Bringing the Music to the Party and the Party to the Gig
By Lisa Morgan
These “Gyes”, more like brothers than friends or mere band mates, bring a whole new respectability to the term “cover band”. Self-described as a band that “rocks all your favorite hard rock/heavy metal/classic rock tunes, as well as the obscure songs you forgot about,” Wyte Gye has truly raised the standard as they don’t simply play their insanely large arsenal of cover tunes, they entertain while doing it. Currently, the Wyte Gye front line is made up of Eric Willman on lead guitar, Dominic Jimenez on drums, Alfredo Campos on bass and Noe Gutierrez at lead vocals. But former players Michael Jimenez, Robert Pickett, August Arrowsmith and Armando Flores are still endeared and highly respected as part of the Wyte Gye team. From all looks and appearances, the name of the band can only be attributed to their lead guitarist, Eric, who is the only perceivably “token white guy” in the mix. Deeply bonded over time and through the music they make together, I predict we will all still be lining up to party with this band for decades to come. All are graduates from Indio High School (within a year or so of each other); all grew up on MTV and share the same musical interests. Each has a full time, grown up job, and every single one of them transforms into a monster rocker when they get behind their instruments. But let this be a warning: the fun they have while doing it is highly contagious.
I got to spend some time with the band this week, and enjoyed probably one of the most entertaining and surprising interviews I’ve ever had the pleasure of participating in. The camaraderie and sense of family was thick with these guys, who slipped in and out of brief moments of deep gratitude and respect toward their bandmates, while spending the bulk of the interview laughing and making fun of each other. It seemed they were much more comfortable laughing at themselves rather than boasting. With Wyte Gye, what you see is what you get… to a point. As individuals, there are no egos to get around nor is there any posing; they can take a joke, make fun of themselves as well as dish with the best of them. They are however, extremely deceptive in one regard: this is probably the most genuinely understated group of insanely talented musicians I have ever come across.
Following the interview where these guys played themselves off as “just in it for fun”, I was practically slapped in the face with their level of musicianship, as I was treated to a short private concert. I have a little bit of a music background and have had the blessing of playing with some very talented musicians in my 20 year music career. What I witnessed blew my mind. Mike on guitar (who I could tell was a pure perfectionist) played with understated ease and finesse. Bassist, Alfredo, the newest addition to the band, played right in the pocket with a tasty depth and feel that lead me to believe he could lay down the funk just as easily as he was putting down the bottom end of this progressive metal rock. Then there was Dom, whose feet were just as smooth and accurate as his hands. I have rarely witnessed a double kick being worked with such polish. The three musicians provided an extremely tight and trick backdrop to the vocals I never saw coming. To talk to Noe is to love him. But to hear him soar vocally over this solid musical backdrop is surreal. You take all this talent put together, with their sense of humor and fun, real-deal demeanor, and you have a sure thing when it comes to a band bringing all the goods to a party.
With around 300 songs, mostly in the classic to metal rock format but not excluding the ability to pull off Michael Jackson or Santana, they can cater their set list to any crowd. After all, their first gig was a Beatles Tribute way back in 2005. There were a couple of important turning points for this band, as they matured into the entertainers they are today. Lead vocalist and front man, Noe Gutierrez shared one of those. “We were playing a back yard party in North Indio from the back of a tractor trailer. It was like we were playing for the crickets,” he joked as the rest of the guys made chirping noises in the background. “I stepped up to the mic and said, ‘Judging by your silence, you all are in shock and awe at what you’ve just witnessed.’” In true rock and roll fashion, Noe stated, “I just decided not to give a shit and just have fun.” They also began to realize they had something very special going when they opened for The Pedestrians at the Tack Room. After performing to a packed house, the reports from coworkers and friends afterward, proved that their band had the ability to bring and keep a crowd as well as keep them true party form (the Budweiser rep reported record sales that night). Pulling out songs from the Cult, to Village People (and even some Katie Perry when necessary) the love these guys have for music and their passion for entertaining is phenomenal. Getting paid is a perk for these guys, although a very much appreciated one, they unanimously agree, they’d do this for free. That joy and love is what is translated from the stage through their music. It’s a proven fact that in the event they are paid, they’ll most likely use the money to have a barbeque that will turn into a jam with the rest of their extended family.
This week, Wyte Gye prepares to open for the infamous, Geoff Tate led, Queensryche at The Date Shed this Friday night. Having played the Shed previously with the “Rock the Funk” show and with the band Long Duck Dong, they are ready, although you can bet that they are preparing to perfection. No one is more excited than Noe to be opening for Queensryche, who in his younger years literally hocked his saxophone for Queensryche tickets. (I laugh as I write this, remembering how, as Noe shared how important this concert was to him for him to sacrifice his instrument, Eric shouted out, “Why didn’t you just get a ______ job dude,” as laughter once again erupted around the interview table). Noe also shared, “Gigs like this make us practice a lot more.” With nothing but confidence, he added, “We’ll bring the party and set the tone.” With their renditions of Iron Maiden, Motley Crue and Ozzy tunes, along with the rest of their high energy, hair moving rock and roll set list, Wyte Gye is sure to get the crowd raising their glasses to the stage even before the Grammy nominated Geoff Tate and Queensryche make their appearance.
Make sure to catch Wyte Gye and Queensryche at the Date Shed this Friday night, August 23rd. Tickets are $20 each and the show is open to ages 18 and over. Purchase tickets on the Date Shed website: http://www.dateshedmusic.com/ or at the door the night of the show (that is if the concert is not sold out first). Other opportunities to catch Wyte Gye are as follows:
8/31 Red Barn – Metal Nyte w/ Perishment, Redivider & DJ Alltruizm
9/21 Tack Room – Wyte Gye Nyte w/ Desert DJ 10/26 Terror at the Tack Room – Halloween Show w/ Long Duk Dong & Desert DJ
Follow the band on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wytegye