Howe Gelb (of Giant Sand)

Howe Gelb has traveled many a long and dusty mile to get to his place of prominence as an elder statesman of freewheeling Americana and "Erosion Rock"; A brand of music changing with the elements on a daily basis as nature intended, like giant sand, believing that continuous evolution should be a palpable element in music, as when when songs were first handed over again and again, before the frozen capture of a recording studio.

In 1980, Gelb formed the post punk band Giant Sandworms, with his close friend Rainer Ptacek, the renowned slide guitarist and beloved Tucson icon. Rainer died from brain cancer in 1997, and you can't talk long with Gelb without his name coming up.

Giant Sand emerged in 1983 and released that group's debut album, Valley of Rain in 1985. In the 25 years since, he has released an estimated 40 albums or so as Giant Sand, The Band of... Blacky Ranchette, OP8, Howe Gelb solo releases and other collaborations. He's not sure of the exact amount.

Since his first release was facilitated by handing out a rough mixed cassette to a touring band passing through Tucson in the early 80s, he then continued the tradition by doing the same for Grandaddy and M. Ward when they handed him theirs along the way. And yes, Calexico was his former rhythm section, introducing them boys to each other and Tucson itself in the early 90s.

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