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Gomez (band)

Background information
Origin Southport, Merseyside, England
Genres Indie rock, alternative rock
Years active 1997–present[1]
Labels ATO, MapleMusic Recordings (Canada), Eat Sleep, Independiente, Hut/Virgin[2]
Associated acts Operation Aloha
Members Ian Ball
Ben Ottewell
Tom Gray
Paul Blackburn
Olly Peacock

Gomez are an English indie rock band from Southport, comprising Ian Ball (vocals, guitar), Paul "Blackie" Blackburn (bass), Tom Gray (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Ben Ottewell (vocals, guitars) and Olly Peacock (drums, synths, computers).[1] The band is distinguished in having three singers and four songwriters, employing traditional and electronic instruments. Their sound is versatile and evades typical music genres falling into blues, indie, alternative, rock, folk, psychedelic and experimental.

Their first album, Bring It On, won the Mercury Music Prize in 1998,[1] giving them much media attention in the UK and throughout the world. Later awards came from the NME and Q Magazine along with a Brit Awards nomination.

Gomez began their career on Hut records (Virgin) signing in 1997. Just before their third album release In Our Gun Hut records was forced to downsize and on the following record, Split the Difference, Hut records was disbanded by Virgin/EMI Records. The band were so dismayed by the music industry and shocked by huge setbacks they kept experiencing, that they decided to go it alone and asked Virgin Records to let them go in 2004. The following year American label ATO signed the group, releasing their first live album Out West and their most successful record stateside How We Operate and A New Tide.

Currently the band members are split between the UK and US with Ian Ball residing in Los Angeles, Olly Peacock in Brooklyn, New York, and Paul Blackburn, Tom Gray and Ben Ottewell in Brighton, England.

Ball has released two solo records entitled Who Goes There (2007) and Unfold Yourself (2013). Ball and Peacock worked on the side project Operation Aloha. The experimental project designed by photographer Christopher Wray-McCann brought together 14 of his friends, living in tree houses making songs with whatever they could bring to the island of Maui, Hawaii.

Ball, Ottewell, Peacock and Pattison (engineer) created the Final Keep Me Up in 2009. They decided to record an album using only iPhones in the back lounge of the tour bus from Calais to Köln 2 May 2009. The album exists only in streaming form. Ben Ottewell has released two solo records entitled Shapes & Shadows (2011) and Rattlebag (2014).


  • Formation 1
  • Bring It On 2
  • Liquid Skin 3
  • In Our Gun 4
  • Split the Difference 5
  • How We Operate 6
  • A New Tide 7
  • Whatever's on Your Mind 8
  • Career success 9
  • Members 10
  • Discography 11
    • Studio albums 11.1
    • Live albums 11.2
    • Compilations 11.3
    • EPs 11.4
    • Singles 11.5
    • Videos 11.6
    • Other contributions 11.7
  • References 12
  • External links 13


Guitarist and vocalist Ian Ball and drummer Olly Peacock are long-time friends, having played in a 3 piece band from the ages of 14 to 18. They met bassist Paul Blackburn and multi-instrumentalist Tom Gray, who had grown up two doors down from Peacock, at college. Finally, Ian Ball met vocalist/guitarist Ben Ottewell from Matlock Bath in Derbyshire at Sheffield University.

The band played its first gig together in 1996 in Leeds at the Hyde Park Social Club on Ash Grove. 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 first gig. People saw the sign and assumed that the band's name was Gomez. The name stuck.[3]

The band started recording four-track demos in Peacock's father's garage in Southport during the summer of 1996. The demos were handed to Stephen Fellows (later manager/Comsat Angels) who distributed them to four initial record labels. A bidding war erupted immediately, including several U.S labels. The band, having only one performance under their belt, decided against playing showcases in London and instead made the record companies travel to Red Tape rehearsal studios. After several weeks of playing to over 25 labels, the band finally signed to Hut records (Virgin Records), in September 1997.

Bring It On

After signing to Hut Records in September 1997, they began recording their debut album. They entered Parr Street Studios with engineer Ken Nelson (later Badly Drawn Boy, Coldplay) recording new songs and improving the mixes of the demos. The band self produced.

Surpassing expectations, the album went platinum. A season of English Festivals (including two performances at Glastonbury) bolstered their reputation, along with constant radio and television support. The band's successful year was crowned when they won the Mercury Music Prize in September 1998. Other nominees included Massive AttackMezzanine, PulpThis Is Hardcore, The VerveUrban Hymns.

