Shit, we’ve been playing songs we hadn’t played for 10 or 12 years. I’ve barely had a drink on this tour because we’ve had a lot of work to do.
story by Brian F. Johnson
On the album Whatever’s On Your Mind by British pop-rock genre benders Gomez, the lead track “Options” follows an optimistic chorus: “And that’s okay, at least I’ve got options.” After 15 years together as a group, the five childhood friends who formed Gomez most certainly do have options.
The group just launched their Quinceañera Tour to celebrate a decade-and-a-half together and in honor of the event, they have been asking fans to help choose the songs for their setlists each night on the tour. Guitarist, keyboardist and vocalist Tom Gray said that the idea to let fans pick the songs they want to hear may be one of the best decisions the band has ever made.
“It’s one of the most pleasing things we’ve ever done as a band. Most bands would be very happy to wake up in that situation,” Gray said. “We’re this polymorphic mass of a band that doesn’t really belong to any genre and it’s interesting how many people have different favorite Gomez songs. Shit, we’ve been playing songs we hadn’t played for 10 or 12 years. I’ve barely had a drink on this tour because we’ve had a lot of work to do.”
When Gray says it’s one of the coolest things they’ve done, he’s not joking. This being a reflective time for the group, he’s recently pondered the crowning achievements of Gomez, and said that he can’t really think back to a time or a moment over the years when he thought that the band was truly on the right track.
“Shit, dude,” he said in a very American way, despite his strong Scouse accent, “I don’t know if I’ve ever felt like that, and I might really be troubled if I ever did feel like that. A big part of the creative process has to be about dissatisfaction. I mean, especially working in this very collaborative group. This is not about what I want. Nobody gets to achieve their singularly creative goals in Gomez.”
But such is the life for a group that has three lead singers and four songwriters. Gomez, by its very makeup, can’t be anything but a collaborative effort with all the diversity that it breeds. And that is what Gray thinks has kept the band going all these years. “I’m not interested in doing the same shit again and again and again. And I hope the reason people are still interested in us is because they know that we don’t do that, whether or not they like the outcomes all of the time. We’ve set ourselves up to fail and succeed at the same time. Well, not set up to fail, but that it’s okay to fail. We’re interested in producing an outcome that has integrity on its own and we’re not really trying to please anyone with that,” he said.
But even with all the ups and downs that come with being in a band for 15 years, Gray said the rewards far outweigh the mistakes. “Gomez is the family that we come back to — that we’ve been in since we were kids. We’re still the same five guys who grew up together and it’s funny having worked with your best friends from school for your entire life,” Gray said. “It’s entirely different than had we formed a band in a professional way with other professional musicians. We’re not coming from that place. We’re just kind of this entity. We’re still brothers, no matter what the fuck happens.”
Gomez :: with Hey Rosetta! :: The Vic :: March 9.