On this day in music history: September 21, 1985 – “Fishbone”, the debut EP by Fishbone is released. Produced by David Kahne, it is recorded at Sunset Sound Factory in Hollywood, CA and Eldorado Recording Studios in Burbank, CA from Late 1984 – Mid 1985. Friends since junior high school, the core of Fishbone is formed around brothers John Norwood Fisher (bass) and Phillip “Fish” Fisher (drums) “Dirty Walt” A. Kibby II (vocals, trumpet), Kendall Jones (guitar, keyboards), and Christopher Dowd (keyboards, vocals). The group begin jamming and rehearsing at the Fishers home in South Central Los Angeles. At this time, all five are bussed to another high school in the San Fernando Valley, where they meet Angelo Moore (vocals, saxophone). First calling themselves Megatron, they change their name to Fishbone with Moore as lead singer. Having a wildly eclectic and manic music style that includes funk, R&B, rock, ska and punk, Fishbone establishes themselves on L.A.’s thriving underground punk scene quickly becoming an attraction and developing a following. Fishbone are discovered by Columbia Records A&R man and producer David Kahne in 1983 when they’re playing a club. He offers to sign the band and take them into the studio. Kahne and Fishbone emerge from the studio with a six track EP featuring all original material written by mostly by guitarist Kendall Jones with contributions from Norwood and Angelo. The bands now trademark “fishbone” logo featured on the back cover is designed by producer David Kahne using an early version of the MacPaint illustrating program on an Apple MacIntosh personal computer. Original vinyl pressings have the message “THANKS MOMMA FISH” etched into the run out groove on both sides, in tribute to Norwood and “Fish” Fisher’s mother. The EP spins off two singles including “? (Modern Industry)” and “Party At Ground Zero”. The closing track “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” also becomes a major fan favorite. In spite of only a limited promotional push from Columbia Records, the EP sells especially well in the Southern California region thanks to major support from stations like KROQ and 91X, and finds pockets of support in other areas when Fishbone tours in support of it. “Fishbone” does not chart on the Billboard Top 200.
On this day in music history: September 17, 1996 – “Fashion Nugget”, the second album by Cake is released. Produced by Cake, it is recorded at Pus Cavern and Paradise Studios in Sacramento, CA from Late 1995 – Mid 1996. Formed five years earlier by lead singer John McCrea, the band release their debut album, the self financed and released “Motorcade Of Generosity” in 1994. It receives solid reviews and acclaim in the local indie rock scene, earning them a solid and loyal following. When the band are playing a gig at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, CA, they are approached by local radio DJ Bonnie Simmons who offers to manage them. This leads to the band being signed to Capricorn Records, who reissue their first album. Shortly after, they return to the studio to begin work on the follow up. The second release by the Sacramento, CA based band is their breakthrough album. Finding favor immediately at Modern Rock radio, their second album spins off three singles including “The Distance” (#4 Modern Rock, #35 Hot 100 Airplay), and their cover of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” (#28 Modern Rock). “Fashion Nugget” peaks at number thirty six on the Billboard Top 200, number one on the Heatseekers chart, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: September 17, 1996 – “First Band On The Moon”, the third album by The Cardigans is released. Produced by Tore Johansson, it is recorded at Tambourine Studios in Malmö, Sweden from September 1995 – June 1996. The Swedish alternative rock band make their US debut two years earlier when tracks from their first two albums combined for their first domestic release “Life”. Issued on Chicago indie label Minty Fresh Records, the album earns them a cult following in the US. The buzz created by “Life” attract interest from major American Record labels, with Mercury Records signing the band. The Cardigans major label debut becomes their breakthrough on a worldwide basis when the single “Lovefool” (#1 Billboard Hot Airplay & Top 40 Mainstream) receives a high profile boost when it is also included on the soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann’s film “Romeo + Juliet” (starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Clare Danes). “First Band On The Moon” peaks at number thirty five on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: September 8, 1998 – “Celebrity Skin”, the third album by Hole is released. Produced by Michael Beinhorn and Eric Erlandson, it is recorded at Conway Studios, Record Plant West in Los Angeles, CA, Quad Studios in New York City and Olympic Studios in London from April 1997 – February 1998. The album marks a departure from the bands previously abrasive noise and grunge influenced material toward a more radio friendly sound. The band hire former Material keyboardist Michael Beinhorn best known for his work with The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soul Asylum, Soundgarden as well as jazz musician Herbie Hancock. The album is the first to feature bassist Melissa Auf der Maur (replacing Kristen Pfaff after dying of a heroin overdose in 1994). Though credited in the liner notes and featured on the album cover, drummer Patty Schemel does not actually play on the album, being replaced with studio drummer Deen Castronovo (Ozzy Osbourne, Journey, Bad English). The reason for her lack of participation is that Schemel is strung out on drugs, and her playing is not up to par during the sessions. This creates friction between Schemel and the other members, leading to her eventually quitting the band. The title track (#1 Modern Rock) written by Courtney Love, Erlandson and Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins, quickly becomes a hit on modern rock radio and MTV. The album is well received by critics and fans alike, becoming Hole’s most successful release. It spins off three singles including “Malibu” (#3 Modern Rock) and the title track (#1 Modern Rock). Originally issued on vinyl on a limited basis in 1998, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP by Music On Vinyl in 2014. Along with the standard black vinyl pressing, “Skin” is also issued as a limited edition numbered pressing, on yellow and red “flame” colored vinyl. “Celebrity Skin” peaks at number nine on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
Born on this day: September 6, 1971 – Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer of The Cranberries (born Dolores Mary Eileen O’Riordan in Limerick, Ireland). Happy Birthday to Dolores on what would have been her 47th Birthday. We love and miss you!!
