Ozma

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Ozma
Ozma-Band-2.jpg
Background information
Alias Trail Gate, Irregardless
Origin Pasadena, CA
Years active 1995 - 2004
2006-present
Label(s) Kung-Fu Records (2001–2004)
About A Girl Records (2007–2009) Tornado Recordings (1995–2001, 2009–present)
Website Now defunct website
MP3.com
LiveJournal
Instagram
Twitter
Facebook
Current Members
Ryen Slegr
Daniel Brummel
Jose Galvez
Star Wick
Kenn Shane
Former Members
Katherine Kieckhefer (1997–1998)
Patrick Edwards (1995–2004)

Ozma is a rock band from Pasadena, California. The band's sound is a mix of new–wave-influenced power pop and rock with Casiotone-driven melodies and heavy guitar riffs. The complexity of Ozma's songs grew considerably during the band's initial nine-year history. After their split in 2004, they announced their reformation in early 2006.

History

Early years

Ozma was formed in 1995 by Ryen Slegr (vocals/guitar), Jose Galvez (guitar/vocals), Patrick Edwards (drums), and Matt Herman (vocals/bass) and originally was called Paper or Plastic[1]. Very shortly after the band's creation Matt was kicked out of the band for various, mostly unknown, reasons. One of the reasons publically stated was there being creative issues between Matt and the rest of the band. Daniel Brummel, who at the time had pink hair, was introduced to the others by Galvez, whom he had met while on the internet looking for a band to join. In 1996 the band was joined by Katherine Kieckhefer on keyboards. Eventually, the band decided to change their name "Ozma" (taken from the L. Frank Baum books on Patrick's mother's bookshelf
Ryen retelling the story of how the band picked their name.
) in 1996.

In 1996/1997 the early cassette demos of "Cuatro" and "Ocho" were released and were well received by friends of the band. The band followed these demos with their song "Iceland" being the leading track on Hear You Me! A Tribute to Mykel and Carli. Later that year Kieckhefer decided to depart from the band, leaving Daniel to fill in on keyboards on the single release of "Lorraine" and "Los Angeles". In late 1998 the band was joined by their new keyboard player Star Wick.

In early 1999, they released Songs of Inaudible Trucks and Cars, a collection of demos, live tracks, and songs, released on home-made CD-Rs and later republished in slightly different form as Songs of Audible Trucks and Cars by mp3.com (the name chosen due to a character restriction). They then released what was considered their first "proper" album, Rock and Roll Part Three, on January 1 2000. This consisted of "a few thousand" (estimated by Brummel) self-made pressings on their own Tornado Recordings label. During these early years, Ozma "played almost anywhere in the California state area," garnering a strong regional following.

Big break

Ozma's first real break came in 2001 when they were selected to tour with Weezer on their "Yahoo! Outloud Tour". In preparation for their spring tour, Weezer asked their fans to vote for an opening act via their website, and the bands who received the most votes were Ozma and the Kansas City-based band, The Get Up Kids. One year later, Weezer invited Ozma to tour with them again on 2002's "Hyper Extended Midget Tour", which also featured Saves the Day.

Early in 2001, the band self-released their second album The Doubble Donkey Disc (later reissued on Kung Fu Records). With this release, Ozma experimented with the traditional Russian balalaika and the flute to create a sound they called "Russian Coldfusion." The disc was split into two imaginary concept EPs: the first five songs (including the Russian folk song "Korobeiniki", more famously the Tetris theme) revolved around Russian themes, while the second half created a more "dance party" atmosphere.

Kung Fu years

Later in 2001, partly as a result of the exposure gained from touring with Weezer, Ozma signed with Kung Fu Records, which led to a mainstage appearance on the 2002 Warped Tour. Over the next two years, Kung Fu put out remastered and enhanced versions of Rock and Roll Part Three and The Doubble Donkey Disc, before Ozma's third album, Spending Time on the Borderline, was released in 2003. This record saw Ozma mature their sound and expand their musical outlook, moving away—at times significantly—from the keyboard-driven, often video game–themed rock of the earlier albums. During this 2001–2004 period, Ozma toured the US numerous times, with well-known acts such as Nada Surf, Superdrag, Piebald, The Format, and even bands such as Rilo Kiley as an opening for them.

Trail Gate

On January 11th, 2002, Ozma—in its full and original form—played as the band “Trail Gate” at the No Future Cafe located in Pasadena, California. Ozma had recently returned from its tour with Weezer. They headlined the show with a full bill including Running Late and Up In Arms.

