“In those days, my sisters Rachel and Petra Haden were in a band called That Dog,” Josh says in written notes from blue world. “They had a strong following in L.A. and were preparing to sign to a big brand. When I first started Spain, they were a huge inspiration to me. It was an exciting time for music in L.A. Weezer was just getting started, and this crazy scientist/producer named Tom Grimley records top bands at the studio converted into an auto repair shop called Poop Alley Studios.”
Josh continues, “I paid for the session using herbs I’ve grown in my closet. We set it up and it started raining. Tom put a microphone outside. For lunch, we were walking down the alley to India Sweets and Spices, in Fairfax just north of Pico. After Finishing the track, the Petra came in and trumped the violin in excess. There was a padded area I remember sitting in while playing. There were little piles of 16-track Aphex tape all over the place.”
Our premiere of blue worldThe lead song features, like the other four tracks, Josh’s sister, Petra Haden, on the violin. “‘World of Blue’ was the end result of a lot of experimentation with slow-paced drones with different switches,” says Hadden. “There are several earlier prototypes of this song under different titles. We stuck with this song because it worked best and provided the most appropriate palette for the beautiful Petra violin work. The song was supposed to convey a sense of the world in sadness, which was a personal feeling at the time and translates well to our times. “.
Listen to it and read Josh’s notes about blue world less.
LP World of Blue features Ken Budakian and Merlo Podlewski on guitars, and Evan Hartzel on drums. Evan and I attended the same high school, and Ken was my roommate in college. Merlo was the last piece in the puzzle. I first met Merlow in 1994. My sister Rachel Haden, who had been working with him at Rhino Records in Westwood, knew I was looking for a new guitarist for my band, and introduced us to it. Merlo is one of those guitarists who plays so smooth and easy that it makes anyone feel like they can play it. Magical game. He had an instinctive understanding of harmony and theory, which made a great contrast to the technical knowledge and prowess of lead guitarist Kane. From our first practice together, I knew he was the right addition to the band.
In those days, my sisters Rachel and Petra Haden were in a band called That Dog. They had a strong following in Los Angeles and were preparing to sign for a major brand. When I first started Spain, they were a huge inspiration to me. It was an exciting time for music in L.A. Beck and Weezer was just getting started and this crazy scientist/producer named Tom Grimley was recording top bands in the studio of a converted auto repair shop called Poop Alley Studios.
Spain played its first official gig in Los Angeles with Merlo at a club called Pan, which shortly thereafter changed its name to Spaceland. We opened for you and this dog. We’ve played in Spaceland a lot (a performance of which can be found on YouTube) and in other small clubs and coffee joints like Troy Cafe (owned by Beck’s mother), Congo Square Coffee House in Santa Monica, Alligator Lounge, and others.
At some point that year, we were ready to record our first 7-inch single, and I booked some time at Poop Alley. Poop Alley doesn’t seem to be the ideal setup for recording. The walls and floors were concrete, and there was no soundproofing. The repair area was the tracking room. The ceiling was very high and there was almost no ceiling. A steep, curved staircase without guardrails led to the loft area where the console is, and next to it, a custom-built ledge without guardrails, a queen-size bed where Tom sleeps. Also, it wasn’t a pleasant neighborhood. On the street, as I walked to my car late one night from the nearby Jabberjaw Coffeehouse, a local drunk begged me not to steal it. This is how bad it is.
I paid for the session with the cannabis I grew in my closet. We set up and it started raining. Tom put a microphone outside. For lunch we were walking down the alley to India Sweets and Spices, in Fairfax north of Pico. After the tracking was over, Petra came and twirled the violin on top of her. There was a padded area where I remember sitting while mingling. There were little piles of Aphex 16-track tape all over the place.
We remained good friends with Tom. We recorded two more songs with him the following year. Tom has recorded a lot of bands at Poop Alley. My Sisters Band That Dog, Beck, The Rentals, Rod Poole, Tom’s Waldo the Dog Faced Boy and many more. There were parties in the alley. There will be a barrel of beer. Everyone was well behaved. The most dangerous thing that happened was when Kenny Beck asked if he was a Scientologist. I remember laughter and happiness more from those parties. Not long after that, Tom closed the studio. Fortunately for us, the tapes are still around.
On those tapes are five songs, all represented here. “I Lied” and “Her Used-To-been” are released at 7″, and the remaining three have not yet been released. I can’t remember to whom I sent copies of the Seven Inch but shortly after they were released I got a call From an A&R executive in Geffen inviting me to their offices to speak.” “I love your songs,” I remember him telling me, but my boss [David Geffen] He won’t let me sign you because he doesn’t know how to market to you.
In the end, I was contacted by the company that wanted to sign with us. Restless Records has been a local independent record label and has had huge success with bands like Poison and Stryper. Their office was an old rundown house off Sunset Blvd in Hollywood and they had decent distribution, so I thought to myself, “Why not?”
This eventually led to the recording that produced our debut LP The Blue Moods of Spain.”