On this day in music history: September 5, 1988 – “Peepshow”, the ninth album by Siouxsie & The Banshees is released. Produced by Siouxsie And The Banshees and Mike Hedges, it is recorded at Marcus Recording Studios in London from January – March 1988. The pioneering British post punk/goth rock bands first album of all new material in over two years, it is the first to introduce new members keyboardist Martin McCarrick and guitarist Jon Klein who replace guitarist and keyboardist John Valentine Carruthers. It spins off three singles including “The Killing Jar” (#2 Modern Rock) and the innovative, backwards masking track “Peek-a-Boo” (#1 Modern Rock, #53 Pop) which is the first single to top the newly established Modern Rock chart in Billboard Magazine. The songs chorus quote from the 30’s Tin Pan Alley pop song “Jeepers Creepers” (written by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer), resulting in the band giving the authors a co-writing credit to avoid legal action. “Peek-a-Boo” is also supported by a visually striking music video, becoming an MTV favorite, breaking out from the channels alternative rock program “120 Minutes” into heavier rotation. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2014, with three additional bonus tracks. “Peepshow” peaks at number sixty eight on the Billboard Top 200, becoming the bands second highest charting album in the US.
On this day in music history: September 1, 1987 – “Document”, the fifth album by R.E.M. is released. Produced by R.E.M. and Scott Litt, it is recorded at Sound Emporium in Nashville, TN and Master Control in Los Angeles, CA from April 30 – May 2, 1987. By 1987, R.E.M. have steadily climbed the ladder of success, going from a having a small but loyal following in the early 80’s, to scoring consecutive Gold albums with minimal airplay. Having worked with co-producer Don Gehman on their fourth album “Life’s Rich Pagent”, the band intend to work with him again on the follow up. Gehman is unable to work with them, when sessions on Mellencamp’s “The Lonesome Jubilee” drag on for nearly nine months. Instead, he suggests they work with recording engineer Scott Litt. R.E.M. and Litt establish an instant rapport, and marks the beginning of a successful working relationship that spans five albums. Several songs on the new album make commentary on the conservative political environment of the US, under Ronald Reagan’s presidency, on tracks like “Exhuming McCarthy” and “Welcome To The Occupation”. The Athens, GA band’s fifth release marks a major turning point in their career, providing them with their long awaited mainstream breakthrough. The release of “Document is led by the single “The One I Love” (#9 Pop),which becomes R.E.M’s first US top ten hit, and their highest charting single to date. It is followed by “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” (#69 Pop), giving a verbal nod to Bob Dylan’s "Subterranean Homesick Blues”, with its vivid stream of conscious word play and imagery. The album spins off a third and final single with “Finest Worksong” in March of 1988. R.E.M. reaches a new plateau of chart success and record sales with “Document”, just as the band’s contract with I.R.S. Records is coming to an end. Unable to hold on to their biggest band, I.R.S. loses them to Warner Bros. Records, who offer R.E.M. a lucrative multi-album deal. “Document” is remastered and reissued on CD in 1999, issued in a mini LP sleeve that replicates the original vinyl album release. The album is also remixed into Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround sound, and released as a DVD-A disc in 2003. The disc also includes the music videos for all three singles. In 2005, it is issued as a hybrid DualDisc featuring the original stereo mix and the DTS 5.1 surround mix, along with the aforementioned music videos. To commemorate its twenty fifth anniversary in 2012, “Document” is reissued as a double CD box set. Featuring the original eleven song album on disc one, the second disc features a live concert recorded at the Musikcentrum Vredenburg in Utrecht, Holland on September 14, 1987. The album is most recently reissued as a limited edition (to 2,500 copies) 180 gram gold vinyl pressing on May 31, 2018. “Document” peaks at number ten on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 31, 1993 – “Last Splash”, the second album by The Breeders is released. Produced by Kim Deal and Mark Freegard, it is recorded at Coast Recorders, Brilliant Studios in San Francisco, CA and Refraze Recording Studios in Dayton, OH from Late 1990 and January – April 1993. Originally formed in 1989 by Pixies bassist Kim Deal and Throwing Muses lead singer and guitarist Tanya Donelly, the side project occurs while both of their respective bands are on hiatus. Also joining them is bassist Josephine Wiggs from The Perfect Disaster. Recorded in ten days for only $11,000, The Breeders’ debut album “Pod” is released in 1990. Selling modestly, it receives acclaim and praise from numerous musical peers. Among them is Kurt Cobain from Nirvana, who touts it as one of his favorite albums. In 1992, The Breeders record an EP titled “Safari”, adding