This was the last Ozma performance at the No Future Cafe; however, Ozma's offshoots of musical acts have performed at the club since that date. These acts have included: Daniel Brummel, Yes Dear, and a CafFiends cover of "Battlescars" that featured Jose Galvez and Ryen Slegr.

Split

Ozma disbanded on July 23, 2004. In a message posted on the official Ozma website, Ryen Slegr cited deteriorating relationships between band members which affected the "creative and professional facets of the band to the extent that no one [felt] like continuing…"[2]

Daniel Brummel moved to New York City to pursue a more folk-heavy style and released the solo album Speak Easy independently on September 27, 2005. Also during this interim period, Ryen Slegr and Jose Galvez formed Yes Dear with ex-members of Arlo and Teen Heroes. The majority of Yes Dear's recording projects were completed with Billy Burke at Loveless Motel Studio in Sierra Madre, CA, where Ozma eventually recorded their next release, Pasadena.

Irregardless

On December 3, 2005, the former members of Ozma, minus drummer Patrick Edwards, played the Troubadour in West Hollywood—billed as Irregardless (not Regardless)—opening for The Wrens. The short set included five songs from Ozma's albums, as well as "D Song". Introduced as a "new one" but was, in fact, a song from the Spending Time era that, although previously played live, had never been officially released. This song would later be renamed "Underneath My Tree" and would eventually be released on Pasadena. This sparked feverish rumors among Ozma's fanbase about a possible future reunion, particularly with the news that Brummel had moved back to Southern California. When prompted about Irregardless in 2021, Ryen admitted it was just a silly name the band had come up with while unable to use the name Ozma for "booking reasons".

Reunion

On January 9, 2006, Ozma announced that the band had reunited—again without Edwards—to play new shows, new songs, and put out new records. The absence of Edwards led many to believe he was partly responsible for the split, in addition to the on-stage quarrels between Edwards and Brummel. The band posted the following message on their MySpace page :

WE: Star Wick, Ryen Slegr, Jose Galvez, and Daniel Brummel, do hereby declare our full and true intention to reform, reunite, and otherwise reanimate the rock group OZMA. Manning the drum kit for this incarnation of OZMA will be Kenn Shane, formerly of Addison. After rehearsing and working on new material since September 2005, we will play our first reunited concert on Sunday, March 12th, 2006 at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood, CA. Tickets to this concert will be made available on January 14th, 2006. Announcements regarding future OZMA releases and tours will henceforth be made at our official website OzmaOnline.com.[3]

The band has since showcased some new songs at various shows, in addition to playing unreleased songs dating from after the release of Spending Time.... In September 2006, the band uploaded two demos of new songs they have recorded to their MySpace page. The songs, entitled Straight Flush and Barriers, were recorded over the summer of 2006 along with two other songs.

During July and August 2006 the band opened for The Rentals for the "Return Tour," with Slegr (now an official member of The Rentals) performing in both bands. During the tour, Ozma rotated many new songs through their setlist. In September, the band announced that they would be touring the nation again in October, along with the band Hellogoodbye.

Pasadena

On Valentines Day, 2007, the band announced via a MySpace posting that the newest album would be released on May 15, 2007, through About A Girl Records. The name of this album would end up being Pasadena (named after the band's hometown of Pasadena, CA). On March 17, 2007, a new video was posted on YouTube and the first glimpse of the tracklisting for Pasadena was released. Information stayed spotty for about a month while various YouTube videos showcased the recording of the new album. On May 7, 2007, there was a leak on the album onto the internet. On May 11, 2007, Ozma made an agreement with MySpace and they streamed the whole album on Ozma's homepage.

The album photos and artwork were shot at the Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena.

The album included guest appearances by Matthew Caws (Nada Surf), Will Noon (Straylight Run, Fun), Rachel Haden (The Rentals, that dog.), Ben Pringle (The Rentals, Nerf Herder), Eric Summer (Get Set Go), and Benjamin Chadwick (New Maximum Donkey). Allmusic referred to Pasadena as "the strongest work of their careers," rating it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Crabs

In 2009, Jose and Ryen joined members of the band Teaneck in a Weezer tribute band dubbed The Crabs. They played two one-night shows that same year, one being an Green Album tribute night and the other being a Pinkerton tribute night. During the Green night, they covered the Green era B-side I Do. During the Pinkerton night, they covered Waiting on You and I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams with Star Wick filling in for Rachel Haden's parts and Daniel Brummel playing keyboards. The Pinkerton show opened with Ryen doing a full electronic rendition of the Ozzy Ozborne song Mr.Crowly. Along with these shows, there exists a full live studio recording of the band playing Knock-down Drag-out in preparation for the Green Album show.

