One of the great things about music is that it’s not black and white—and bands don’t need to be chained to one genre or another.
Greg Gilmore and the Fever Dreams tout their music as “American rock ’n’ roll,” but their music takes listeners on a journey through indie rock, soul, funk, country and so much more. The band includes Brendon Lund (bass, backing vocals), Adam Landis (keys, organ, synth, piano, backing vocals), Jorge Pulido-Rubio (lead guitar), Jeff Knight (drums) and Greg Gilmore (lead vocals, rhythm guitar)—and they’re celebrating the release of their debut album, Premonition, with a show at Cypress Reno on Saturday, May 7. I talked to Gilmore ahead of the release show about their music and the new album.
“I grew up in love with the Beatles; they’re, like, my favorite thing ever, so I guess I always kind of looked up to them,” Gilmore said. “As I started to get a little older, I kind of went through the decades to more contemporary stuff. My heroes were always musicians growing up; I just loved music so much. I moved out of the Beatles into being a real big fan of Tom Petty, and then when I was in high school, I got really into Jack White and the White Stripes and that whole scene. I found music could be very therapeutic for me. Hopefully, it does the same thing for the listener.”
Gilmore said rock ’n’ roll has always been at the foundation of his music, though the sound is definitely evolving.
“I’ve had a very stern approach to keeping the core classic rock instruments in a band,” he said. “But I started listening to The Cure a lot lately, so I’ve been getting into synths. We’ve got some textures on this record that I’ve never used before, so it’s kind of new for me.”
The addition of a new lead guitarist was the inception behind both Gilmore’s new band—and a changing sound.
“Jorge Pulido-Rubio is on lead guitar, and he joined the band when we started recording this album,” Gilmore said. “Prior to this album, the rest of us were a group called Silver, and we did quite a bit of touring and stuff, and put out a couple of EPs. Our lead guitar player quit right when we were going to record what was going to be our third EP. That’s when we found Jorge to replace him on the guitar—and just decided to change the band name at that point.
“Silver was a little more straightforward, and this band has been a little more exploratory. We put out an EP with Silver in October 2019, and by the end of 2019, I already had a few more songs, so we were going to try to go right back into the studio. We recorded out in Sacramento at Pus Cavern Recording Studio with Joe Johnston (who produced the band Cake). He’s got platinum Cake records on his wall, and it was a super-cool experience. I booked the studio time for the same place for March 2020, and we were there for, like, two days—until it was a misdemeanor if you leave (due to the pandemic), so we just stayed in the studio all day, every day, for a week. We were just going to have six songs, but we wound up with an album’s worth. Silver was more straightforward rock ’n’ roll, and when Jorge came on, the texture and riffs that he added were a lot like The Killers and John Mayer.”
Gilmore is a huge fan of Johnston’s work with Cake, and he felt the pressure while recording—but he said it was “the best kind” of pressure.
“You’ve got to be on your game,” said Gilmore. “The first time I had gotten to go record with him, we were tracking some acoustic guitars, and he was like, ‘So do you want a microphone in front of the guitar, or do you want me to run through an amp, because that’s what Cake does?’ I was just shaking and trembling slightly, and said, ‘I’ll do what Cake does.’
“This was our second time with him, so I was a lot more comfortable, and a lot more familiar with the studio. Since it was during COVID, we went back and forth a few times. I’ve got a studio here in Reno that I share with my buddy, and a lot of the harmonies, auxiliary and percussive stuff, we recorded here and then brought out to Sacramento. We recorded all the instruments and all the lead vocals out there in Sacramento, but then did kind of all the backing vocals and percussive stuff here.”
The experimental nature of Premonition has to do, in part, with the abundance of time spent working on the album.
“We started in March 2020 and didn’t finish until August,” said Gilmore. “It was a few months—the longest that I’d ever spent on anything. Since there wasn’t anything else going on, there’s a lot of production value. I’ve always tried to keep everything very simple, and try to have just the basic instrumentation, but this is so layered, because there was so much time to think about it. … We kind of had free rein to just kind of layer and layer and layer.”
The Fever Dreams’ release show at Cypress Reno is coming after a pandemic’s worth of waiting.
“We just kept wanting to have a release show, but then the ebb and flow of COVID was frightening, because you want to have a positive release experience,” said Gilmore. “It was just a matter of waiting for the right time. We’ve done a couple of outdoor things, but this will be our first indoor thing. … We haven’t done a show that we’ve promoted. It’s been so long now. Thankfully, the songs still kind of connect with me a little bit.”
Finally, Gilmore explained why the album is named Premonition.
“Adam, the keyboard player, decided on that word for me, because a lot of the songs are foreboding—seeing the writing on the wall a little bit, looking forward into what may be coming and anticipating it, and trying to enjoy what is happening at the time. I was summing that all up to him, and he came up with that word.”
Greg Gilmore and the Fever Dreams will perform their record-release show with Buffalo Moses and His Ex-Wives at 9 p.m., Saturday, May 7, at Cypress Reno, 761 S Virginia St., in Reno. Tickets are $10 in advance via Eventbrite, or $15 at the door. For more information on Greg Gilmore and the Fever Dreams, visit ggatfd.com.