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ARTIST PROFILE: Yo, it’s Nick Gulli of Lostdog

January 15, 2015
By MARTHA ALLEN - Correspondent , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Talking with drummer Nick Gulli, it quickly becomes clear that he is where he wants to be, with the people he wants to be with, doing what he wants to do.

Q: Nick, how do you spell your last name, Gully or Gulli? Either way, I have been spelling it wrong about half the time.

A: Gully. Or Gulli.

Article Photos

Nick Gulli
(Photo — Martha Allen)

What's in a name? When his father's family came over from Italy generations back, their name was changed from Gulli to Gully. Nick was born Gully, but now uses both spellings.

The first name is Nick; don't be confused if you hear one of his co-workers from the Mountaineer store in Keene Valley calling him Ricky. That's just his work name. Then there's Nicky G, his band name, when he's playing with Lostdog.

Q: Wait, I thought your band was called Yo Lostdog?

A: (Laughs) No, it's Lostdog. For Facebook I needed a first name, so I used Yo, and now people think that Yo Lostdog is the name of the band. The group was formed in 2008, a year after the birth of Gulli's daughter, Zarela.

"I've been playing drums since I was 9 years old," Gulli said. "I was lucky- my parents gave me a drum set for Christmas when I was in seventh grade. Before that I had a practice pad. I took private lessons outside of school in Troy where I grew up and graduated with a music Regents degree."

Gulli studied music theory and studio music at Schenectady County Community College, and for about eight months he studied Indian classical music with Veena Chandra, founder and director of the Dance and Music School of India in Latham. Chandra is also a faculty member at Skidmore College.

"I played sitar and I played tabla drums. Indian music is so different. It's the hardest thing I've done. The subtleties and nuances are unbelievable. We're used to 4:4 time, but Indian music may have 16 beats, or 23-a huge run."

Gulli grew up in Troy. He came to know the Adirondacks on family vacations.

"I worked at a gear store down there (in the Albany area) while playing in bands. Tammy Loewy and I met at a veggie cafe called Shades of Green in Albany. Tammy worked there, and we hung out. I also played percussion in 1995 for an Afro-Cuban dance class where Tammy was a dancer.

"I had a friend who worked at the Mountaineer. I called to talk to him, and was told he didn't work there anymore."

As it turned out, Gulli applied for his friend's job, which was still unfilled, and in June, 1997, he and Loewy headed for the Adirondacks. For a while, she traveled back and forth, working at both Nori's in Saranac Lake and Shades of Green in Albany, but eventually settled in the North Country.

"I formed friendships, took up climbing and backpacking. I didn't know I would still be here (at the Mountaineer) 18 years later," he said.

Gulli has never felt an inclination to leave the Mountaineer, "a business founded and run by the same family for 40 years, and a great place to work."

Loewy is the co-owner of the Green Goddess Natural Market in Lake Placid.

Lostdog is comprised of five musicians: Nick Gulli, drums; Ben Frantz, guitar and vocals; Nick Bailey, bass and vocal; Bruce Misarski, keys and vocal, and Zack Jakub, tenor sax and flute. As Gulli says, they have 130 years and 10 children between them, so the group has a lot of experience, with a huge bank of diverse kinds of music to draw from. When they get together, typically rehearsing in Gulli's basement, they will play covers ranging from Pink Floyd to Steely Dan, but when they perform for an audience they prefer to play music they have composed themselves, influenced by blues, rock, funk, etc.

Lostdog recently performed at Whiteface Mountain Ski Lodge as well as the Monopole in Plattsburgh, the Waterhole in Saranac Lake and Delta Blue at the Northwoods Inn in Lake Placid. They will play at the Tupper Lake Fire & Ice Festival Feb. 21-22.

"I decided I didn't want to pursue music as my job," he said. "I like the art of it and the personal relationships rather than just as a business. I'd rather be in the woods and hanging out. I'm not going to stop drumming unless I physically can't do it anymore. It's too late to quit now."

By the same token, he is glad that he made the decision to leave the city and live in the North Country.

"Relax. You're here. You're not in the rat race."

This weekend, naturally, Gulli will be working at the Mountaineer's 19th Adirondack International Mountaineering Festival, better known as Mountainfest, traditionally held on the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend.

 
 

 

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