Gringos taking it slow in moving into digital age

The Memphis metal trio Gringos includes (from left): Todd Park, Paul MacIntosh and Robert Gardner.

The Memphis metal trio Gringos includes (from left): Todd Park, Paul MacIntosh and Robert Gardner.

Gringos record release party with Powers That Be

Doors open at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Hi-Tone Café, 1913 Poplar. Free. For more information, call 901-278-8663, or visit hitonememphis.com

With the impending release of their second full-length album, the Memphis metal trio Gringos are going somewhere they've never been before: online.

For the first time, the band, whose members have played together in one band or another for 24 years, is offering a free download card to people who buy a vinyl copy of Pearly Gates at their free record release party Saturday at the Hi-Tone Café, with plans eventually to offer the Wrecked 'Em Wrecords release on iTunes.

"Yeah, I think it's about time," says Gringos singer and guitarist Paul MacIntosh of the band's belated entry into the digital age. "Hopefully, we'll be able to get some older stuff up there, too, since we got that all set up."

Gringos' seeming commercial indifference has made the band one of the most respected, if little heard, heavy metal bands on the Memphis music scene. This is a group, after all, that in 2007 abruptly changed its name from Adios Gringos, a name that had served them well for about a decade, to just Gringos, a re-branding to which many fans still have not acclimated.

"People still call us Adios Gringos to this day, but everything that we put out since then we just put that shortened name on there," MacIntosh says. "But as far as making some sort of like, press release or something, we didn't really care about doing anything like that. We just wanted to streamline things. We felt like we were a different band than we had been."

MacIntosh, bassist Todd Park and drummer Robert Gardner first started playing together in the late '80s in high school and stuck together through bands like Private War and the beloved Taint Skins before becoming Adios Gringos in the late '90s. In 2007, on-again, off-again collaborator Rob Rich rejoined the band on guitar, prompting them to say Adios to the Adios in their name in time for their Paranoid EP.

Through all its iterations, however, Gringos has remained true to its core inspirations, which range from Motörhead to Minutemen. But how those ideas are expressed in the music has changed dramatically over time.

"I'd like to say it has progressed and gotten different, but it's still sort of metal, hard-core punk influenced," MacIntosh says of their music. "When we first started out, we were a kind of generic hard-core band, and we've been kind of pushing things in different ways ever since then."

Their latest finds Gringos, a trio again since the 2009 departure of Rich, honing its sound to its sharpest point yet. MacIntosh shrugs off the four-year break in recording that preceded Pearly Gates.

"I guess that was just when we were ready," he says, "when we felt we were ready to make another recording to make something good."

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