Kim’s twin sister Kelley on guitar, and drummers Britt Walford and Jon Mattock. With Tanya Donelly busy with her own band, she does not return. Drummer Jim Macpherson is recruited, and they begin work on their second full length. Titled “Last Splash”, the title comes from a lyric in its first single “Cannonball” (#2 Modern Rock, #44 Pop, #23 Mainstream Rock). Written and sung by Kim, the quirky and instantly infectious song becomes an unlikely hit. Its popularity is aided by a music video directed by Spike Jonze (Weezer, Björk, R.E.M.) and Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon. The album spins off two more singles including “Saints” (#12 Modern Rock) and “Divine Hammer” (#28 Modern Rock). “Last Splash” becomes their most successful album, and in time is regarded as “a noise-pop masterpiece”. However, the band implodes in 1995 after Kelley is arrested for drug possession. On indefinite hiatus, the other band members turn to outside musical projects, with Kim Deal forming The Amps. Josephine Wiggs co-produces the Kostars with former Luscious Jackson members Vivian Trimble and Jill Cunniff. After completing drug rehab, Kelley forms The Kelley Deal 6000, and The Last Hard Men with Skid Row lead singer Sebastian Bach, Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin and Jimmy Flemion of The Frogs. The Breeders do not record again until 2002, with only Kim and Kelley Deal returning, along with other musicians. To date, they have recorded three more albums between 2003 and 2018. “Last Splash” is remastered and reissued in 2013, as an expanded two CD deluxe edition titled “LSXX”. The first disc features the original fifteen track album, with disc two containing the “Safari” EP, non-album single B-sides and various live recordings including the “Live In Stockholm” fan club tracks and a live BBC radio broadcast. The set is also issued as a three LP, four 10" vinyl EP set. “Last Splash” peaks at number thirty three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 27, 1991 – “Ten”, the debut album by Pearl Jam is released. Produced by Rick Parashar and Pearl Jam, it is recorded at London Bridge Studios in Seattle, WA from March 27 – April 26, 1991. Formed out of the ashes of bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Stone Gossards’ former band Mother Love Bone, the new band record their first album in just one month, Initially, the album gets off to a very slow start, languishing in record stores for many months until they pick up support from college radio and from touring relentlessly in support of it. It eventually spins off a total of five singles including “Alive” (#16 Mainstream Rock), “Evenflow” (#3 Mainstream Rock) and “Jeremy” (#5 Mainstream Rock). The success of the album establishes them among the most high profile of the grunge rock movement spearheaded by bands such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice In Chains. In 2009, “Ten” is reissued in four different editions including a remastered version of the original album, Deluxe, Vinyl and Super Deluxe edition with a bonus DVD of the band’s MTV Unplugged performance from 1992. It is remastered and reissued as a double vinyl LP set in 2014 (featuring the original and remixed versions of the album) on coke bottle green clear vinyl limited to 2,000 copies, as an exclusive through Pearl Jam’s fan club, and retailer Newbury Comics. “Ten” spends four weeks at number two (non-consecutive) on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 13x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, earning a Diamond Certification.
On this day in music history: August 26, 1985 – “The Head On the Door”, the sixth album by The Cure is released. Produced by Robert Smith and Dave Allen, it is recorded at Angel Studios in London from Early – Mid 1985. Following the UK success of their previous album “The Top”, Cure leader Robert Smith, continue to expand the bands more pop based sound (but maintaining their characteristic dark edge) begun on the previous effort with their next release. “Door” is the first to introduce new members Boris Williams (drums) and Porl Thompson (guitar, keyboards) and marks the return of bassist Simon Gallup to the band. The album is a pivotal release in the bands career as it is their first release to receive significant support in the US from both college radio and the burgeoning commercial Modern Rock radio format, as well as video outlets like MTV which increases the bands fan base beyond its small but loyal cult following. It spins off two hit singles including “In Between Days” (#99 US Pop, #15 UK) and “Close To Me” (#13 UK). In 2006, a 2 CD Deluxe Edition album is released. The first disc is a remastered version of the original album, with the second disc featuring Robert Smith’s original instrumental demo recordings, early band demos, and three live bootleg tracks recorded in Paris in December of 1985. Out of print on vinyl for nearly twenty years, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2008, and reissued again in 2016. “The Head On The Door” peaks at number fifty nine on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the by the RIAA.