The Bodhisattva Beat
Music and Life

In Nomine

In Nomine1What would you do if you won a large sum of money? Just think about that while you read, and I’ll get back to it.

In the mid ’80s, the members of IN NOMINE were hanging around in Pontevedra Spain, lamenting the fading of their beloved progressive genre. They weren’t together yet, but it would be the inspiration for forming a band of their own. In 1998, Leonardo (Nardo) Pérez, and Rubén Pérez (no relation) tried a drum and keyboard combo called Slamacis. They never actually rehearsed an entire song, but it did provide Nardo with his first real drum kit. Not too far away, Nardo’s cousin (and neighbor) Andrés Carrera, Segundo Gonzalez, and Estebán Fragas were in a school band called Transformers. Yes, named after those transformers. They even had the costumes.

Disillusioned by his experience with Salmacis, Nardo sold his drums, and went to engineering school. Segundo had also enrolled, and the two studied together. They actually talked, and listened to music more than they studied. Andrés was at home, experimenting with a Casio keyboard. When Segundo received a new guitar for a Christmas present, Nardo bought another drum kit, talked Andrés into buying a Korg 707, and said, “let’s start a band.” He even brought his old friend Rubén in as a sort of roadie.

They practiced songs by the only big names left in prog (Genesis, Marillion, etc.), but it became clear that they needed a bass player. Chance smiled when Estebán dropped by one day. He picked up Andrés’ guitar, and starting jamming some Yes tunes. Nardo was so impressed that he began to sing along. The offer was made, and accepted. Now they just had to get him a bass to play.

They rehearsed covers, dabbled unsuccessfully in originals, and struggled with naming themselves. Andrés came up with the idea of No Name, and then incorrectly translating it to Latin. IN NOMINE was born … almost. The band wasn’t really getting anywhere, and Estebán was constantly arguing with Segundo. It seems he wasn’t so happy playing bass, and really did want to play guitar. It came to a head when Segundo and Andrés left for a paying gig with a band called Redbeard and His Girls. Nardo gave up, once again sold his drums, and ran to the comfort of his girlfriend. However, he and Estebán promised they would work together eventually.

Okay, remember the question I asked in the beginning? It just so happened that a T.V. station called Nardo, and asked him to be on a quiz show. Not only did he participate, he also won over 2,000,000 pesetas. So what would you do? If you were Nardo, you would have used the money to make your prog dreams come true. He bought brand new drums, a synth workstation, an amp, and set up a studio. After working alone for a while, perfecting his craft, he set out to bring back IN NOMINE. Segundo and Andrés had long since tired of Redbeard, and left. The only condition was no more squabbling between Estebán and Segundo over who played which instrument. Eventually, they would both play guitar and bass.

With the new equipment at their disposal, and disputes settled, the band began to take it seriously. The writing began to develop, along with the musicianship. They looked for a lead singer, but had no luck. The decision was made to have Nardo and Estebán share the duty. The tensions had not completely dissolved, and the band came close to cashing it in again. Salvation came in the form of the first live performance. August 28th 1993 is a date that will always be remembered fondly by IN NOMINE. The show in their home town of Priegue, showed them just what they were capable of.

Over the next couple of years, they wrote, played live, and recorded two demos. All the while, activity, and interest in the band increased. They also found out that prog was not quite as dead as they thought, and there was actually a community of bands emerging. This further fueled the fire, and they work even harder.

Bolstered by the momentum, they readied themselves to record their first true album in early 1997. Trouble already began before entering the studio, when Andrés announced he would be leaving the band. However, he would stay for the album. The studio experience turned out to be an excruciatingly painful ordeal. Things took much longer than expected, and the engineer was less than competent. As time wore on, he even asked for more money. At this point, the guys didn’t have the finances to move on, so they stuck it out. This money problem would continue to haunt the band many years later. To compound things, a track that was sent to Musea never arrived. This spurred the band to move to a new studio for final mixing. By the end of the summer of 1998, Andrés was gone, and Estebán’s brother Julio came in on bass. The CD was still unnamed, and titles such as “Odyssey,” and “An Elephant’s Pregnancy” were offered.

At this point, the band needed cash. They decided to go out and play “The Wall” in its entirety. The thinking was that coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the album would make it a good draw. The concept even convinced Andrés to return, but only for “The Wall.” At this point they also started negotiating with Musea for release of the album. One obstacle was the cover design, so Nardo decided to do it himself. Unfortunately, club owners weren’t as enthusiastic about the show concept as the band was. The idea was then discarded. Aside from the band issues, real life was also weighing heavily on Segundo, and he left. So, the rest of the guys packed up, and moved back to their original little (prize money) studio.

In 2000, the clouds finally parted. A new Keyboard player had been found in the form of 20 year old, Andrés González, and he fit in very well with the others. The contract with Musea came through, and “Mutatis Mutandis” (not “An Elephant’s Pregnancy”) was finally released. They also found that the band dynamic had changed considerably. In many ways it was like starting all over. However, they remained enthusiastic, and began looking to the next album. The lineup remained intact for 2005’s “Mythos.”

“Mythos” is the most recent IN NOMINE release, but that is in no way a sign that things may be over. It took four years for the first album, and five more for the follow up. So I say, look for something around 2011.

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