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Giant Sand

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Tucson, Arizona, USA (1985 – present)

Giant Sand, originally The Giant Sandworms, is an American band formed in 1985, based in Tucson, Arizona, USA (although Los Angeles, California was its home for many years). Overseen by singer-songwriter-guitarist-pianist Howe Gelb, its membership has shifted over the years — at times with each album — though for a long while the drum and bass duties were handled by John Convertino and Joey Burns, who went on to form Calexico. Other members have included guitarist Rainer Ptacek, keyboardist Chris Cacavas (of Green on Red), bassist Paula Jean Brown (a late-period Go-Go, and married to Gelb at the time) and drummer Tom Larkins (afterward a Jonathan Richman sideman). Guest artists — though it is hard to tell at times where the band leaves off and the guests begin — have included Victoria Williams, Neko Case, Juliana Hatfield, PJ Harvey, Vic Chesnutt, Steve Wynn, Vicki Peterson, Rainer Ptacek, Tom Larkins, Scott Garber, nearly all of Poi Dog Pondering and regular cameos from Gelb and Brown’s daughter, Indiosa Patsy Jean. Actual members of the band, including Gelb, are: Thøger T. Lund, Anders Pedersen and Peter Dombernowsky.

Side projects, which are more extensions of than alternatives to Giant Sand, include the country-oriented The Band of Blacky Ranchette, OP8 (a collaboration with Lisa Germano), and Gelb’s solo albums. Guests on Blacky Ranchette albums have included Lucinda Williams, Kurt Wagner (of Lambchop) and Chan Marshall.

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