I often hear, but seldom get to read about Omar Romero and wanted to hear how the Stringpoppers are doing now. I know that The Stringpoppers are now: Omar Romero at rhythm guitar and vocals, Jeff Gerow at drums, Santiago Bermudes at solo guitar(Chuy & The Bobcats) and Andrew Iniguez at Bass (Desperados)
Beside the local gigs in California Omar & The Stringpoppers played at Viva Las Vegas in April, but Omar is also booked to play in my home country Finland coming July. So I asked a favour from a man who knows Omar better than anyone else, the other original Stringpoppers - Wild records drummer Jeff Gerow to tell how the Stringpoppers begin and how they are doing now?
OMAR ROMERO by Jeff Gerow
Rockin at San Francisco
I met Omar for the first time when he played with his band, the Screaminí Solo Flights, at Demarcoís 23 Club in Brisbane, California. At the time I was playing with my first band, Jesse Lee and the Moonshots, and was also working with Reb Kennedy and Rockiní Lloyd Tripp putting on shows at the 23 Club and other venues in the San Francisco Bay Area. I thought Omar was 20 years old or so when I met him, but came to find out later he was only 16. I really liked his choice of covers and his originals. I saw Omar again when the Screaminí Solo Flights returned to the Bay Area to record songs for the Dig That Uranium Rock 10Ē record. Itís funny to look back on now, because I played with every band on that record except Omarís. I played a few shows with other bands on the same bill as the Screaminí Solo Flights in San Francisco, Phoenix and San Diego and hung out with the guys a bit.
Hitting Los Angeles
I moved to Los Angeles in September of 2001 and was staying on Rebís couch until I could get settled. Reb told me he was working with Omar and asked me if I wanted to play drums in his new band. I wasnít playing with anyone else in Los Angeles, only doing a few shows now and again with the Top-Hands back in the Bay Area. Reb thought this new band with Omar could be really successful and do great things. I could tell Reb was excited about Omarís potential and I was excited to play in a band playing traditional Sun rockabilly music with Omar.
At this clip there is Desperados guitarist David Espinoza aka Baby D at the guitar.
Birth of Stringpoppers
I started driving down to San Diego for rehearsals and recording in the living room of Omarís parentís house. By the second rehearsal we thought up a name for the band. I wanted Omar and the Snake Charmers, but was convinced of the Stringpopper name because I also broke some snares (strings) on my snare drum from time to time. We also set a goal of recording a cd, a 45 rpm record and touring Europe by our second or third rehearsal. I have been with the Stringpoppers and brothers with Omar ever since.
Brother from another mother
Itís been a great experience playing with Omar over the years. We have been able to write and record original songs and play all over the world. We have been through a lot together and are as close as brothers. It has always been more than just playing music together; weíre involved in each otherís lives on a daily basis. Weíve always been able to bounce ideas off each other and have always been able to be completely honest with each other no matter how difficult it may be.
Omarís knowledge of the music we love and his ear for sound is superb. Playing with Omar has really helped me progress as a drummer. He knows exactly how to get certain sounds and what will sound good. Heís really helped me refine my sound; otherwise, I might have turned out to be some crash-bam-boom drummer like Animal from the Muppets. He challenges everyone to be the best they can and get the sound that we love and know we can get. Iíve loved traveling with Omar and hanging out at our shows. There is never a dull moment with Omar and we continue to have great adventures. The excitement he creates on stage is infectious, for both the audience and us in the band as well. It really helps when you have as much fun as we do together.
New record coming out real soon
We have five songs recorded for the new album. We are always the first band to play when the studio is relocated / rebuilt and we started recording the new album as the first band in the new studio. We are very excited about our new album. We are going back to what we started doing as the StringPoppers- playing straight up, pure rockabilly music. The new album is going to be nothing but traditional Sun style rockabilly and we are extremely excited to write and record our favorite form of music.
Omar at Rockabilly Rave playing with broken collarbone. That I would call dedication!!!!