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Real life rock ’n’ roll

Pistol Shot Gypsy: ‘For the people, by the people’
By BOB GULLA  |  June 24, 2008

Pistol Shot Gypsy, formerly Soma City, has been in the midst of a complete overhaul, nominally, artistically, and personally. Since 2004, they changed singers, lost a bass player, rethought their name (which sounded too similar to that of a Canadian band), and were on the brink of collapse. “Trainwreck” is the word they like to use to describe what had been going on. But since, then there’s been a resurrection: a new singer, Ron Travis (ex-Rise), a new bass player (James Thompson), a manager, a lawyer, and a new album with a new sound. In fact, it’d be a whole new band if it weren’t for the valuable experience they’ve gained along the way. 

The band’s new album doubles up on Soma City’s previous work, meaning it’s taken their previous sound and realized it more fully. They still like the feel of heavy classic and alt-rock, but songs such as “The Showgun” and “Train Wreck” zone in on something considerably more powerful and unique than their previous work. Travis, who comes from a hardcore background, is a massive presence, a gripping frontman whose potent melodies rise above the fray much like Scott Weiland or Layne Staley. Here’s an e-mail exchange with the collective band.

So why the name change?
Our lawyer asked us if, to our knowledge, there was anybody else using the name Soma City. We had heard of a band out of Canada that has the name, the Soma City Ward. It was not service marked here in the US, but she said why even put ourselves in a position for a legal battle down the road. She said if we reach any level of even moderate success, they all come out of the woodwork for a piece of the pie. So a name change it was! We found a Website that had different names for excessive drinking and one of the terms was “pistol shot” (as in he was pistol shot last night). We also liked a name with “gypsies” in it. Gypsies are nomadic people, always moving to the next location to make another buck. Everyone loved the idea of putting the two together. Pistol Shot Gypsy for us really is about life in a rock and roll band.

How do you feel the band itself has evolved over the last few years?
The realization of this being a music business hit home pretty hard and our manager has really tried to pull us together on that front. In today’s music industry, it is especially hard to get signed and maintain any longevity. You really have to have all of your shit together to even get noticed.

How will you get your music to the masses?
We have some pretty cool ideas to get our music out there. We are in the midst of booking small tours right now. In August we will be traveling through New York state. In October we will be traveling down the East Coast for a one-week tour and in January will are going to Texas and back. The Oasis Club in Texas contacted Pete just a few weeks ago to let us know that he has been hearing good things about us and wants us to get out there as soon as possible. Our biggest hope for the future is that the music fans out there like what they hear and show it to their friends who in turn show it to their friends. Our music is for the people by the people. As long as they like what they hear we will continue to make more.

PISTOL SHOT GYPSY + STOIC + BABY BOY H + TESTA | New Wave Café, 143 North Front St, New Bedford, MA | June 27 at 8 pm | $10 includes CD | 508.984.0080

Village idiots
The FOOLS BALL is back at AS220, taking place this Saturday (the 28th). Including a Foolish Cabaret of Chaos, the night — themed “Gadgets & Gizmos” — will involve some seri-ous high jinks. Broad Street Studios, the Providence Poetry Slam, Richard Goulis, Fallen Kings, Post Logic Collective, Linda King, Chris Paddock and Friends, Chloe Paisley, the Ergot Players, Rich Porter, and many more will show up in various states of hooliganism, all corralled by host/MCs Matt Derby and Keith Munslow. There will also be brief acoustic interludes by Exiles, Bradford Krieger, Nick Hurley, Ben Pilgrim and the Free Union Band, the Devil My Pocket, and Alex. On the main stage when the lights go down: Javelin, Joey Beats, Swiss Chemistry Club (with Hoska and O’Keefe), Blatant Cronyism, Spanish Dancer, Llove, and the sassy brass of the What Cheer? Brigade! There’s lots of other stuff, too, so check for more info and admission particulars.

Wandering eye
At Eddie’s 529 Club, 529 Warwick Avenue, LOVETRAIN plays on Friday, June 27, and on Sunday afternoon, June 29, it’s BONNIEPALOOZA, named after the new owner/manager of the club, Bonnie Donahue. It’ll be a barbecue and rock fest with MARK CUTLER AND THE MEN OF GREAT COURAGE, Lovetrain and FOREVER YOUNG, the Neil tribute. Tunes begin at 1 pm and run till sundown. Ring 401.941.9423 for info.

On Sunday, the Blackstone presents THE COOL AND DEADLY, a dub reggae band out of Brooklyn. Call 401.726.2181. On Tuesday, July 1, at Tantric, 1070 North Main Street, Providence, Manic Apocalypse presents MAHI MAHI, TRIANGLE FOREST, 3D MYSTERY, and HANG THE DJ. It’s an 18-plus show for only 8 beans. For bookings and info, or call 401

Related: Brain power, Bittersweet sendoff, The hunt, More more >
  Topics: New England Music News , Entertainment, James Thompson, Layne Staley,  More more >
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