Liquid Skin

The band's second album, Liquid Skin, was released in 1999, lending Gomez further success on the British and Australian album charts.[1] The band also made the Billboard Heatseeker chart for the first time. After winning the Mercury Prize, the band went back to Parr Street Studios, pressing on with recording as much material as they could between tours. Ken Nelson engineered once again and the band self produced. The album went Platinum and extensive touring followed, highlighted with a headline slot at Glastonbury Festival on the second stage, with a record breaking crowd. The album went to No. 1 in the UK midweek charts but was later passed by Shania Twain for the top position.

In Our Gun

The group's third album, In Our Gun, was released in 2002. It made the top 10 on the UK charts as well as the top 50 on the Australian charts. The single "Shot Shot" charted in the UK top 40, the top 20 in Portugal, and the Billboard Heatseeker chart.

The band produced and recorded the record in Batsford Manor, Gloucestershire with additional recordings in the famous Studio 2 at Abbey Road Studios.

Split the Difference

While Gomez's first three albums had been self-produced, the band decided to work with Tchad Blake as producer for their fourth record. Blake had previously produced albums by Tom Waits, Crowded House and Pearl Jam. The band were massive fans of his compressed sounds inherent on Los Lobos and Latin Playboys recordings.

The band had built a Studio in Portslade, just outside of Brighton, England (where most of them were residing). They worked independently for months recording, until they developed what the record would be with Tchad Blake at Real World Studios.

The album reached the top 40 in the UK and Australia. The first single "Catch Me Up" entered the UK top 40 in March 2004 and "Silence" was released as the second single.

Split the Difference received a good critical response, with Allmusic rating it as four and a half stars out of five and BBC Internet Music Reviews describing it as "one of the finest releases of the year so far. If you were one of those people who wrote them off two years ago, it's time to get listening again."[4]

However, unfortunately for Gomez, Virgin/EMI closed down Hut Recordings and, having had such a strong bond to their friends at the label, the band asked to be released from their contract. Virgin agreed.

How We Operate

Gomez's fifth studio record, How We Operate was released on 2 May 2006. It was the first record the band did not produce themselves, letting Gil Norton (Foo Fighters, Pixies) take the reins. The record was developed in the band's Studio and later recorded in 6 weeks at RAK Studios, London.

The album's title track was featured in the Grey's Anatomy episode "Deterioration of the Fight or Flight Response", and later covered by Kevin McKidd in the season seven episode "Song Beneath the Song". On 14 February 2006 their song "Get Miles" was featured in the House episode "Distractions", and on 6 March 2007, their song "See the World" was featured in the House episode "Half-Wit". "See the World" was also featured in the "Bones" episode "Widow's Son In the Windshield".

They were also one of the many bands featured on a John Lennon Tribute aired on BBC Radio2 to mark the 25th anniversary of the musician's death. Gomez performed "Hey Bulldog" by The Beatles, and "Instant Karma!" by Lennon.

"How We Operate" is also the ending song to the 2007 remake of the horror film The Hitcher, and acts as the title music for the pilot episode of The Riches.

A New Tide

Marked a return to the always-freewheeling British band's more experimental roots, with songs like "Win Park Slope" and "Airstream Driver" evincing a spirit born of imagination and a longstanding collaborative relationship.

With this album, the band were careful to create a collection of songs that would stand up well at live gigs.[3]

With the band members now scattered across two continents, from Brooklyn to Brighton, England, early tracks were written and recorded individually and then merged online. The process allowed for an open and adaptive songwriting approach, the material taking on its ultimate shape when Gomez officially convened in studios in Chicago and Charlottesville, VA, with producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron and Wine, Counting Crows).

As ever, a wide range of styles is incorporated into Gomez's matchless musical brew. Flavors of blues, psychedelia, and Krautrock all come into play, resulting in a musically mischievous and remarkably forward-thinking collection. The record also sees Gomez accompanied by a number of illustrious guest musicians, including vocalist Amy Millan (of Stars/Broken Social Scene), bassist Josh Abrams (The Roots, Sam Prekop, Godspeed You Black Emperor!), cellist Oliver Krauss (Tom McRae, David Gray, Paul Weller, Beth Orton), and multi-instrumentalist Stuart Bogie of Brooklyn's world-renowned Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra.

Whatever's on Your Mind

Gomez released their seventh studio album, Whatever's on Your Mind, on 21 June 2011.

Career success

In 1998, Philips Electronics chose Gomez to cover The Beatles' song "Getting Better" for a $100 million ad campaign for Philips new lines of flat panel and high-definition television sets.[5] The cover song was not released on an album until 2000 with Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline, a collection of B-sides and rarities.

