[ – from the official bio – ]
Hi, this is a public service announcement on behalf of the Portland band Gemet Gemet. We were recently asked by a promoter for a bio of our band, and realized we didn’t have one. Let’s fix that. It will provide critics with something to cut and paste at will when trying to “describe” the group.
In the tried-and-true tradition of the “love rock” revolution that took place in Olympia during the early ’90s, Gemet Gemet is a two-person band. Maybe it’s really two one-man-bands, doing more with less. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Gene Gemet [ – aka Gene Tangren – ] is a former native of Minneapolis (MN), and a longtime transplant resident and painter, in Portland (OR). Back in the Midwest, Gene’s oeuvre included stints with India, Technique Niquee. Gene also co-founded a handful of bands; notably, Vertigo (before all those other Vertigo bands), as well as Silver Salute – both of which released a number of records on the prestigious Amphetamine Reptile label. Moving beyond the parameters of guitar-driven rock, Gene collaborated with childhood pal Mike Nehl, resulting in the experimental / neo-psychedelic soundscape entity known as Grackle, who have released 3 CDs to date on Gene’s own Suspended Dimension Records label, and which can be found on CD Baby.
Jéan Gemét [ – aka J. Free – ] is another escapee from the Minneapolis scene, who also found refuge in Portland – just shortly before the official name change to Portlandia placed it on everyone’s radar, which is purely a coincidence. J.’s first outing as a poet / provocateur came in the guise of The Sacred Version, whose claim to fame was being the first band to grace the stage of the esteemed 7th Street Entry in Mpls, and which resulted in that group also being the first to be banned from the venue. Since those humble beginnings, J. has performed as a spoken word artist and a multi-instrumentalist in a number of largely un-heard of, mostly un-lamented regional bands; including Borrowed Time (before all those other Borrowed Time bands), Hytones, Dancing In The Dark, and Demolition Factor. In recent years, J. has worked with The Summer People, The Pushrods, and Panel Of Experts, among others. In Portland, J. also collaborates with Grackle, and performs solo under the nom de plume Somebody’s Got An Axe To Grind.
Gene and J. found each other in Portland quite unexpectedly, having first met in Mpls almost thirty years earlier, where they shared bandmates, concert bills, and at one point, J. was employed by the agency which booked shows for Gene’s band Vertigo. When re-united in Portland, they performed together at the Portland Art Museum, billed as The Avant Guards, playing an almost impromptu set which consisted of covers by Syd Barrett, psych-era Pink Floyd, and songs from their own former bands. Subsequently, they began recording together as an extended version of Grackle, before making the decision to form their own band. Like most bands just starting out, they decided to “jam” on some of the classic hits from their youth – in this case, that meant Can, early Pink Floyd, and of course, Sun Ra.