New Mexico is calling it quits. The long-running indie rock band, which changed their name from Apes of Wrath in 2010, will play their last show on Wednesday, November 9 at The Casbah. Guitarist Jake Bankhead is moving with his family to Atlanta, and as one of the primary members in the band, that essentially means they’ll no longer be able to perform together. So before the band wraps up, they’re having one last celebration, which has been a little bit stressful to plan while Bankhead has been preparing to leave town.
“He moves out the next day. He’s got the Pods ready to go, and he’s driving out on Thursday with his brother,” says Rob Kent in an interview at Caffe Calabria in North Park. “The stress level is to the extreme. For this show I’ve got butterflies like crazy, but he’s gotta go move his family out there as soon as we’re done.”
It had been more than a year since New Mexico had performed live. The members of the band all have been involved in non-musical things; Kent became an urban farmer, Bankhead was busy with a tech career and drummer Dustin Elliott enrolled at the Communications program at SDSU. But the time away from music reminded them how much they enjoyed playing.
“It was good to step away from it,” Kent says. “It was a good reminder, ‘Oh this is why we do it! This is fun!’”
“It’s been over a year since we’ve been onstage,” adds keyboardist Peter Graves. “At first getting ready for the show felt kind of rushed, but now it’s coming together. I had to learn how to play piano again.”
New Mexico still has some new material that hasn’t yet been released, some of which they’ll be playing at their last show. It’ll be released eventually--the group has already recorded about an album’s worth of material. But while they’re not counting out the possibility of doing some more long-distance recordings, New Mexico is effectively closing the book.
“I would regret it so much if we didn’t do it,” says Kent. “I hate it when bands say it’s their last show. But the realist in me says this is it. It’s a nice bookend. One that it deserves.”