In 2005, Gomez signed a new deal with Dave Matthews' (of the Dave Matthews Band) ATO Records. Under a new label, the band released their first live album, Out West in June 2005. The double disc CD was compiled from shows recorded at San Francisco's famous Fillmore Theater in January 2005.

In January 2006, the band performed on Jam Cruise before returning to the studio to put the final touches on How We Operate. After playing the SxSW music festival in Austin, Tom, Ian and Ben debuted material from the upcoming release in several U.S. cities. The band's 2006 spring tour included stops in Asheville NC, Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Denver, San Francisco, and Portland, OR. They also performed at several large outdoor festivals, including stops at the Beale Street and Bonnaroo Festivals in Tennessee, the Jazzfest in New Orleans and Sasquatch Festival in George, WA.

A collection of A-side and B-sides and rarities titled Five Men in a Hut was released on 17 October 2006. The two-disc album consists of released and unreleased tracks recorded under the Hut/Virgin label from 1998-2004. A DVD with music videos and interviews from their time with Hut was also released.

In 2007, Gomez recorded a cover of The Band's hit "Up On Cripple Creek" for the tribute album Endless Highway: The Music of The Band. Also their song "How We Operate" was played in the final scene of The Hitcher starring Sean Bean and Sophia Bush. Gomez continued to tour, including a co-headlining 2007 U.S. tour with label-mate Ben Kweller. The band toured Australia and New Zealand before heading back to the States for a second headlining leg of their U.S. tour.

On 2 March 2007, Gomez recorded a concert at the Vic Theater in Chicago, IL that was streamed via MSN Music.[6]

Vocalist and songwriter Ian Ball released a solo project, with an album entitled Who Goes There.[7][8]

In 2008, Gomez opened up several shows for Dave Matthews Band.

On 21 December the band revealed to their mailing list that a new album entitled A New Tide will be released on 31 March in the U.S., in the UK and Europe on 30 March, and in Australia on 28 March 2009.[9] Gomez recorded A New Tide in Chicago, and played festivals including Lollapalooza that year.

In early 2009, Dajon Everett, Ian Ball and Olly Peacock were involved in a project called Operation Aloha with 14 other musicians including members from Phantom Planet and Maroon 5. They produced an album over the course of 30 days in Maui, Hawaii. A self-titled album was released on 12 May 2009.[10]

In April 2009, the band's song "Little Pieces" was used in the 19th episode of Grey's Anatomy season 5. It played at the start of the episode and involved a montage of Alex watching Izzie sleep in hospital, as well as Callie dancing with Arizona around Callie's apartment.

In June 2009, Gomez opened for Pearl Jam on the European leg of the Backspacer Tour.[11]

In September 2009, their song "See The World" was featured in the motion picture I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell.

In August 2012, their song "Shot Shot" was used in the boxing scene in Episode 10 of second series of the American legal drama Suits.


Ian Ball, Beautiful Days Festival, Devon, August 2006
Ben Ottewell, Beautiful Days Festival, Devon, August 2006
  • Ian Ball (vocals, guitar)
  • Ben Ottewell (vocals, guitar)
  • Paul Blackburn (bass)
  • Tom Gray (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
  • Olly Peacock (drums, synths, computers)
Tom Gray Beautiful Days Festival, Devon, Main Stage, 18 August 2006

The line-up has not changed since the band's beginning in 1996. Instrumentalist Dajon Everett is listed as a de facto member of the band on their official website. Most Gomez songs feature more than one vocalist. The breakdown of lead vocalist on each track from How We Operate is:[12]

  • Ball: "Notice", "Hamoa Beach", "Charley Patton Songs", "Cry On Demand"
  • Ottewell: "See The World", "How We Operate", "Chasing Ghosts With Alcohol", "Tear Your Love Apart", "All Too Much"
  • Gray: "girlshapedlovedrug", "Woman! Man!", "Don't Make Me Laugh"


Studio albums

Year Title Peak Chart Position Certifications
(sales thresholds)
U.S. Heat U.S. Indie
1998 Bring It On
  • Released: 13 April 1998
  • Label: Hut / Virgin
11 - - - - - - -
  • BPI: Platinum[20]
1999 Liquid Skin
  • Released: 13 September 1999
  • Label: Hut / Virgin
2 9 49 40 19 - 30 -
  • BPI: Platinum[21]
2002 In Our Gun
  • Released: 18 March 2002
  • Label: Hut / Virgin
8 5 - 13 - - 37 -
  • BPI: Silver[22]
2004 Split the Difference
  • Released: 17 May 2004
  • Label: Hut / Virgin
35 24 - 39 - 191 11 -
2006 How We Operate 69 37 - - - 106 1 7
2009 A New Tide
  • Released: 30 March 2009
  • Label: ATO, Eat Sleep
63 40 - - - 60 - 5
2011 Whatever's on Your Mind
  • Released: 6 June 2011
  • Label: ATO, Eat Sleep
65 63 - - - 81 - 11

