I’m always curious to view how the national press responds to San Diego bands. For example, this July, when Kris Keyes dressed as his alter-ego Nomad the Painted Man and roamed the streets around Comic-Con, he was a photojournalist’s home run for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and ABC News. And why not? As Nomad, Keyes is a cartoon character of his own design, spending hours applying layers of neon body paint that swirl across his chiseled torso like a psychedelic vision.
Keyes says he spent time living alone in a cave in India, meditating on the possibilities. He is a paradox, a stage-raging contradiction, because what comes out of him is refined and complicated. And in this way, Nomad is the only possible choice for lead vox and frontman for the hometown hard-rock/metal band Dive Bomber. “Nerds, geeks, and freaks,” Nomad half-raps in “Reject’s Complaint.” “I never fit in.” For the most part, you could say the same for his band.
Dive Bomber got started around 2006, when guitarist Catfish and drummer Toad (they all use pseudonyms in this band) got tired of whatever groups they’d been playing in and launched something new. A couple of membership changes led to the present lineup with Nomad in front and Pane on bass. As a collective, Dive Bomber creates moments where the majority of metal acts would ratchet up to the loudest their amps will allow and leave the levels set on high all night. Dive Bomber is seasoned and solid enough that the musicians avoid that amateur trap. They’ve got something else going on. I’ve never been able to put my finger on it, but whatever it is, the band surely gets more show love from audiences abroad than here. Consider their coming hometown gig an early Christmas present.