up?

Gunnar(GGB): Famous, and a farmer. I think and pray that I will be Famous and a Farmer. It has pretty much been my game plan my whole life. my mom has videos, she would tape me practicing for school rehearsals in like 1st or 2nd grade and kindergarten for school plays. I just like to sing. Mary kate and Ashley, Still my best friends.  I have still never met them, but in fourth grade I wrote that my life goal was to met them so that pretty much sums up I wish I was famous enough to hang out with Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen since full house. I still love them, and you can say what ever you want, I still love them.

Me: what did you think (and or dream) you would be when you grew up?

Joe(TLI):  A bird. I don’t get along with reptiles. I saw a homework assignment from second or third grade, and it said I wanted to play basket ball in the CBA, Semi Professional. I must have seen a game and thought “this is all I want to do!” just want to go Semi pro.

Me: what did you think (and or dream) you would be when you grew up?

Trevor (TLI): When I was younger? I always wanted to be a rock star. Probably a lot bigger scale then we are right now. I want to do what we are doing.

me: Did you expect or think you would ever be playing in a band? 

Gunnar(GGB): YES

Joe(TLI): Heck yeah I did

Me: what do you think you do different than other bands? 

Gunnar(GGB): My band, we get along. We, make people like country, a lot of people after watching us say ” I hate country but I love you guys.”

Me: you are really good, I don’t really enjoy most country but I like you guys.

Gunnar(GGB): You are number seven to say that to me, seven thousand million.

Me: what do you think you do different than other bands? 

Joe(TLI): Oh then any other band, what do we do differently? um I cant speak for all the other bands, but I know we give our everything every show. Even if I feel tired or there is nobody there, we used to just sand bag it and cry ourselves to sleep when there was a show with not that many people there. Today if there is one person half way interested they are going to get everything we have as long as we can do it. We aren’t cry babies.

Me: what do you think you do different than other bands?

Trevor (TLI): We have problems and we solve them? I don’t know. I don’t know what other bands do. 

me: you dont listen to any other bands? 

Trevor (TLI): You mean music wise?

Joe(TLI): (sarcastic) You mean like music bands??

Trevor (TLI): We are bring Guitar leads back to music, that is what we are doing different, guitar solos.

Me: who writes your music? 

Gunnar(GGB): Myself and a gentleman named Shad Trent. He has given me great ideas for things I write, that he has helped write. Also anyone in the band open to write, it doesn’t really happen, but its open. I like: I Write The Songs by Barry Manilow, which is funny because that’s the only song he didn’t write.

Me: who is your biggest influence, music wise.


Joe(TLI): Led zeppelin, and the beetles.

Trevor (TLI): Keith Richards, Jimmy Hendrix, Jimmy Page.

Gunnar(GGB): My two living inspirations are Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, My two deceased inspirations are Johnny Cash and Kurt Cobain.