Born in downtown Chiswick, Ian Gomm grew up in London and cut his teeth on The Ventures, The Everly Brothers and The Beatles. The young Gomm followed a five-year apprenticeship in mechanical and electronic engineering with EMI.Ltd. at Hayes in London where The Beatles’ first records were manufactured. He sang and played lead/rhythm guitar in semi-pro groups in his spare time through the late sixties. Always leading three-piece line-ups he performed around the West London R&B circuit in clubs and pubs, as were Alexis Korner and the embryonic Rolling Stones, his band supporting new groups such as The Who, Pink Floyd and The Move. Gomm concentrated hard on his guitar playing and was eventually described as quote: “Best rhythm guitarist in Britain.” (NME 1971).
Deciding to become a full time musician in September 1970 Ian gave in his notice on a Friday and on the next Monday joined the cult group Brinsley Schwarz, the country rock band managed by ex-Jimi Hendrix tour manager and soon to be Managing Director and founder of Stiff Records, Dave Robinson, who advertised in the Melody Maker for “a rhythm/lead guitarist with vocal ability to sing, write and play any other instruments, interested or into country flavored music” for the group. Ian fitted the bill perfectly, as the band evolved into the solid, hardworking and professional Pub Rock outfit which packed out every venue they played in the early ‘70s. They also supported Dave Edmunds on tour and then Paul McCartney and Wings on his first major U.K. tour since The Beatles. During the six years the Brinsleys were together they regularly performed on radio and television and played at major U.K. venues, universities, colleges and rock festivals, topping the bill at the first Glastonbury Festival! They even appeared in the film ‘Stardust’ with David Essex. The band enjoyed a huge following in the U.K., Ireland, Holland, and Germany, recording twelve albums and 21 singles for United Artists.
When they finally split up in 1975 Ian moved with his wife Karen and family to Mid-Wales, UK. He built a recording studio and concentrated on his own song writing career and learned how to engineer and produce records. He recorded The Stranglers, Alexis Korner, Peter Hammill and Amon Duul as well as his own solo song demos.
His fellow band member Nick Lowe preferred the hustle of London however, and after his involvement with the newly formed Stiff record label went on to form Rockpile with Dave Edmunds and Little Village with Ry Cooder. Recently having a huge success with his song “What’s So Funny About Peace Love And Understanding” sung by Curtis Stigers, which was featured in the film The Bodyguard, and was originally recorded with Ian’s musical arrangement by the Brinsleys.
Having amassed a large catalogue of his own songs Ian was signed by the newly formed independent Albion record label based in London. His first solo album titled Summer Holiday was released in the UK in 1978 and used superb musicians like Herbie Flowers (bass), Barry De Sousa (drums) and Raf Ravenscroft (saxophone) of Baker Street fame. In 1979 the same album now called Gomm with the Wind was released on Stiff/Epic Records in North America. A single from the album Hold On took off on college radio and eventually climbed to Number Twelve in the U.S. Hot 100. For over five months he toured and played all the top venues in the U.S. attracting audiences of 20,000 or more. Firstly supporting Dire Straits on their Sultans of Swing tour, then quickly followed by his own sell out U.S. solo tour. Chart topping country star Glen Campbell covered Ian’s song “Hooked on Love” from this album. Nick Lowe also had his biggest hit around the same time reaching the U.S. and U.K. top ten with “Cruel to be Kind” a song he co-wrote with Ian when they were in the Brinsleys.
A year later saw the world-wide release of Ian’s second album, What a Blow, which was once again produced by the legendary Martin Rushent whose other credits had by then included Shirley Bassey, The Stranglers, The Buzzcocks and The Human League. The subtly titled Ian Gomm Band embarked on a succession of European tours topping the bill at many major events.
One of Ian’s old Brinsley songs “It’s Been So Long” was reworked in 1981 by Dave Edmunds on his Twangin’ album.
U.K. recognition, however, still eluded him and in 1982 his third album, The Village Voice, was released. Phil Everly of Everly Brothers’ fame covered Ian’s song, “Louise”, from this album and promptly scored his first solo hit.
It was at this time Ian co-wrote the instrumental “Carrillon” with Herbie Flowers, the bass player who had played on most of Ian’s solo recordings. Herbie had just formed a classical “super group” Sky with guitarist John Williams and this track appeared on their debut album, Sky, whose sales soon went Platinum and still sells well to this day.
Ian’s continuing popularity in Holland led to the Dutch release of his self-produced fourth album, What Makes a Man a Man?, in 1986. This was recorded in Ian’s own home studio with additional studio re-mixing in Holland. It proved to be so successful that it was then released throughout Europe this time re-titled Images.
Ian then spent the next few years writing new songs and finishing the building and wiring of yet another recording studio, this time on top of a Welsh mountain and cunningly called Mountain Sound Studio. After years of producing and engineering there he was finally lured back into recording his songs again. It was here he recorded his Crazy for You album, which was released worldwide in 1997 on the Japanese MSI label.
The song “Cruel to Be Kind”, which he co-wrote with Nick Lowe back in their Brinsley days has been featured in three recent American film releases: Dead Man’s Curve (Mount Royal) in 1998, 200 Cigarettes (Lakeshore) and Ten Things I Hate About You (Touchstone) in 1999. It also has been featured on numerous ‘70s’ compilation CDs in both Europe and America.
Ian was back at Mountain Sound Studio in mid-Wales in 2000 laying down twelve new backing tracks for his latest album, Rock ‘N’ Roll Heart. Two Nashville musicians, Jeff “Stick” Davis, The Amazing Rhythm Aces’ bass player, and Pat McInerney, drummer with The Blue Moon Orchestra, Nanci Griffith’s band, both flew over from the States especially for the project. Ian then flew back to Nashville, Tennessee, in November 2000 where the rest of the album was recorded and mixed. Russell Smith, The Amazing Rhythm Aces’ singer and Nanci Griffith are both featured singing with Ian whilst Clive Gregson who used to be in Any Trouble and The Richard Thompson Band for many years and who now lives in Nashville plays most of the electric guitar and keyboards. The other musicians featured are top Nashville session players like Ronnie McCoury, James Hooker (Nanci’s MD), Joey Misculin, Michael Snow, Brook Langton, Chas Williams and Michael Webb. Ian’s girl backing singers were “The Chiclets” (Cathryn Craig and LeAnn Etheridge). The engineer in charge of recording and mixing was David “Fergie” Ferguson who has worked with the Johnny Cash for many years, and who only recently finished the recording and engineering of Johnny’s last album, Cash.
August 2002 saw Ian’s first chart topping song writing success when “Cruel to Be Kind” was this time covered by Spanish teen idol Naim Thomas and was Number One in the Spanish singles charts.
In October 2002 a UK record label, Hux Records, released Ian’s first live CD titled 24 Hour Service. (This was a 1979 concert recorded in San Francisco while his band was on their second US tour.)
To date Ian Gomm has recorded ten solo albums and twelve solo singles. He has also recently branched out into the lucrative British football club record market using a number of cunning pseudonyms and notching up tracks on twelve different football supporters club CDs including the Scottish World Cup Anthems (also featuring Rod Stewart) and the latest Manchester United supporters club CD where he appears as Red Deville!