Good Time Camper

by Dan Vierck
July 2008

Madison's Good Time Camper

Madison's Good Time Camper

We didn’t discuss it specifically, but the more and more I talked to Good Time Camper about their menagerie of sounds it became clear that the foursome is a condensed version of a group not unlike Scooby, Shaggy and the Gang, except that in the case of GTC, instead of solving mysteries, their sound is the mystery.

Patrick Sweeney, the easy Freddy of the group, brings the songs. Then the pieces are created layer by layer with the aid of the other three. Rounding out the parallel, bassist Sean Ellis runs the Shaggy route being aloof but always in the middle of the action, drummer Jamie Zander, the Scooby, brings the smile and the comic relief which leaves (sorry, dude) guitarist Adam Ginsberg to be Velma, with the fantastic guitar science into the chemistry.

Going around the table is adding factors to a perplexing story problem where Dr. Dre, Phish, 70’s classic, and 90’s rock are all mixed up together and smoothed out into a well-rounded, universally appetizing and fulfilling pancake of completely listenable music. Yes, believe it or not, Good Time Camper is a completely delightful pancake of music.

They have the magic of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” in every one of their songs, which may on the surface tip the hat to Dave Matthews Band or OAR but underneath they have that great, smooth soul groove that the best and most rhythmic hip hop is made of.

Sweeney and Ginsberg were up to acoustic high jinks back in ‘05, after numerous bands, including Sweeney’s fronting stint for the Matthews Band tribute’s Tripping Billies. They played around until they landed friends Zander and Ellis to round out songs they’d been playing the past two years.

Those songs were the foundation of the group as they began to find their pace as a troupe, which has taken them farther away from the straighter jam sound they’d touted early on. Gigging recently in Winona, MN, they were proud to report a more purposefully dance-able funk sound when they did wander on the groove. Another evolution as a group that’s grown together over a solid year is tighter songs that play out the desires of their more classic rock erogenous zones.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t like anyone they listen to. They’re a good time if you want to camp out away from genre-driven, tunnel vision musicians who are out there trying to convert some genre-driven, tunnel vision ears. This band is so easy to listen to and be engaged by that they’re an easy audience favorite. They will be playing Madison’s High Noon Saloon July 9, Milwaukee’s Ale House July 12, The Center House in Greenlake, WI and Atwood Summerfest July 26 which is just down the street from everyone here in Madison.

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