Meeting in the late ’80s while attending college in Plattsburgh, New York, the members of the neo-jam band Ominous Seapods soon found themselves at the head of a grass roots following fueled by their more than 200 live appearances each year. Just as Vermont’s Phish took their cue from the Greatful Dead’s endless touring and grass roots mailing list, the Ominous Seapods are at the forefront of a movement of newer jam-inspired, guitar dance bands (others include God Street Wine, Juggling Suns and the Disco Biscuits).
Guide to Roadside Ecology After dropping out of college the members of Ominous Seapods, Max Verna (guitar, vocals), Dana Monteith (guitar, vocals), Tom Pirozzi (bass), Brian Mangini (keyboards) and Ted Marotta (drums), relocated to Albany and thrust themselves into the local scene by constant live appearances and the release of a live album, Econobrain, on Ripe & Ready Records. More live appearances followed and the group branched out playing the east coast, southeast and, eventually, the west coast before releasing their first studio album, Guide To Roadside Ecology. They followed …Roadside Ecology with Jet Smooth Ride, produced by their friend Lo Faber from God Street Wine, an album that furthered their sound to include folk and funk.
Spin In 1995 the group reached a pinnacle of popularity with articles in Spin, the Village Voice and the New York Times lauding the new movement of jam bands that included moe. and Rusted Root as well. By building a grass roots following through tape trading and a 10,000+ mailing list, the band was able to stretch their influence beyond upstate New York, playing sold out shows in Toronto, Chicago and Montana. Combining the offbeat humor of Frank Zappa with the guitar-driven sound of the Allman Brothers, the Ominous Seapods have remained a cut above the countless jam bands that have sprung up in since the early ’90s. Although the melody lines and lyrics of the group’s three previous releases may show room for improvement, their musicianship is without question and the guitar interplay between Verna and Monteith is second to none. Recently the group signed to the Megaforce subsidiary Hydrophonic and released 1998’s live offering Matinee Idols.
Superman CurseSuperman Curse followed in two years later.
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