SXSW Profiles

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SXSW Profiles

Sumack, Maggie Mae's East, 1am

"Our lead singer is getting more flowers than the Gomez guy," says Sumack's Rod Sherwood as bandmate Mark McAdam steps into the band's RV with a fan's bouquet. "The Gomez guy is getting the leftovers."

Like his four bandmates, Sherwood has a quick wit, which is propelling him through his first "phoner." These Hollywood transplants are, in fact, experiencing a lot of firsts as a new band fresh out of the package. With support of their label, V2, they've already opened for, among others, Everlast and Jimmie's Chicken Shack, and in May will join an MTV-sponsered tour with Moby and Bush. Yet with no album out, let alone a hit single, one wonders what they share with their couple-hit-wonder headliners.

"With Jimmie's Chicken Shack, the music wasn't the same, but the sense of fun was, unlike Everlast, who was so dreadfully serious," explains Sherwood. Musically opinionated, he tosses off some unsavory details, then pauses and retracts his comments -- that is, if he's allowed. No problem. We call that "off the record."

"Gomez, though, was actually on our wish list for tours," he offers, also mentioning Massive Attack and his heroes Radiohead. When it's noted that they're all pretty British and pretty big, he adds, "Right, it was either those two or Hootie and Bruce Springsteen."

Sherwood turns earnest, though, when talking about Gomez's lauded debut, Bring It On, which served as a beacon for the penniless five-piece with lofty production amibitions. "We were in the middle of recording our own 8-tracks, and so it was inspiring to see them having such success across the water doing a similar home studio thing," he says.

There's suddenly a ruckus in the background as the Gomez guy, Tom, enters the RV. After some bantering about the accommodations, Sherwood proclaims that every Gomez member sounds like Ringo and asks him to talk for the journalist. Good-naturedly, Tom takes the phone, does a bit of Thomas the Tank Engine, and returns to his visit. He reassures the young band that V2 is the place to be in England, as their roster includes powerhouses like the Stereophonics and Yank critical faves Mercury Rev. Sherwood returns to the phone, a bit giddy.

"You know, when you're a new band in this situation, you're partly numb, and yet every now and then you get a moment of clarity," he explains. "Like last night, I'm at the Fillmore opening for one of my favorite bands. How did this happen?"

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