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Ten Questions with Gary Shiebler of the World’s Greatest Fishing Band

December 1, 2003
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By now, you’ve no doubt seen the late night infomercials with testimonials from Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, and thought to yourself, what the hell is the World’s Greatest Fishing Band? We’re here to help you make sense of it all. Here’s the complete interview with Gary Shiebler of the WGFB, appearing on page 36 of our February issue. Shiebler’s brainchild, the band has a four-cd set available at www.wgfb.com, and is soon to appear at a fish fry near you.

Q. Why form your band around fishing? A. It kind of happened by accident. A friend and I were playing regular music and a guy who hosted a fishing radio show asked if we’d write a fishing song. He played it on his show and had an amazing response. When I saw how popular the fishing culture is from coast to coast, I thought I might be on to something.

Q. What can a fan expect from the World’s Greatest Fishing Band? A. They’re expecting typical drunken pun-ridden shanties. But I really wanted to do justice to what I believe is one of the greatest American pastimes. Everybody’s got at least one fishing story. It sets the mood for where they want to be.

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Q. Jimmy Buffett’s fans are called “Parrot Heads.” Are yours “Fish Heads?” A. Yep. And our women fans are called “Groupers.”

Q. Is there a particular song that gets people out of their seats? A. “When Tammy Does the Shimmy at the Fish Fry” gets people going. And the women like “Hey Bubba! She Fishes Better than You.”

Q. Will listening to your CDs onboard help you fish? A. I swear to you, guys tell me that when the fish aren’t biting, they put on the CD and within five minutes everybody’s hooked up.

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Q. Do you have a greatest fish story? A. One that’s true?

Q. What is your favorite type of fishing? A. I enjoy all kinds of fishing. I’ve got so much fishing to do and so much to explore, but I always come back to largemouth bass. I’ve become a bass fanatic.

Q. Do you own a boat? A. You know, being a musician, I have the worst stereo system in the world. My boat? A small 15′ aluminum boat with a Merc outboard. It’s perfect for fishing the kelp along the California coast and for freshwater bass, too. But I like to say I’m not touring to make money, I’m touring to get a bigger bass boat.

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Q. What’s harder to overcome, writer’s block or getting skunked? A. I have no problem with writer’s block, and I tell myself when I get skunked, I’m setting myself up for the big day next time.

Q. What would you rather do, catch a world record or win a Grammy? A. Part of me would really like to win a Grammy…unless it’s a million dollar bass.

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