See Gomez – the ‘jukebox’ – perform in Vail
VAIL CO, Colorado
The band’s original name was Kill Kill Kill The Vortex.
A little wordier than the one the band’s gone by for the past 15 years: Gomez.
The story behind the Gomez name is a good one. The band was playing its first gig together in Leeds in 1996. The show was in an old social club that from the street, looked like a house, but had a ballroom behind it, said the band’s singer/guitarist/keyboardist Tom Gray. The band members left a sign with the word “Gomez” on the door, to alert two friends (brother-sister) with the surname, that they’d arrived at the right spot.
“Since Gomez was written on the door, everyone thought the band was called Gomez,” Gray said during a phone interview from the Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix, Ariz. “It was a great gig, and there was a nice buzz around it, so we said well, alright, do we change it?”
The band, of course, decided to keep the name. And in the end, Gray said it’s a good fit.
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“It’s arbitrary, and in many ways prevents us from taking ourselves too seriously. We just enjoy ourselves. We haven’t got any pretensions. Gomez is a good name for us – five pasty white guys from England, with a Spanish name.”
The English indie rock band is in town today for a free concert in Vail, in honor of PinkVail, a fundraiser for breast cancer research. It’s the first time Gomez has played in the area, Gray said.
“Vail is a completely untested market,” he said. “I think there will be a lot of good will and people there for a lot of good reasons. It’s a terrific cause to be involved with … I grew up in a house with five women, and we’ve all got mothers and sisters. We all know people who have been seriously affected by (breast cancer).”
What distinguishes this band from others, is there are three singers and four songwriters, who use both traditional and electronic instruments. Their sound is versatile, something Gray emphasizes during the interview.
“If you haven’t seen a Gomez show before, you really haven’t seen anything similar,” Gray said. “For starters, we’re a band with three lead singers and we switch instruments all the time and we play lots and lots of diverse styles of music.”
And since the bandmates have been doing this for 15 years, they have certain abilities that fledgling groups have yet to master.
“On a whim, we can turn on a penny and change the whole feel of the show,” Gray said. “It’s fun – we’re a jukebox.”
Diehard Gomez fans have a chance to influence the set list for tonight’s show via http://www.gomeztheband.com.
“You can go on there and pick your top five songs,” he said. “One night we played the top 10 songs people voted for. We don’t do that every night, but that spirit is there.”
Surprisingly, the band ends up playing different songs at each show.
“We have quite an extensive back catalog, and it’s nice that people don’t ask for the same songs over and over,” Gray said. “The main thing is to keep it creative and exciting. If we’re enjoying ourselves, the audience probably is too.”
The band’s put out seven studio albums, most recently 2011’s “Whatever’s On Your Mind.” With the band members split between the U.S. and the U.K. – Ian Ball lives in Los Angeles, Olly Peacock in Brooklyn, N.Y. and Paul Blackburn, Tom Gray and Ben Ottewell in Brighton, England – the band found themselves in a bit of a long distance writing relationship.
Instead of getting together to write and record, the Transatlantic five-piece set up an online hub for homemade demos. They tasked each other with delivering a set number of songs per week – each of which the other band members could modify at will.
“I think we all knew the intensity of how good we wanted to make the record,” Peacock said.
More than 50 compositions were whittled down and blended.
“We all write differently and separately and in different ways,” Gray said. “The whole ecology of Gomez is this eclecticism.
“It can makes things difficult, just getting together to rehearse can be hard, but shit happens; people have harder things to overcome,” Gray said.
Like breast cancer, for instance.
High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or firstname.lastname@example.org.