Gorky began as the music project of guitarist-vocalist Jesse Valencia in October of 2001 when he moved with his parents to Show Low, Arizona at the age of 15. The following year, Ben Holladay joined on as drummer after the two struck up a friendship in Geography class, as the two quickly discovered that out of anyone in their small town high school, only they had similar taste in music. Jesse and Ben have been the only consistent members of the band since its founding, and have lived in Show Low ever since.
Together Jesse and Ben found loads of inspiration in the garage rock and post-punk revival bands coming out at that time. In 2004, Gregg Aldridge joined on as bass player, at which point the band began to record. A small collection of these recordings later became the ‘First Demo EP’.
After Jesse finished probation for an earlier bad decision in life and grad school he was able to focus on Gorky and truly begin his career in acting and filmmaking. During this time the band shot the videos for their singles ‘#Datass’ and ‘Super Drunk’ with independent filmmaker Travis Mills, who directed Valencia opposite Tom Sizemore in his first-ever onscreen role, in his independent crime drama ‘Durant’s Never Closes,’ to which Valencia contributed score, as well as to other films directed or produced by Travis, including the drama ‘Don’t Come Around Here’ and the horror ‘Bride of Violence,’ which features cameos by Jesse, Ben, and Tevin. Since that time, ‘#Datass’ and ‘Super Drunk’, meant as parodies of American ‘shock’ culture, together have garnered nearly 40,000 views.
In 2018, Gorky released the albums ‘The Gork…And How To Get It!’ and ‘More Electric Music,’ featuring digitally remastered versions of the best of the band’s recordings going back to 2007, including their best-known songs, ‘#Datass’, ‘Super Drunk,’ ‘She Spoke’, ‘Sing A Song If It Makes You Happy’ and ‘Megalodon!’.
Different guitarists have appeared with the band on and off throughout the years as well. Most recently Benjamin Turner has joined the live lineup, known for his work with the bands Alaska and Me and Warranty. Turner co-wrote ‘Sing A Song If It Makes You Happy’ with Valencia in 2011 and co-produced the band’s latest record, Mathemagician, which features two re-recorded songs (‘Roll With Me’, from More Electric Music and ‘Sing A Song If It Makes You Happy’, from The Gork…!), as well as six new ones, including ‘Action Pants’, which had a helping hand from The Dandy Warhols’ Courtney Taylor-Taylor.
“While Gorky was recording ‘Action Pants,’ I would send the mixes to Courtney Taylor-Taylor of the Dandy Warhols,” Valencia says, “he would send me back his commentary and suggestions, and that really helped shape the song.” At one point, The Dandys’ frontman told Valencia he wished he’d written ‘Action Pants’ himself. (The Dandy Warhols released their latest album, Why You So Crazy, earlier this January, while the The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s latest, Brian Jonestown Massacre, is out March 15. Dig!, the film about the two bands celebrates its 15-year anniversary this year).
With a published book, a new Gorky album, and several projects at the David Lynch Film School underway, Valencia is currently focused on his first feature film, a music-driven drama called In The Land Of Good Oaks, about a self-sabotaging musician on the rise who must learn to forgive himself before he secures the record deal of his dreams, as well as a TV Pilot he is developing for a show based on his experiences in the Army.
To coincide with the US publication of Keep Music Evil: The Brian Jonestown Massacre Story as well as Mathemagician, Valencia and Gorky have booked a small tour, the band’s first, through Arizona that ends April 16th in Los Angeles, the day of the book’s release. Author’s events during the day at local bookstores and shows at night at a nearby venue.
Glide is thrilled to premiere the official video for Gorky’s “Action Pants” – a bang em up rocker with an irritated kick and hellbent ferocity in line with early Arctic Monkeys, The Vines and The Stooges. Buzz of a rock revolution has been in the works for years and Gorky brings an accessible flair along with a voracious edge to very well start their own rock revolution.
Photo by Jim Louvau