There are many local rock and country bands in the Dodge City area and Josh Bunker and Hugo Hernandez are part of a few of them.

Bunker and Hernandez, along with Adam Fant and Orlando Galvan are members of Guns on Mars, a band that started in February 2011.

"Adam and I started it together," Bunker, lead vocals of Guns on Mars said. "Then Hugo and a friend Mike Wade joined us then Mike left and Orlando came on board to play bass."

The band has put out two albums and one EP, Ms. Colloquy, Blackout and Anomaly.

"Music was always a part of my life," Bunker said. "It was really weird because my dad told me, 'You need to have a back plan, go learn to play guitar.'

"Usually parents are like, go to college, not my dad."

Hernandez, guitarist for Guns on Mars as well as local bands The Merkins, Ionos and Aether, taught himself guitar through Youtube.

"I started with an acoustic my grandpa gave me that was like a punk rock guitar that was beat up and had a bunch of stickers on it," Hernandez said. "I would watch Youtube videos and noticed patterns and chords and so I taught myself that way as well as listening to others play.

"Then about a year later I learned electric."

Being rock musicians, Bunker and Hernandez find local gigs as they can but also have played acoustic sets throughout Dodge City as well as Garden City.

"We play at the Doctor's Office a lot," Hernandez said. "In fact Aether is playing their this Saturday but as for Guns, we haven't played in about a year."

Bunker added, "Hate to say the word hiatus but we did take a bit of a break but we have been talking about getting together soon and start writing."

When playing their acoustic sets, Bunker and Hernandez play mostly covers but their bands play all original work.

"We try not to force ourselves," Bunker said of the writing process. "We have a lot of riffs that have been sitting there for years and then all of a sudden something you think of today ties perfectly into what you wrote years ago and off you go."

Hernandez adds, "That has happened when we were recording. Somebody comes up with something right then and all of a sudden the song is done in like 20-30 minutes.

"Those are the ones I love."

With recording in general, Bunker and Hernandez both say it is tough to do in this area.

"Bullet Ride Productions in Fowler did our last album," Bunker said. "And he was great and I think one of the only ones around that does it.

"But we track it all ourselves which is the biggest pain.

"I like it better when we can play all together at once because when you're recording a track and all you're playing is that kick, that's all I can hear is that instead of the full song and it kind of takes away from it."

Both Bunker and Hernandez agree that playing live is the best way to do it.

"We traveled as far as Indianapolis and Chicago for gigs," Hernandez said. "We went on a 2-week tour in 2014 where we went up and played different areas and in St. Louis, went to Six-Flags then back to Dighton and Hillside in Garden City.

"We opened in the Cotillion in Wichita and have opened for Saving Abel, Redlight King, New Medicine and Aranda."

Guns on Mars music is available on iTunes, Amazon, BandCamp and Google Play.

"We had a guy on Amazon give us a nice review," Bunker said.

Hernandez adds, "We had another guy from Germany say he really liked our stuff and fans in England too.

"We don't get much money from the streaming sites but it is cool to see people in Europe enjoying your music."

To contact the writer email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com