On this day in music history: September 22, 1980 – Geffen Records is officially established. Founded by record executive David Geffen, the label is distributed in conjunction with Warner Bros Records. It is not Geffen’s first record company, having established Asylum Records in 1970, then selling it to Warner Communications in 1975. The first artists signed to the Geffen label include Donna Summer, John Lennon and Elton John. Over the years, the labels roster includes artists such as Don Henley, Asia, Quarterflash, Aerosmith, Peter Gabriel, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Sonic Youth, Cher, Jennifer Holliday, Kylie Minogue, and Irene Cara. The label’s distinctive logo is designed by famed graphic artist Saul Bass. When Geffen’s contract with Warner Bros ends in 1990, the company is sold to MCA Music Entertainment, and their parent company Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (aka the Panasonic Corporation) for $800 million in company stock. The deal makes Geffen a billionaire and he stays on with the label until 1995 when he leaves to start Dreamworks SKG with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg. Geffen Records eventually is merged with Interscope and A&M Records in 1999 after Universal Music Group combines the labels with MCA Records. From 2003 on, all catalog and artists formerly on MCA and its numerous imprints carry the Geffen Records logo.
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 14, 1992 – “Blind Melon”, the debut album by Blind Melon is released. Produced by Rick Parashar and Blind Melon, it is recorded at London Bridge Studios in Seattle, WA from February – June 1992. The first album by the Los Angeles, CA based band is the result of a four song demo that lands them a contract with Capitol Records. A four song EP produced by David Briggs (Neil Young) titled “The Sippin’ Time Sessions” are scrapped and go unreleased when all feel it isn’t representative of the bands actual sound. The band leave L.A. for North Carolina and begin recording on their own, later hooking up with producer Rick Parashar (Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains) to record the rest of the album.The albums cover features a photo of band member Glen Graham’s sister Georgia (“The Bee Girl”) and provides the inspiration for the now iconic Samuel Bayer (“Smells Like Teen Spirit”, “Bullet With Butterfly Wings”) directed video (featuring child actress Heather DeLoach as the “Bee Girl”) for “No Rain” (#1 Modern Rock, #20 Pop). Heavy MTV rotation for the clip launches the band to stardom. The album is remastered and reissued on CD and as a double vinyl set in 2013 with the previously unreleased “Sippin’ Time Sessions” EP, as an added bonus. The original thirteen song album is reissued on vinyl both on marbled black and yellow vinyl, and a standard black vinyl 180 gram LP by Music On Vinyl in 2014. “Blind Melon” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: September 13, 1988 – “Truth And Soul”, the second album by Fishbone is released. Produced by David Kahne, it is recorded at Sunset Sound Factory in Hollywood, CA from Late 1987 – Mid 1988. The second full length album by the multi-faceted and multi-talented L.A. based band sees them expanding beyond their ska, punk and funk music roots, incorporating more thought provoking social commentary into their lyrics, clearly pointed out on tracks such as “Subliminal Fascism”, “Slow Bus Movin’ (Howard Beach Party)”, and “Ghetto Soundwave”. It spins off the hits “Ma And Pa” and their cover of the Curtis Mayfield classic “Freddie’s Dead”, the latter of which gives the band its first major MTV exposure. The album is remastered and reissued in 2012 by UK label Eastworld Recordings. It is also reissued by Asbestos Records in 2014, pressed on red vinyl. “Truth And Soul” peaks at number one hundred fifty three on the Billboard Top 200.
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.
On this day in music history: September 8, 1986 – “Bouncing Off The Satellites”, the fifth album by The B-52’s is released. Produced by Tony Mansfield, it is recorded at Skyline Studios in New York City in July 1985. Coming over three years after their last release “Whammy!”, “Satellites” is the last to feature the bands original guitarist Ricky Wilson, who passes away before recording is completed. Musically, the album picks up where “Whammy!” leaves off. One of the things that sets it apart from its predecessors, is the fact “Satellites” features no live drumming, using a drum machine throughout. Keith Strickland along with the assistance of outside studio musicians, finishes recording the basic tracks for the album. It spins off three singles including “Summer Of Love” (#3 Club Play) and “The Girl From Ipanema Goes To Greenland” (#10 Club Play). Saddened over the loss of Wilson, the band do not promote the album or tour in support of it, instead going into seclusion to contemplate their future. Originally released on CD in 1987, it is remastered and reissued as a SHM-CD by Warner Japan in 2017. Also, the 12" version of “Summer Of Love” is given a limited reissue by Rhino Records in July of 2017, as part of their “Summer Of Love” reissue series. The new pressing replicates the packaging of the original release, but is pressed on clear red vinyl. “Bouncing Off The Satellites” peaks at number eighty five on the Billboard Top 200.
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.