ON STAGE: Musician Tom Gray From band Gomez performs at Bluesfest 2018 in Byron Bay.
ON STAGE: Musician Tom Gray From band Gomez performs at Bluesfest 2018 in Byron Bay. Marc Stapelberg

The incredible story of the real Gomez

ENGLISH indie rock band Gomez played two shows at Bluesfest 2018 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its first album, Bring It On, which won the Mercury Music Prize in 1998.

The band is formed by Ian Ball (vocals, guitar), Paul 'Blackie' Blackburn (bass), Tom Gray (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Ben Ottewell (vocals, guitars) and Olly Peacock (drums, synths, computers).

Their music covers the genres blues, indie, alternative, rock, folk, psychedelic and experimental.

Tom Gray said reforming the band for a set of shows has allowed the members to reminisce about their meteoric jump to fame two decades ago.

But the most unexpected part of the story is who actually Gomez was.

The band played its first gig together in 1996 in Leeds.

At the time, they did not have a formal name.

The band left a sign out which read "Gomez in here", for a friend of theirs whose surname was Gomez, to indicate that it was the site of their gig.

People saw the sign and assumed that the band's name was Gomez.

The name stuck.

 

WHAT'S IN A NAME: Ben Ottewell from English band Gomez performs at Bluesfest 2018 in Byron Bay.
WHAT'S IN A NAME: Ben Ottewell from English band Gomez performs at Bluesfest 2018 in Byron Bay. Marc Stapelberg

Gray said Gomez , the person, has not been part of the band's reunion, yet.

"With Jason? I think someone is in contact with him," he said.

"Amazingly, he was South Indian.

"It was part of the mystery of the guy: he was an Indian guy called Gomez, he has a streak of white hair and he was narcoleptic," he said.

Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological disorder of excessive daytime sleepiness.

All people with narcolepsy have excessive drowsiness.

The musician explained that Jason Gomez used to fall asleep all the time around the band members.

"Someone would ask 'where's Jason?' and we would look under the table and there he was!

"He was like mouse from Alice in Wonderland!" he laughed.

"He wasn't a close friend of mine but he was an interesting character."

 

Gomez performs on the first day of Bluesfest 2018 in Byron Bay Tyagarah.
Gomez performs on the first day of Bluesfest 2018 in Byron Bay Tyagarah. Marc Stapelberg

 

Tom Gray said the band has not officially decided to start working on new music... yet.

"The only chance to make something new only begins when you get all five of us together, and we are now together, so why not?" he said.

"I think everyone's position is, why not?

"We needed to be in a place where we we could have that conversation, and we are in that position now."

"Nothing is official, but we'll end up doing something" he warned.

Gomez has performed in Byron Bay three times now: twice at Bluesfest (2007 and 2018) and once at Splendour in the Grass 2011.

Tom Gray said he had an interesting experience in Byron Bay in 2011.

"I remember waking up on Byron Bay Beach (Main Beach)," he said.

"I don't know how I got there.

"These hippie girls had buried me in flowers, so I came to and I was covered in wild flowers!"

We can only hope Tim Gray does not find himself in the same situation this morning.



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