Cavity's Dan Gorostiaga on Zinemaking and His Top Ten Records of All Time
Dan Gorostiaga has been a key a figure in South Florida's underground. As founder and sole constant of Cavity, he put Miami on the metal map during the '90s with the band's highly imitated, stripped-down sludge. Since its split in 2001, I have personally pestered him about the band getting back together and even campaigned through County Grind's Blast From the Past columns to stir interest.
This past summer, during his former bandmates' band Black Cobra's stop at Gramps in Wynwood, Gorostiaga performed "Crawling" and "Supercollider" to a crowd that was largely unaware of this intention.
As an artist, Gorostiaga's recent inspirations have seen him become a maker of zines and artist's books that are limited-edition objects d'art. We recently had the chance to discuss Cavity, his art, and being onstage once again.
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Let's start with Marginal Man Works and how you got into zinemaking.
Dan Gorostiaga: Marginal Man Works is the name of my website. "Marginal Man Blues" was one of my favorite Cavity songs; therefore, I named the website (designed by Priya Ray) after it. I promote and sell my fanzines through it.
I got into zinemaking by wanting to show my visual work on my own terms. Following the example of artists like Dieter Roth and Alberto Casiraghi (both famous for making artist's books), I decided to try it for myself. I had made some music-related fanzines back in the late '80s with band interviews and record reviews but didn't get back into it until about a year and half ago.
Plenty of people I know did them in the early '90s such as Chuck Loose, Erick Lyle, and Scott Baldwin, and I started to look through their issues again. All of these factors influenced me to make them on my own. I've made about six fanzines/artist's books in the last year. Most of them are out of print already, except for a couple of them (Somewhere between... number five and number one).
What's the process behind Somewhere Between..., do you find it a balanced approach to digital and organic media?
Somewhere between... is the name of the fanzines and artist's books I make. I thought the name was fitting because these publications fall between the concept of a fanzine and an artist's book, depending on the issue. I've done five issues so far and am working on number six at the moment.
Like I said, I wanted to find a way to share my visual work. I've been making art for a long time but more seriously since the early '00s. Since that time, I've been making collages, paintings, and photographs. I've exhibited some of them, others I have sold and others I've destroyed.
I do have documentation of a lot of these and that's what these publications are for, to show this work in a new way. I make my own deadlines and include anything I want within them. The digital and organic approach comes together in the layout of the pages. I usually scan my sources and then combine them digitally (or through cut and paste, then scan); I also experiment with different elements on the scanner itself or copy machine.
When was the last time you performed as Cavity?
The last time Cavity performed was back in 2001 in Tampa. We opened up for Cutthroats 9. The show was a success for half of the band and a disaster for the other. We broke up after this show. I guess we were all looking to do different things. I personally left town to go to grad school at Hunter College in New York City.
And what cosmic disturbance led to this past Black Cobra show and you joining your former bandmate Jason Landrian for a pair of Cavity tunes?
I had spoken to Jason a couple of weeks before their tour started and we thought it would be a cool thing to do. People have been asking me for years to get the band back together, you included. Cavity had a lot of members throughout its history but a lot of them live in other parts of the country. It would take lots of planning to get this together and so far, it hasn't happened. Well, this seemed like the easiest thing to do. I would get up on stage at the end of the Black Cobra set and just do a couple of songs with them.
An incomplete collection of Cavity's recorded catalog.
Who selected the songs?
Jason and I selected them. We had thought of doing three songs but it just didn't work out. Black Cobra rehearsed the songs during their sound checks before making it to Miami.
Do you feel the experience was enough to maybe consider getting the band back together? Lord knows there are plenty of people left in South Florida who you played with back in the day.
I've been talking to some members and we might be able to pull something together in the near future but I'm not making any promises. It was great to play those songs and to have new people experience them.
You know I'll respect your decision as a fan and friend, but you looked like you were having fun and that not these many years have passed.
I had tons of fun, and I wish we could've played at least two more songs! Yeah, it felt great to play music again which is something I haven't done in a while.
I liked your stuff at Echos Myron, any upcoming exhibits we should know about?
Thanks! People can only see my visual work in my fanzines/books or art shows I put on, I don't participate in other people's shows anymore. A friend of mine, Dan Norris (ex-Cavity drummer) approached me about doing a two person art show, so that I will do. Dan does some cool photography and I think that we can come up with something interesting together. The show may happen early next year somewhere in Miami.
In closing, and I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but you have the most normal and laidback appearance of anybody I've ever met in South Florida's music scene, yet I know a twisted brain lies within. Without going into an exploration of your psyche, what are your top ten records of all time?
Really hard question to answer but I can give you a list of records that I listen to again and again and they never lose their intensity (there are plenty more but these are the ones that came to mind):
Exile on Main Street - Rolling Stones (actually, anything with Mick Taylor)
To Love Somebody EP - Mule
The Word As Law - Neurosis
Divididos por la felicidad - Sumo (Argentinean band, anything by them)
You Can't Pray a Lie - Laughing Hyenas
Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
Hits - The Birthday Party
Selling Water by the Side of the River - Evan Lurie
Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan
The Jimmy Reed Experience - Billy Childish and Thee Headcoats
Yup, you missed out on this.
Grab Dan's zines at marginalmanworks.com.
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