by Michael Todd
Mitch Gettman was born on Dec. 3, 1993, but who's counting. The young man who graduated high school early to pursue music in Chicago has moved back to Omaha. In the near future, he's just hoping to play more shows, which is all that matters.
In his band of folks nearing 30 years old, age doesn't matter anymore, now that school nights aren't a factor. Still, looking back is the focus of his newest song, which he wrote just after relocating to Chicago. Here, Gettman talks about its genesis, his reasons for moving back to Omaha and reconnecting.
Gettman plays The Lauter Tun at 3309 Oakview Dr. Suite 102 on Saturday at 9:30 p.m.
Hear Nebraska: Why did you move to Chicago, and what brought you back to Nebraska?
Mitch Gettman: I didn’t realize why I moved to Chicago until I moved back to Nebraska. I wanted to get out, and I wanted to live on my own, especially in a place I was unfamiliar with. Big cities always interested me, and Chicago was one of the closest. And also I thought it would be a good place to start playing music more seriously as a career.
I moved back because it was such an expensive city to keep living in. I also realized the music scene there wasn’t a whole lot different than what we have here. I just had to weigh my options. With the help of some friends, I decided to move back to Omaha.
HN: As a younger artist within the Omaha scene, how do you feel you fit it with other bands. Do you think being younger helps or hurts you? Are you indifferent?
MG: I’m pretty indifferent about it. People are people. The guys in my band are all close to 30 years old, and I get along with them just as well as I do with friends my age, if not better. When we go out and play with other bands, it doesn’t really matter to me. It’s just a bunch of musicians.
photo by Wendy Wees
HN: Now that you're out of high school, do you play more often, not having to worry about school nights?
MG: Absolutely. I was playing quite a bit even in high school, but now that I don’t have school to deal with any more, I work during the day to pay for rent and food. At night, I’m working on songs and booking shows. I hope to be playing a lot more. I’ve been back only three weeks and I’ve already played two shows and have one coming up this Saturday.
HN: Talking about the song you just released, can you tell me where you wrote it and what mindset you were in at the time?
MG: I wrote it in Chicago. That was the first song I wrote in Chicago actually. I’d been there less than a month, and I remember I hadn’t met anyone yet. My daily routine was figuring out things to do.
One night I was playing around restlessly, and I came up with the melody and guitar part. I went out for a walk, which is usually what I do on those nights, went to a coffee shop, hung out for a little bit and wrote most of the lyrics.
HN: What do the lyrics mean to you?
MG: It’s a personal song, so I wouldn’t want to give the whole thing away. But it’s basically about wanting to talk to a friend who’s far away and not being able to talk to them.
HN: I imagine along with graduating from high school and moving to Chicago, that might not have happened with just one friend, but more than one. Are you feeling the same about anyone now that you’ve left Chicago for Omaha?
MG: Not really (laughs).
HN: Do you often write songs to deal with big changes?
MG: Yeah, definitely. I think that songs or any form of writing come out of experiences good or bad, and changes definitely. For me, it takes awhile to adapt to the changes before I can go within and get those emotions out in a song or on paper. Lately, I’ve been writing a lot about changes and the realizations and things of that matter.
HN: How is it getting back into the scene? Is it how you remember it being?
MG: It’s been really great so far. The first show I played, there weren’t very many people there. It was on a Thursday night at a bar downtown. It was fun to be playing here again.
Last Sunday, I opened up for G. Love at The Bourbon, and that was a super fun show. G. Love had brought out quite a few people, and luckily for me, they came out early. A lot of people were able to see me be the opening set. It was really fun, I liked it.
HN: What do you hope to do with your music career in Omaha in the near future?
MG: In the near future, I’m hoping to be able to play as much as I can wherever I can. I’ve been wanting to do this even before I started high school: play music and write music. It’s been my dream to do that. I don’t really have any other plans for life other than to play music and do music.
I’d like to get back into the scene, pick back up where we left off and push it further. I guess that’s all I can really hope for right now.
Michael Todd is Hear Nebraska's managing editor. He was likely learning "Apples and Bananas" on Dec. 3, 1993. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.