Gabey D’Schiavone spent the ’80s on the Sunset Strip in L.A.’s glam-band scene. His band, Ambush, played the same clubs — Gazarri’s, Troubadour, Roxy — that cradled Poison, Ratt, and Mötley Crüe. “All my friends were on [drugs]. One hung himself.…”
D’Schiavone said he had to get out of L.A. “or it would have killed me.” For the past 20 years he’s been based in Carlsbad and has played in the New American Mob and Die Hunns of L.A. Last year he was asked to rejoin his old friend, former pro skater Duane Peters, in his reactivated band Gunfight. “I wrote the first record [with Gunfight] that came out in 2004, but [Peters] couldn’t keep a lineup together. Last year he called me up, and we wrote ‘Checkmate.’ I wrote the music; he wrote the words. It came out in March.”
The new Gunfight, with D’Schiavone on lead guitar and backup vocals, was buoyed by an appearance on Fuel TV’s Daily Habit in the spring. Four Warped Tour dates and a U.S. tour with Anti-Nowhere League followed.
“Duane’s like a modern-day Johnny Rotten. I’m a metal guy. Duane is way more punk. On the Warped Tour, we were playing on the old-school punk stage to, like, 1000 people, and I look across the parking lot and see 20,000 kids who are going crazy, banging their heads to the new-style metal. And they know all words. I love punk rock, don’t get me wrong, but my heart is in metal.”
D’Schiavone, 46, says that realization helped him decide to leave Gunfight and reactivate his band the New American Mob. “My last show with [Gunfight] was in Denver last month. Half the people said I was crazy to leave, and half the people told me [Gunfight] was holding me back.”
He says that some dates with Gunfight did not go well due to “lifestyle” issues. “It was turning into a big party. It was not a business to them. I felt like I was the only guy in the band besides Duane who took the band seriously. You just never knew when the show was going to fall apart. You’d look across the stage and [see a] guy standing there looking like a deer in the headlights, wondering if we are in [the key of] A or G. I tried schooling them, caring for them, babysitting them. When you are in a punk band, you have to pack up your own gear. You don’t just leave after the show and run off to a party. This is a brotherhood. There are certain unspoken rules. When you start violating the rules of brotherhood…I can only take so many of those violations. If it was just me and Duane, I’d probably still be with him.…
“Ambush came to a screeching halt because of drug abuse. That’s how I learned my lesson…how drugs just cannot fit into this.”
He says the New American Mob will tour in November. “These guys are ready to go. I have a gnarly chick drummer named Cat Scandal.”