Gumball was the highest-profile occupation of indie gadabout Don Fleming, already a veteran of several bands, a guest collaborator for many more, and a significant producer who—ironically—helped shepherd alternative rock into its major-label boom years.
As Gumball's singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter, Fleming's record-collector obsession with pop culture and pop music, from the Monkees to the Damned to Sonic Youth, reached full fruition. Snatches of '60s guitar riffs sat next to '80s guitar noise, and '70s punk rubbed shoulders with '70s schlock metal; all of it proved his knack for treating the worst pop music as serious rock. Gumball enjoyed a two-album stay on major label Columbia, and earned some notoriety as owners of perhaps the largest collection of eight-track tapes in the country. However, they never broke through to a wider audience, and Fleming returned to his myriad other pursuits.
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