Torgo! is a five piece indie band from Amarillo, Texas. They started in 2005 while the members were all still in high school. The band started with friends Blake Talley (keys, lead singer) and Ike Whitehead (guitar). They would cover songs from the Blue Album and stay up all night writing and improvising. Blake had won a giant 2-story playhouse from the local mall that was in his backyard, which they set up as a band jam house. Every weekend the two would invite over different local musicians to jam and improvise with. After a couple years the original members of Torgo! were solidified, and the group began doing shows all around the area. The first show was at a public library under the name iYeti. The first major show under the Torgo! moniker was for the annual John Lennon Songwriting Contest, where Torgo! was the crowd favourite and gave an incredible opening performance. The group recorded their first album in 3 days live in a local music store owner's living room, and called the album Economics. Keyboardist/guitarist and lead singer Blake Talley mixed the album with friend Matt Horsley in one night.
For the next album, the band had graduated from high school and decidedly got very serious about the music. Lead singer Blake Talley decided to switch from a rhythm guitar to playing his first instrument, keyboards, using a double stack keyboard/microphone setup. Every member of the band began to get progressively better, with Kody Miller and Andy Whitehead practicing daily to get into some of America's most prestigious music schools. The sound of the band began to grow dynamically and as the group explored new and exciting musical territories. They began writing the material for their new album in the summer of 2007, playing the music in local coffee shops, hookah bars and many other various venues (including television appearances and battle of the bands). By 2010, the band had finished their album.
The new Torgo! album Choose Your Own Adventure is an epic concept album with a total run time of 1 hour and 10 minutes. It took the band over 3 years to record, mix and produce. It is a concept album with no specific storyline but referencing the nostalgia of the computer and video games of the late 80's and early 90's. Embedded in the lyrics there are dozens of references about Lucasarts point and click graphic adventure games like the Monkey Island series, Loom, Day of the Tentacle, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, and more. There are also references to Quest for Glory, Mortal Kombat, Donkey Kong, Master Blaster and more. The album ends with the line "Turn off your computer and go to sleep!" sung over and over to reference the ending of The Secret of Monkey Island.
The artwork on the album is created by guitarist Ike Whitehead, who does much of the art for Torgo! including the cover for the first album, poster and sticker designs, fliers, and more. The front and back covers for Choose Your Own Adventure are a reference to the concept of the album, showing what would be a screen shot from a wide screen short film that would be based on the album. It displays a young boy, Jonas, sitting in front of a classic PC from the early 90's with the Torgo! logo (also designed by Ike Whitehead) shining on the monitor. Many characters from the computer games and video games referenced in the lyrics of the album are crowding around the monitor, hiding in the shadows.
The album was originally written to accompany a series of short films by Blake Talley about a teenager in the late 80's who lets loose a cast of colourful characters from the inside of a computer game box and has to recapture all of them. Each song would have accompanied a differently stylized short. However, although most of the script was written, the films were never made as a result of the album taking so long to record.
Many have called their sound "progressive indie" and "indie fusion", as Torgo! takes influence from many modern indie bands such as Midlake, The Flaming Lips and The Walkmen, as well as many classic rock and New Wave bands such as The Cars, Talking Heads and Yes. There is much use of solos (synthesizer, guitar, drum and bass) and the live shows are full of energy, improvisation and exciting visuals that are projected behind or next to the band.
Blake Talley-keys, vocals
Jud Siewart-bass (live)
past members include:
Grant McDivitt (bassist on the albums)
Matt Horsley (bass, additional keys)
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