About Stormy Mondays - Bio by Dan Kimpel
“There are a lot of stories I could tell about places I played and people I played with,” states Jorge Otero, leader and founder of the band Stormy Mondays.
As a mélange of wailing guitars, explosive drumming, propulsive bass and full throttle Hammond frames Otero’s undeniably committed vocals, it is apparent that sometimes the most eloquent tales are told not in words, but with music.
Stormy Mondays echoes the exuberant honesty of rock and roll and its uncanny ability to cross borders, continents, oceans and generations.
First off, “Stormy Mondays” as blues fans will note, is a name appropriated from the classic T-Bone Walker song. Based in Spain, the band, whose lyrics are in English, have a global fan base thanks to the power of the technology; Jorge Otero was an early advocate. “As soon as I discovered the Internet, my first thought was “Hey! This is my radio! I can offer my songs from my website and people from all over the world can hear them!”
One of the sites that championed Stormy Mondays’ music –AMP3.com– was sponsoring the Emerging Artists Stage at Woodstock ’99. Achieving the #1 position on the site’s chart, the band was invited to perform at the festival. “An indie band with a record released on a tiny label was the first Spanish band to ever play Woodstock festival,” enthuses Otero. “We went on right before John Entwistle and we killed. We had the time of our lives!”
From the origins of their name to their U.S. festival debut, the American connection is a through line that continued in their association with a legendary U.S. singer/songwriter, Elliott Murphy. The band performed with Murphy, Otero worked as a sideman with the artist and eventually formed arecord label to release Murphy’s music in Europe.
As the founder of Dusty Roses Records, Otero became well versed in the business aspects, as well as the creative inspiration, of making records. “I then got totally sucked into the business of the label, working with a few more artists, and never found time to write. It took me a few years to disentangle myself from the business and start writing again.”
Additionally, as a musician, Otero has toured with Cindy Bullens, Willie Nile and veteran heartland rocker, Joe Grushecky. It was a performance with the latter that the boss himself – Bruce Springsteen – joined the band for a song at the 2006 Light of Day Festival, a benefit performance to raise money for the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation and the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association.
Otero’s marketing background came into play with the newest release from Stormy Mondays with the basic premise that less is more. “I thought we should write three – four songs, record them and release them for free on our site right after they were made, taking them straight to the fans. We would then manufacture a very small batch to sell. The idea of releasing EPs is very appealing to me — there’s no time to bore the listener. I want to release a constant stream of EPs throughout this year, maybe eventually collect the best 10 songs and release a CD.”
While the band’s name indicates a collective of musicians, in reality, Otero is the driving force. “There have been more musicians than in Spinal Tap!” he laughs. “I stopped counting after 43. One day I realized I was keeping about 10 musicians to fill the spots for a five-piece band. I told everybody ‘OK, I’ve decided Stormy Mondays is my artistic name, and I will play with whoever is available on a certain date.’ Everyone was OK with that, and it took a lot of pressure off of my shoulders.”
The newest songs reflect this newfound freedom and Otero’s unwavering musical vision continues. With an entrancing legacy and an immediate present, Stormy Mondays’ future will no doubt prove to be equally compelling.