The Weezer Cruise

In 2011, Rivers Cuomo invited Ozma to perform in a music festival hosted by Weezer onboard a four-day cruise from Miami to Cozumel. Other bands slated for the cruise included: Sebadoh, Gene Ween, and Dave Dreiwitz, Wavves, Antlers, Yuck, Free Energy, Boom Bip, J. Mascis, Lou Barlow, Keepaway, The Nervous Wreckards, The Knocks, and Sleeper Agent.

On November 26, 2011, Ozma performed a show in preparation for the Weezer cruise at The Glasshouse in Pomona, CA. This was the first Ozma show in over three years. Moses Campell and Body Parts performed as opening acts before Ozma took the stage. During their set, the band played Rock and Roll Part 3 from start to finish to celebrate the album's 10-year anniversary. During the first encore, members of The Rentals including Matt Sharp joined Ozma on stage to play three songs: "Waiting", "Getting By", and "Friends of P". During this encore performance, Matt Sharp talked about a possible Ozma/The Rentals tour which sparked rumors of a proper Ozma reunion that would extend beyond the Weezer Cruise and might include a new album.

Boomtown

In 2013, following the first Weezer cruise and six years after their last album, a new project from the band was announced. This project materialized itself as the 2014 album Boomtown, an album completely funded by the fans. Rewards included lessons from band members and private shows performed at the donator's house, though it is unknown if anyone donated for these rewards. After raising over 20,000 dollars on pledge music, the song Nervous was released as a .flac single to those who pledged. Notably, usual frontman Daniel Brummel only has writing credits on three of the album's songs.

20th Anniversary's

During the next few years, the band remained silent regarding future plans while remaining active on social media. In October of 2019, the band re-released The Doubble Donkey Disc after having been removed from streaming services the prior year. On December 19 and 20th of that year, Ozma, along with the band Cheekface, played two sold-out shows at the Troubadour celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of Rock and Roll Part Three. On August 22, 2020, the band re-released their demo album Songs of Inaudible Trucks and Cars through their Bandcamp page. Later that year on December 11, 2020, Rivers Cuomo released the digital demo bundle Weezma: Daniel, Ryen & Rivers on riverscuomo.com, comprised of demos from Cuomo's songwriting sessions with Slegr and Brummel from 2014. In January of 2021, the band conducted a Zoom interview with fan-submitted questions for the 20th anniversary of The Doubble Donkey Disc. Later that same year, the band launched an official channel on the video platform Twitch, consisting primarily of short streams of Slegr on guitar. On July 9, 2021, Ozma released the live album Ozma - Live Acoustic Set - July 12, 2000 through the music distribution platform Bandcamp, nearly 21 years after it was performed. On August 6, 2021, Ozma rereleased the demo compilations Cuatro and Ocho on Bandcamp as Cuatro y Ocho.

Popular Culture

Ozma's cover of the Russian folk song "Korobeiniki" was featured in the movie Kick-Ass 2.

A person in the crowd in the film Napoleon Dynamite can be seen wearing an Ozma t-shirt[4].

A person in an MTV segment from 2005 can be seen wearing an Ozma t-shirt near the end of the video.

In the music video for the Piebald song "Part Of Your Body Is Made Out Of Rock", one of the animated band members can be seen wearing an Ozma t-shirt.[5]

Ozma is mentioned in the 168th issue of "Wizard: The Guide to Comics" magazine[6].

The song "Rocks" can be heard in the Nickelodeon teen sitcom iCarly, in the 2008 episode iMight Switch Schools.

The song "No One Needs to Know" can be heard in the Nickelodeon teen sitcom Zoey 101, in the 2008 episode Roller Coaster.

Discography

See Ozma discography

Studio Albums

Live Albums

Singles

Year Title Notes
1998 "Lorraine" b/w "Los Angeles" Self-released cassette single of Ozma's earliest professional recordings. Notably produced by Rod Cervera.
2001 "Domino Effect" b/w "Apple Trees" Named Songs From Rock and Roll Part Three. Included a ‎promotional radio edit of Domino Effect released by Kung Fu Records. Several hundred self-released CDs were given out at live shows.
2002 "Korobeiniki" b/w "The Business of Getting Down" UK 7" single. Only 1,000 copies produced, by small UK label Falsetto Records who procured the rights for a one-off release.
2007 "Eponine" b/w "No One Needs To Know" Promotional radio-only single released by About A Girl Records, never commercially available.
2014 "Nervous" Boomtown single for Pledge Music donators.

Interviews

See also

External links