Consider the Grackles

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Buck Gooter. Credit: Paul Somers

Buck Gooter is quite possibly the hardest-working band you’ve never heard of. Since forming in 2005, the band has logged 18 albums and 531 live shows. Their latest, Finer Thorns, just came out. But they’ve never had a hit, never been reviewed by Pitchfork.

A punk duo from Harrisonburg, Virginia, Buck Gooter is Billy Brett, 33, and Terry Turtle, 66. On paper, they’re an odd couple, separated as they are by a generation and change. But on stage, they’ve formed a tight and incredibly productive musical collaboration.

Together, Brett and Turtle criss-cross the country in a Subaru Forester to play heavy, abrasive rock music to small groups of 20-somethings in basements. They crash on couches, and when couches aren’t available, on floors.

Buck Gooter is not alone — surely there are thousands of bands like this, releasing music to no fanfare and touring for little or no money. In this cultural moment, when it can seem like ubiquity is the only criterion for artistic success, what keeps a band like Buck Gooter going?


Other image credits: Zoo Williams