(Hed)pe keeps plugging away

By John Benson

The perfect venue for the band just might be Peabody’s DownUnder in Cleveland.

Cleveland still rocks.

Even though Northeast Ohio has the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the once-thought-of rock capital of the world may have seemingly fallen down the totem pole of importance over the past decade; however, don’t tell that to (Hed) p.e singer Jared Gomes, who still believes Cleveland audiences have something special to offer.

Gomes points to his thrash-metal act’s new live DVD/CD “The D.i.Y. Guys” as proof positive.

“I love Cleveland,” said Gomes, calling from Los Angeles.” Peabody’s [DownUnder] is all over the DVD. That’s my idea of a perfect show, where there’s no security and the stage is at the perfect level. And the crowd’s there and the vibration provided at Peabody’s is just so (Hed) p.e as far as I’m concerned. Every time we go there, it’s like off the frickin’ chain.”

(Hed) p.e returns to the scene of the crime for a Friday date at Peabody’s DownUnder. The band also plays Pittsburgh on Tuesday at the Diesel Club Lounge.

“And dude, there’s really sweet footage on the DVD from Peabody’s of live performances,” Gomes said. “There’s me stage diving, and there are like fans running on stage. It’s mayhem. Without a doubt, Cleveland rocks. There are a lot of good places but Cleveland and Peabody’s sticks out in my mind.”

Blushing aside, Northeast Ohio is similar to (Hed) p.e in a sense that both are attempting to experience a resurgence of interest. For the Gomes-led act, which arrived on the music scene around the turn of the century, the hard band’s rebirth began with its 2006 disc “Back To Base X,” which hit No. 12 on the Top Independent Albums Charts. This was followed up by 2007’s ”Insomnia,” featuring the popular single “Suffa.”

The group’s next disc “New World Orphans,” which is due out in September, is described as sounding heavier than previous efforts. In the meantime, Gomes and company decided to give its loyal following the concert DVD/CD “The D.i.Y. Guys.” The singer describes the effort as being “a truly organic release” when compared to live recordings of other bands.

“I’m not in a position to compare live albums at all, because I can’t even think of a person’s live album right now,” Gomes said. “I don’t even listen to contemporary music, but I just know from being kind of an industry insider, there’s the tendency to go in on a so-called live album and re-record everything.

“I just know it’s done, and we just didn’t do that. That’s just one little side comment or whatever.”

Standing out as being different is nothing new to Gomes. While there are numerous acts that blew up during the early ’00s nu-metal zeitgeist and have since fallen into obscurity, (Hed) p.e has maintained a steady, albeit underground, existence. And if Gomes has his way, that won’t change anytime soon.

“I’m concerned with obviously making a living off of music because that’s my love and my passion, but (Hed) p.e isn’t concerned with making truckloads of money or appealing to tons of people,” Gomes said. “We don’t mind getting our message out to as many people as possible, but at this point in the game, there’s no compromising on anything for us.

“We’re not meant to be mass-produced. It’s like we’re not engineered that way, not that I know what ‘that way’ is.”

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