Hitting the stages of rock clubs in early 2004, The Gates of Berlin have quickly established themselves as undeniable force in the southern music community. This Atlanta-based five piece had risen from the ashes of former local favorites Vin Correjo. Building from an already dedicated fan base, the band set out to redefine rock sensibility. Exceeding critic’s expectations, their unique style of southern-infused rock has set them apart from today’s traditional live musical acts.
Named after the legendary “gating” technique used in the recording of David Bowie’s Heroes, The Gates of Berlin draw heavily from the 70’s post glam era. While they’ve been compared to contemporary bands such as the Postal Service and Pleasure Forever, The Gates of Berlin have also been influenced by classic artists such as The Stooges, T-Rex and the Kinks. Their eclectic musical styling encompasses everything from raw southern rock to dance-friendly powerpop. Infectious vocal harmonies, assaulting melodies and a thunderous rhythm section provide the basis for this dynamic musical experience.
As the number of their performances increased, so did the underground buzz surrounding them. News of their energetic live shows spread like wild fire, making them one of Atlanta’s most sought after musical acts. Having played with such bands as Garbage, The Donnas and The Kaiser Chiefs, they made a solid name for themselves throughout the south. Thier musical stylings have earned them top ranks in many contests such as Miller Lite’s “Taste Rock Live” Battle of the bands, as well as Performer Magazine’s ”Rehersal Space Rehab”. They’ve also won over the hearts of critics by taking home the 2005 Atlanta Music Guide award for “Best Local Release” with their debut album - Mercurius. Armed with a loyal following and a commitment to rock, The Gates of Berlin have become Atlanta’s cure for the common band.
Elijah Jones - Keybaord/Vocals
Devin Donnelly - Guitar/Vocals
James Arnold - Bass
Dave Eidson - Drums
Phillip Barlow - Guitar
Whispers From the Balcony - EP (2006)
Mercurius - Debut Album (2005)
- Hangin Tree
- The Curse The Kiss
- Don't Mean Nothin'
They Are Berliners
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Call it a blessing and a curse. While some bands play one or two songs over and over in vaguely dis... Call it a blessing and a curse. While some bands play one or two songs over and over in vaguely dissimilar iterations, the Gates of Berlin are truly eclectic. Not jazz-funk-soul-rock eclectic, but a rock act that embraces a wide variety of influences, from prog to pop.
"That was the idea of the whole band. We try to make it not too much of a conscious decision to do different things, but still have it in mind," says singer/keyboardist Elijah Jones. "I look at my CD collection and I look at my bandmates' CD collections and they're all very diverse. And I wanted to represent that in our sound."
The quintet formed nearly two years ago from the ashes of the short-lived band Vin Correjo, which Jones was in with drummer Dave Edson and bassist James Arnold. "I stopped playing guitar and picked up a keyboard," Jones explains. "Originally, I was going to only do two or three songs on keyboards, and it just ended up I kept writing songs on keyboards. So we added two more guitarists.
"I was writing songs on guitar for four or five years and I think when you've been doing something for that long, you start doing the same thing. Piano just opened up a lot more that I could do," he says.
The band is putting the finishing touches on their first album, a self-titled EP recorded with David Axelrod in Nashville, and locally with Jesse Atchison from Private Lessons. They've also spent time with Esa Leffer of Darc Studios. The seven-cut disc, fueled by a wide cross-section of styles, should be mastered by the end of March and released sometime in the spring.
"We're all over the place," Jones says. "We have a couple songs that tie together what we sound like, but we do everything from rock to Tom Waits-inspired piano songs, and then straightforward pop and art rock."
The Gates of Berlin
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MILES ABOVE, FLYING HIGH IN THE air, the Gates of Berlin sat towards the back of the plane. Despite ...MILES ABOVE, FLYING HIGH IN THE air, the Gates of Berlin sat towards the back of the plane. Despite being packed in their seats like sardines, they were living like true rock stars, trading bottles of liquor and words with the members of Skid Row. Back on the ground, their rock star lives continue. Starting in 2004 from the ashes of Vin Corrego, the five members of the Gates of Berlin got together with the idea of forming a group that drew from their southern roots but had a danceable pop style as well.
Their first full length album was released July 14 at the Drunken Unicorn to an already dedicated fan base, and more still is on the way. Titled, Mercurius, the album was originally planned as an EP. However, after working on it for over a year the band decided they had enough material for a full-length album. Elijah Jones, who commands the keyboards and sings, is fond of many aspects of the album. “Because each and every song sounds different, all of my friends were saying we should dress the same and play the same but if they want there are 50 other albums out there that sound like that,” he notes.
Perhaps the Gates of Berlin’s musical diversity comes from the band’s individual tastes and influences. Drummer Dave Edison greatly reveres the recently deceased Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darryl whereas bassist James Arnold gets the ladies with appreciation for Stevie Wonder. Musically, they all respect each other’s preferences but can unanimously agree on David Bowie, the muse for the band’s name. “Gates of Berlin” is a reference to Bowie’s skillful use of gate recording for his album Heroes, produced in Berlin. Despite what guitarist Phil Barlow describes as Brian Eno meets Slayer influences, the resulting sound of TGOB is not one of cacophony but rather almost classic rock that everyone can enjoy.
For some bands, recording could have exhausted their muse, but for TGOB the opposite happened and they already have another album written and on deck for recording. Before that happens, the Gates want to expose more audiences to their music. So they are mailing stuff out, getting a van, and playing shows like any good, hardworking young band. In August they even played in the Downtown Rocks festival with Garbage. “Festival crowds are different, its not that MJQ mentality where they are all your friends,” notes guitarist and singer Devin
words by Meghan McNeer
photos by Bob Lovitt
Don't mean nothin'
Into My Arms
You've Been On My Mind
Dim The Lights
Hope it Rains All Day
What Shakes Me
The Curse The Kiss
Happy and Healthy
Roll the Bones
There are no upcoming dates at this time.