Jay Rutherford & Wojtek Krupka
When stepping off into the land of Los Colognes, one should always be prepared to expect the unexpected and accept the fact that facts no longer apply. “Oh shit! You guys are looking for guitars players to be in this issue?” cracks Krupka. “I thought you were looking for models.” There are no straight answers, although the jokes are usually set-up with a straight face. Which may be why the intrepid guitarists of LCs (which is much easier to text) might make one forget that they’re ... guitar playing freaks!
Wojtek Krupka — the “t” in Wotjek is silent, unless the jokes on me — and Jay Rutherford — who doubles as the combo’s lead singer — make up the tandem onslaught of intricit guitar work that defines Los Colognes. Listening to their ability to weave a tapestry of sonic bliss encourages the impression that they put every ounce of seriousness in their beings into one thing: Playing the guitar.
Originally hailing from the west side of Chicago, Jay Rutherford accidentally moved to Inglewood with LCs drummer Aaron “Mort” Mortenson — well before the Eastside became the Mecca of all things cool it purportedly is today. Along with partner in fretwork Krupka, Gordon Persha on bass, and keyboardist Micah Hulscher — and occassionally second keyboardist Chuck Foster and guitarist Zach Setchfield — they formed Los Colognes.
Most lines of questioning with regards to the origins of their introduction to the guitar descend into three-dimensional Python-esque one-liners like: “What do you get when you cross Yanni with the Sex Pistols? Yanni Rotten.”
They were forthcoming from time to time, though. “My dad bought me a Fender Squire Strat with a little amplifier Christmas of my 7th grade year,” remembers Rutherford. “It was on a stand and it had a blanket over it. I thought it was golf clubs. I had no idea what was coming. I didn’t even ask for it.” Had he been to music prior to that moment? “Sure, I’d been listening to The Beatles and Michael Jackson.” Then, after an insanely long pregnant pause setup, “And Green Day.” Was there a song that made him want to learn how to play his Christmas present? “Probably like ‘Come as You Are’ by Nirvana. Maybe ‘Basketface’ by Green Day.” Krupka interjects with, “That song ‘Zombie’ by The Cranberries.”
Rutherford continues, “I just played along to MTV vidoes and figured out the chords. I had like a DOD multi-effects pedal, where every effect was way over the top and horrible like jet flange, super bad rock chorus, really shitty distortion.” Did he use this to mimic the sounds he was hearing on MTV? Krupka offers, “It’s to cover up the sound that your actually making. (laughter) Sounds like shit — put that flange on there and it’ll sound great!”
Krupka then takes the lead: “I was playing piano, and my dad kept saying, ‘You gotta learn to read music, you have to read music,’ because he was always saying guitar players weren’t actually musicians because none of them read music. And so, he’s like, ‘Here, start reading music,’ and I think he got me that Cranberries thing [sheet music] and I realized it was way easier to read the numbers at the bottom. The I played it for him and I was reading the tabs at the bottom, but he thought I was reading music so he bought me a guitar.”
And now, here they are.