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, and after their split in 2004 they
announced their reformation in early 2006.
Ozma was formed in 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 had met on the internet while looking for a band to join.
In 1996, the as-yet-unnamed band were joined by Katherine
Kieckhefer on keyboards, before deciding on the name "Ozma" (taken
from the L. Frank Baum
books) in 1997, and in 1998 were
joined by Star Wick, who replaced the departing Kieckhefer. In
early 1999, they released Songs of Inaudible Trucks and
, a collection of demos and live tracks, released on
home-made CD-Rs and later republished in slightly different form as
Songs of Audible Trucks and Cars
by mp3.com. 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 Records label.
Ozma's first real break, however, came in 2001, when they were
selected to tour with Weezer
. In preparation
for their spring tour, Weezer asked fans to vote for an opening act
on their web site, and Ozma was selected along with the Kansas
City-based Get Up Kids
Early in 2001, the band also self-released The Doubble Donkey
(later reissued on Kung Fu Records). With this release,
Ozma experimented with the traditional Russian balalaika
and the flute
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
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
. Over the next two years,
the label put out remastered and enhanced versions of Rock and
Roll Part Three
and The Doubble Donkey Disc
Ozma's third album, Spending Time On The Borderline
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 videogame-themed
of the earlier albums. During
this period of 2001-2004, Ozma toured the US numerous times, with
such well-known acts as Nada Surf
, and Rilo
11th, 2002, Ozma—in its full and original form—played as the band
“Trail Gate” at the No Future Cafe located in Pasadena,
Ozma had recently returned from its tour
. They headlined the show with a
full bill including Running Late, Up In Arms, and The Fresas.
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
, and at No Future Cafe's Ten Year Anniversary show: a
cover of "Battlescars" by local hardcore band CafFiends along with
Jose Galvez and Ryen Slegr.
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
Daniel Brummel moved to New York City to pursue a more folk-heavy
style. His solo record, Speak Easy
, was independently
released in 2005. At the same time Ryen Slegr and Jose Galvez
formed a new band called 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 most recent
On December 3rd, 2005, the former members of Ozma, minus drummer
Patrick Edwards, played the Troubadour in West Hollywood—billed as
(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 in fact a song from the Spending Time
although previously played live, had never been officially
released). This sparked feverish rumours among Ozma's fanbase about
a possible future reunion, particularly with the news that Brummel
had moved back to Southern California.
In early 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. On January 9, 2006, the band posted
the following message on their MySpace
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
The band have 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 on the Return Tour, with Slegr
filling in on guitar for them. During the tour, they 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.
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. 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.
photos and artwork were shot at the Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena.
The album includes guest appearances by Matthew Caws (Nada Surf),
Will Noon (Straylight Run), Rachel Haden (The Rentals, that dog.), Ben Pringle (The Rentals), Eric Summer
(Get Set Go), and Benjamin Chadwick (New Maximum Donkey).
||"Lorraine" b/w "Los Angeles"
||Self-released cassette single of
Ozma's earliest recordings.
||"Domino Effect" b/w "Apple
||Promotional radio-only single
released by Kung Fu Records, never commercially available.
||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