by Sarah A. Peterson
You could say that music is in his blood.
“I’ve always been around music,” says Geoff Thurman, lead vocalist and guitarist of Fresno’s The Geoff Thurman Band. “My father had a deep bass voice and my sisters were singers and piano students as children. I started singing when I was five years old.”
Composed of Thurman, David Heckman (electric guitar and backup vocals), Jay Rosette (guitar), Adam Elmore (bass and backup vocals), Gavin Torgerson (trumpet and flugelhorn), Tom Wilson (tenor sax and flute), Mike Bonner (drums), and Lianna Stuart (strings), The Geoff Thurman Band has been making music together since the winter of 2013.
“I was approached by our original drummer Steven Lopez after my wife Lisa and I moved to the Fresno area in 2011,” Thurman says. “He messaged me on Facebook because he’d heard my music and was intrigued by it.”
Thurman describes their sound as a mix of jazz and R&B “molded with the unique expression of a Dave Matthews Band jam band motif.” The group also pays tribute to the likes of Michael Jackson, Al Green, Peter Gabriel, and Stevie Wonder.
The band’s members all have musical backgrounds that hail from across the country. Wilson studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, while Thurman attended Wittenberg University in Ohio before heading down to Nashville.Thurman always wanted to be a musician. “Music, for me, was an escape from a difficult life,” he says. “So I dreamed of doing what I loved as a child. I always felt it was the most natural thing for me to do.”
Originally he pictured himself as a music teacher, but the music of his formative years sealed his fate as a performer. “I was strongly affected by the music of my day,” says Thurman, “James Brown, Marvin Gaye, the Beatles and Rolling Stones. This took me on a different path than the role I was expected to take as a teacher.”
And for Thurman, song-writing is as organic as it gets. “I tend to let things stir and marinate until I know the material is something that I need to write about,” he says. “When I worked with Glen Campbell, he taught me to stay authentic and vulnerable with what I write.”
The Geoff Thurman Band has performed at a variety of Valley venues, including Peeve’s Public House and Fulton 55 of Fresno, Farmer’s Fury Winery of Lemoore, Madera’s ApCal Winery, Tachi Palace, the Clovis Farmers Market, and the Big Fresno Fair. “We’re also about to undertake a live DVD filming called ‘Fresh Takes’ at Engelmann Cellars.”
For more information on The Geoff Thurman Band and their upcoming gigs, please visit them online at their Facebook page.
Check out more local band & musician profiles in KRL’s music section.