Caustic Truths! interview with Ozma - February 2002
A Loss of Virginity: OZMA Hits The Big O
By Kerry Donoghue
The awkward movement, the unsure approach, the quick climax...and boom, you're done. Maybe your first time was a bungled mess, but Ozma, a self-proclaimed rock quintet from SoCal, just lost their musical virginity - and it was good.
Formed in 1995 through high school and the Internet, Ozma has been involved in a kind of musical masturbation, promoting themselves through the Internet, working without a label or agent, practicing for the Big Break by playing small shows at local parties and colleges. Their determination was rewarded when the Vandals-owned indie record label, Kung Fu Records, picked them up in 2001, and re-released the remastered, Rock and Roll Part Three. A series of tight guitar melodies, backed by a quirky Casio keyboard and fluid harmonies detonated throughout the States, and the band quickly gained a nationwide fanbase.
Today, they're over 21 and their music also has a deeper voice. Recent tours through Europe and the Harajuku Musical Hall in Tokyo are just the pubes of a promising career, particularly with the upcoming Weezer/Saves the Day tour and the release of another album, due in August. Drummer Pat Edwards promises, "...some good mom-rocking fun."
Climbing the stage to play packed shows, this physically unassuming band infuses short, powerhouse guitars with punchy lyrics, (I've been cheating on you ever since we broke up/I've been dreaming about you ever since I woke up/and my hearing's disappearing ever since you spoke up."-"Ups and Downs") and the occasional Russian balalaika thrown in, all backed by extremely complimentary vocals.
Although they have come from a land full of stereotypes, Ozma differentiates from other bands. Personally, almost all of them still live at home, and each one has a balanced college with their rockstar lifestyles. Musically, they demonstrate flexibility with the Doubble Donkey Disc, which infuses Russian-jazz with rock/ They also work hard to make the band fan-accessible, through an interactive website (www.ozmaonline.com), a fan appreciation day and even by staying at fans' houses while on tour.
"We're lucky enough to have fans that might want to chill with us at Magic Mountain (theme park) or who will open their homes to us while we're out on tour," says Edwards. "That interaction is just a small gesture on both of our parts to admit that we are people and that we can occasionally just be human beings, I guess."
With their recent Weezer tours and the open support of lead singer Rivers Cuomo, Ozma ofter gets shackled as a Weezer sound-alike. But they take this as a compliment.
"We all grew up with Weezer as our favorite band... so it doesn't sting whenever someone makes that comparison. I'm happy that they chose a great band like Weezer. As our band is writing more songs and growing... the sound is definitely getting more original and I'm very happy with it," guitarist Jose Galvez explains. "I can live with the comparisons at the moment, though."
Experienced and eager, they're out of their adolescence and ready to penetrate. Favorite position?: "Side-saddle," says Galvez. "Get on it... ride the pony." We'll be waiting.