Gringo Star on the rise
The Gringos’ star is rising.
Brothers Nick and Peter Furgiuele have seen their psychedelic garage rock band soar in the press and the international music circuit over the past year, but playing a hometown show has never lost its luster.
Gringo Star, featuring the Furgiuele brothers and bandmates Pete DeLorenzo and Chris Kaufman, will power into Boone Saloon on Thursday, Feb. 16.
Although Nick and Peter left the High Country more than 10 years ago to pursue their musical career in Atlanta, Ga., they’ve remained a constant in the Boone music scene. The humble mountain town where the brothers spent their youth and graduated high school is a consistent stop on the tour itinerary.
“We definitely go back there because our parents are there, but we’ve had some pretty good shows there over the years,” Nick Furgiuele said. “Especially the last few times we’ve played at Boone Saloon, we’ve always had really good shows. And there’s Los Arcoiris.”
Focusing energy on small locales, and doing so through a strenuous tour schedule, paid off for Gringo Star. By playing hard and playing often, whether to a crowd of 15 or 1,500, the band has steadily accumulated devoted fans and valuable opportunities.
An appearance at the 2011 SXSW festival in Austin caught the attention of independent record label Gigantic, which quickly signed the group. From there, Gringo Star started working with Grammy-winning producer Ben Allen (Animal Collective, Gnarls Barkley, Deerhunter) on their second album.
“Count Yer Lucky Stars,” released in October 2011, landed on a slew of year-end best-of lists and received positive reviews from many reputable media outlets. Rolling Stone gave the album three out of five stars and praised Gringo Star for their experimentalism and “colorful curiosity” of their psychedelic forebears – The Beatles, Kinks and Yardbirds.
Nick Furgiuele admits the coverage is “awesome,” but the band doesn’t let it get to their heads.
“It’s cool when the good stuff happens, but at the same time you can’t really care too much because there’s plenty of negative stuff,” he said. “If you care about all the good stuff you hear, then when you hear something that’s not as good, you get more uptight over it, so I try not to pay any attention to it.”
Gringo Star just performed for more than 100,000 people at the Super Bowl Village in Indianapolis, Ind., on the Thursday prior to the nation’s biggest sporting event, and still drove to Asheville the next day to play for 160 people. They’ve been known to sleep in their tour van, which has clocked more than 200,000 miles, and they still do shows in Boone.
The next show is just important as the last, and the adventure of not knowing who or what is waiting ahead is part of the job, Furgiuele said. He and his brother are enjoying their job, no matter how unpredictable it proves to be sometimes.
“We always wanted to play,” he said. “We’ve been playing music since elementary school, so we always wanted to be a band, tour around, make friends.”
Digging into their parents’ record collection as children and listening to Buddy Holly, Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson could be to credit for Nick and Peter’s career choice. Sam and Peggy Furgiuele, always enthusiastic about their children’s interest in music, are one of Gringo Star’s biggest backers.
“I don’t know if they had it in mind, but they’re very supportive,” Nick said. “They definitely support us and are into it and have never given us any flack for it.”
Furgiuele may have to put some work in when he visits Boone, but he’ll also get some time enjoy being at home. The most important thing on his to-do list, besides putting on a rock ’n’ roll show and seeing his parents, is eating at his favorite hometown restaurant.
“Pretty much Los Arcoiris, that’s about it,” he said. “We’ll probably be there pretty early.”
The Gringo Star concert will start at 10 p.m., with East Tennessee rock band The Wild Tribe opening the show. The cover charge is $5, and only ages 21 and older will be admitted. Boone Saloon is located at 489 W. King St. in downtown Boone.
For more information on Gringo Star, visit http://www.gringostar.net.