Robert Bush noon, Jan. 22
I Wish I
Sound description: Like Simple Minds, but not so simple.
RIYL: Aerosmith, U2, Big Country, Swing Kids, Unbroken, Texas is the Reason, the Promise Ring
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- "Past & Present" · April 17, 2013
Inception: San Diego, 1995
Influences: Aerosmith, the Cult, Coldplay, U2, GBH, Korn
I Wish I's original Fugazi-inspired lineup -- Gabe Gamboa, Joey Guevara, June Cate, and Jay Alejandria (later Jay Choy) -- played up and down the West Coast in the late 1990s.
Not that rock and roll was always paying the bills. Guevara recalls “I was a vendor at SeaWorld for awhile, and that fully sucked. One time at Shamu Stadium, I forgot to get out of the way and Shamu spit water all over a fresh tray of popcorn, and I had to pay for it. Whale bastard.”
Gamboa once found himself “Working in a plastic printing company. I had to pull apart the credit cards from the machine and each time it would shock me. I probably got shocked about 12 times a day.”
Choy's worst job? “Furniture mover. Just lame all around.”
Things picked up when the band's constant touring ethic managed to not only keep them in Ramen noodles, but also to pair them up with some of the era's heaviest hitters. “During our time, we’ve gotten to play with great bands, from Swing Kids and Unbroken to Texas Is the Reason and the Promise Ring,” says drummer Gabe Gamboa.
“In the early days, we’d play Soma with Blink, pre-182, GBH, and Korn. Another great venue to play was the Pickle Patch in Santa Barbara, which ended up being the birthplace of Dim Mak Records.”
They released two full-length albums -- Farenheit (Dim Mak Records) and Drop in Standing (Ambassador) -- as well as appearing on a split 7" single.
Choy recalls their worst gig as "a show we played in Las Vegas on one of our tours. Our singer, Joe, couldn't make it so we played as a three piece with June taking over for vocals. The funny part was we were so stressed about playing a show without Joe that we were thrown for a loop when we realized that the show was at some kids house and he hadn't publicized the show. When it was our time to play, there literally was the guy who put on the show and his girlfriend. It ended up being a private practice."
The group disbanded in 2000. Guevara then joined JeJune, Cate became a pro skater and then worked for a well-known coffee chain (“I went from grinding rails to grinding coffee”), Gamboa was in Kill Holiday, and Alejandria began focusing on martial arts. Over the lengthy hiatus, I Wish I played only a handful of shows after 1997.
In summer 2007, after seven years of nonactivity, I Wish I reunited its original quartet for a few shows. A new release, Convolutions (Dim Mak Records), came out in early 2013, recorded at Earthling Studios by Mike Kamoo. It was previewed by “Ideoglossia,” a video for the first single.
“The album cover art is a painting from Nilo Naghdi,” says Guevara. “She’s actually the artist that designed our logo back when we first started in 1994. It was special for us to have her painting on our new release, since it ties in our past with our present.”