Brummel, Slegr, Wick, Galvez, Shane
|Origin||Pasadena, California, United States|
|Genres||Alternative rock, power pop, indie pop, pop punk|
Kung Fu Records|
About a Girl Records
|The Rentals, Weezer, Sanglorians|
Katherine Kieckhefer (1996-1998)|
Patrick Edwards (1995-2004)
Ozma is an American rock band from Pasadena, California. The band's sound is a mix of nostalgic new wave-influenced power pop and contrapuntal Casiotone-driven melodies sustained by heavy guitar riffs. Since their formation in 1995, Ozma has released five studio albums and toured the U.S., Japan and Canada more than thirty times, including extensive touring with stylistically similar groups including Weezer, Nada Surf, Rilo Kiley, Superdrag, The Rentals, The Get Up Kids, Piebald, Saves The Day, Asian Kung-Fu Generation, and Rooney.
Ozma was formed in September 1995 by Ryen Slegr (vocals/guitar), Jose Galvez (guitar/vocals), Patrick Edwards (drums) and Daniel Brummel (vocals/bass), when Brummel was introduced to the others by Galvez, whom he met on AOL while looking for a band to join. In 1996, the still-unnamed band were joined by Katherine Kieckhefer on keyboards, before deciding on the name "Ozma" (taken from the L. Frank Baum books on the drummer's mother's bookshelf) in 1997, and in 1998 were joined by expert keyboardist Star Wick, who replaced the departing Kieckhefer. After their early 4-track cassette demos Cuatro and Ocho were well received by friends, they released Songs of Inaudible Trucks and Cars in early 1999, a collection of demos and live tracks, released on home-made CD-Rs and later republished on MP3.com as Songs of Audible Trucks and Cars (due to a character restriction). They then self-released what is considered their first "proper" studio album,Rock and Roll Part Three, on January 1, 2000. This consisted of "a few thousand" (estimated by Brummel) CDs manufactured by their own label, Tornado Recordings. During these early years, Ozma "played almost anywhere in the California state area," garnering a strong regional following.
Ozma's first real break came in 2001, when they were selected to tour with Weezer. In preparation for the "Yahoo! Outloud Tour," Weezer asked their fans to vote for an opening act via their web site, and the bands who received the most votes were Ozma and 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 danceable atmosphere.
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 the 2001-4 period, Ozma toured the US numerous times, with bands such as Nada Surf, Superdrag, Piebald, The Format, and Rilo Kiley.
On July 23, 2004, Ozma announced that they had disbanded, citing deteriorating relationships between band members. Daniel Brummel moved to New York City to pursue a more folk-heavy style and released his debut 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. On January 9, 2006, Ozma announced that the band had reunited--without Edwards--to play new shows, new songs, and put out new records. During July and August 2006 the band joined 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 with the band Hellogoodbye.
On May 15, 2007, the band released their fourth studio album, Pasadena (after their hometown of Pasadena, CA), through About a Girl Records. 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), and Eric Summer (Get Set Go). Allmusic referred to Pasadena as "the strongest work of their careers," rating it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
In 2012, Ozma performed on the inaugural Weezer Cruise, alongside Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh. Then, in late 2013, Ozma held PledgeMusic campaign to fund their unnamed fifth album. Their goal was exceeded, and Boomtown was released digitally on February 11, 2014. Immediately following the digital release, Ozma joined Weezer, Cat Power, The Orwells, DIIV, and Adam Devine on the second Weezer Cruise, being the only band aside from Weezer to perform on both cruises.
Ozma's song "Korobeiniki" was featured in Kick-Ass 2.
A person in the crowd in the film Napoleon Dynamite can be seen wearing an Ozma t-shirt.
|1998||"Lorraine" b/w "Los Angeles"||Self-released cassette single of Ozma's earliest recordings.|
|2001||"Domino Effect" b/w "Apple Trees"||Promotional radio-only single released by Kung Fu Records, never commercially available.|
|2002||"Korobeiniki"||UK 7" single, b/w "The Business of Getting Down". Only 1,000 copies produced, by small UK label Falsetto Records who procured the rights for a one-off release.|
|2014||"Nervous"||Boomtown single from Pledge Music.|