Live albums

Year Title Chart Position
U.S. Heat
2005 Out West
  • Released: 7 June 2005
  • Label: Independiente / ATO / Sony BMG
145 - - - - - 46


Year Title Chart Position Certifications
(sales thresholds)
U.S. Heat
2000 Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline
  • Released: 25 September 2000
  • Label: Hut / Virgin
10 - - - - - 44
  • BPI: Silver[23]
2006 Five Men in a Hut
  • Released: 25 September 2006
  • Label: Hut / Virgin
- - - - - - -


Year Title
2000 Machismo E.P.
  • Released: May 2000
  • Label: Hut / Virgin
  • Chart: No. 1 (UK Indie), No. 48 (AUS)[13][15]
2002 Detroit Swing '66/Ping One Down
  • Released: 1 July 2002
  • Label: Hut / Virgin
2006 See the World E.P.
  • Released: October 2006
2006 Girlshapedlovedrug E.P.
  • Released: 13 November 2006


Year Title UK
1998 6 April "78 Stone Wobble" 44 Bring It On
8 June "Get Myself Arrested" 45
7 September "Whippin' Piccadilly" 35
1999 5 July "Bring It On" 21 Liquid Skin
6 September "Rhythm & Blues Alibi" 18
22 November "We Haven't Turned Around" 38
2002 11 March "Shot Shot" 28 In Our Gun
10 June "Sound of Sounds"/"Ping One Down" 48
2004 15 March "Catch Me Up" 36 Split the Difference
2005 17 May "Silence" 41
6 September "Sweet Virginia" - 1
2006 17 April "How We Operate" - 2 How We Operate
29 May "Girlshapedlovedrug" 66
4 September "See the World" 107
2009 13 April "Airstream Driver" - A New Tide
17 August "Little Pieces" -
2011 31 May "Options" 76 Whatever's on Your Mind

1 Charted on the UK Indie Chart at No. 42.[13] 2 Was released as a US only single


Year Title
2006 Five Men in a Hut
  • Released: 25 September 2006
  • Label: Hut / Virgin

Other contributions


  1. ^ a b c d Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 389–90.  
  2. ^ "Gomez JPEG". 2009-10-27. Archived from the original on 27 October 2009. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  3. ^ a b Mulvey, Nick. "A Night With Gomez".  
  4. ^ Jones, Chris (20 November 2002). "Gomez, Split The Difference - Review". BBC Music. Retrieved 22 December 2008. 
  5. ^ "Gomez Get Fabulous for Philips Advertisement". Retrieved 2014-04-18. 
  6. ^ [3]
  7. ^ [4]
  8. ^ "| Live Nation Store". Retrieved 2012-05-15. 
  9. ^ "GomezJournal: New Album!". Retrieved 2014-04-18. 
  10. ^ "Operation Aloha: An Experiment in Rock 'n' Roll". Retrieved 28 May 2009. 
  11. ^ "Gomez Opening for Pearl Jam in Europe". Retrieved 13 June 2009. 
  12. ^ "Gomez - Step Inside". Retrieved 22 December 2008. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f "UK Chartlog". Retrieved 12 January 2009. 
  14. ^ a b c "UK Chartstats". Retrieved 12 January 2009. 
  15. ^ a b c d "Australian album positions". Retrieved 14 January 2009. 
  16. ^ a b c "Canadian album positions".  
  17. ^ a b c "New Zealand album positions". Retrieved 14 January 2009. 
  18. ^ a b c "Norwegian album positions". Retrieved 14 January 2009. 
  19. ^ a b c "US Positions". Retrieved 12 January 2009. 
  20. ^ British sales certification"Bring It On".  
  21. ^ British sales certification"Liquid Skin".  
  22. ^ British sales certification"In Our Gun".  
  23. ^ British sales certification"Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline".  

External links

  • Official website
  • Gomez collection at the Internet Archive's live music archive
  • Gomez (band) at AllMusic
  • Interview with Tom Gray on
  • Gomez Concerts and Interviews at NPR Music
  • Interview with Ben Ottewell
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