|Eraserhead - Grass Valley,
by Hotbands Editor - Pat Ferris
series of advertising campaigns to gain content for our site, I've had numerous responses
from bands wanting to be reviewed, but restriction of time means that something about the
bands chosen caught my eye and ear.
formerly from Los Angeles and now residing in Grass
Valley, CA, caught my attention from the sheer numbers of songs (over 200) on 7
albums, and the aggressive pursuit of downloadable recordings.
Eraserhead founder, Randy Hansen (not to be confused with Randy Hansen from Seattle) understood the ability to
reach millions via the free means available on the internet, and has thousands of hours of
effort to successfully market his band.
Randy contacted me regarding an advertisement I posted for
emerging artists, and after a two-month waltz of send and reply emails, we were able to
finally get together on ICQ and have a live
interview. Here's what he had to say:
<Hotbands> How long has Eraserhead been together? Since
you and Stella are a pair, I'm assuming that you two started the band?
<Eraserhead> We started out in 1989. Well actually I started the band with Peter
Maligo and Steve Kelly who lived below him and then got Stella interested in singing.
<Hotbands> So you met Stella through the band?
<Eraserhead> No we had already been together for about
8 years before I started the Music Project.
<Hotbands> Were you a closet musician before that?
<Eraserhead> Yes and until I bought my first four track
a complete hermit.
<Hotbands> Now, after 10 years, how many albums and how many songs have you
<Eraserhead> We have 7 CD's and around 200 songs and
probably 3 or 4 DAM CD type with the new mp3 type format on the internet.
<Hotbands> I'll be hosting MP3's soon enough here and would love to have your
music for sale on our site.
<Eraserhead> I would like that and have most the stuff on mp3.com at this point.
<Hotbands> I took a listen to some of the songs on
MP3.com and really liked what I heard. Does your band tour often these days or are you
focusing on recording?
<Eraserhead> We have been recording most the time and only played a few gigs in Los
<Hotbands> You are from Grass Valley?? Don't you play
gigs in Sac?
<Eraserhead> No, Since we relocated and the main guitar Jamie Harrison has been back
East with his ailing mother we have just been writing new ideas. I finally started to
reform the band in the last 3 months with the addition of Julian Imsdahl and Spencer Legs.
<Hotbands> So, since neither me nor the readers are
familiar with the who's who of Eraserhead, tell us who the current line-up is, when they
joined, how they came into being, etc.
<Eraserhead> Well, there's:
- "Stella Starr" who does the lead vocals and
percussion. She has been in the band since the beginning. Her style has been the outline
....so to speak of the bands future.
- Then, Myself "Randy Hansen" aka "Mick" I
play Guitar and Synth and some vocals. I started the band and have basically done most the
recording and probably 80% of the writing of material.
- Next is "Jamie Harrison" He is from Tennessee and in
my estimation is one of the best Guitarist I've ever seen. I have seen Jimi Hendrix, Eric
Clapton, Jeff Beck, etc.....He has sort of evolved in and out of the band twice and
hopefully he will come back up to Grass Valley in the first of next year to complete the
- Then, there is is "Julian Imsdahl" He lives in Grass
Valley and is also in "Legs on Earth" a local band that plays quite a lot in Sac
and he plays bass for them and is the lead vocal. They should be signed soon as their
progressive rock is a total new sound. In Eraserhead he is doing some lead and rhythm
guitar, bass and vocals. He is young but very professional.
- Last but not least, is "Spencer Legs" our new
Drummer and he is a great 4-4 drummer that keeps us together.
<Hotbands> so you have 3 guitarists?
<Eraserhead> Yes but I usually only do Synth cause my guitar is hooked to a GR-1 and
so I can't do Rhythm or Lead.
<Hotbands> so you don't play keyboard synth...you play guitar synth?...or both?
<Eraserhead> It is a Roland Synthesizer that has a
pickup on my guitar that changes the guitar into any type of instrument such as Piano,
Organ, Sax etc. We had a moog but we have traded it for other goodies.
<Hotbands> How long ago did you relocate to Grass
Valley, and what spawned the move north from Los Angeles?
<Eraserhead> Its been almost 4 years... I was really
ready to find a place in the mountains to get some fresh air and slow my life style down.
I visited Nevada City on "Joe Cain Day" a local parade in February of 89 and
fell in love with the area. Its funny we were almost signed when I left LA and I left
anyway. My priority was not making money in music. I was more interested in playing
something I would like to listen to. Our band was serious but things happen as far
as making money and paying the rent and also a business venture came up that worked with
<Hotbands> I think a LOT of bands out there can relate
to that one!
<Hotbands> Earlier, you were mentioning that some of Stella's photos were shot at
Stevie Nicks' house. was that her dress too?
<Eraserhead> The dress was Stella's but it was the same
color and style of Stevie's. We had over 700 shots taken in the session and probably 680
looked good. We met Herbert Worthington Jr. (the photographer that lived with Stevie
Nicks) at a party that Mic Fleetwood was having up in the hills one night.
<Hotbands> ...okay...so how did you get to know Mick
<Eraserhead> Thats a tough question as we used to go to
the "Rainbow Bar & Grill" and every night there were big parties after
hours. Probably met most everyone somewhere.
<Hotbands> A lot of bands these days are signing off to
making it thru the record companies, and are out doing it themselves thru sites like this
one and MP3.com where they can be heard, reviewed, and found and sell their CD's or DAM
CD's right through the internet.
<Eraserhead> Well the Internet is the future and I think we started the band because
there was so much bad music on MTV, and the radio's were playing music that
lacked talent. We wanted to show that its sometimes good to have more then 3 chords in a
song. The Dam CD's, MP3.com, Your site, and others like it are the future, because any
band that wants to be creative and reach millions of people all over the world can do it
through this format. The big business record companies are dinosaurs and are soon to
be re-vamped. If your only looking for the money then you will probably not find it as
creative musicians are not in it for the money.
<Hotbands> I think there must be some trade off...
creative musicians not being in it for the money at all means they have to spend their
time doing something else like bagging groceries or raking leaves....
<Eraserhead> Well the money follows if the talent is there or a hook is there and
the public likes what you are doing. Its true that if you don't have any money you can't
play at all with no instrument.
<Eraserhead> I see a lot of good musicians now uploading for free to let the
public see more good music.
<Hotbands> So do you see Eraserhead on any type of tour schedule during the summer
of 2000? There are a lot of festivals all over the country that are happening, and I'm
being contacted by several to scout for up and coming artists. I always pitch a band I
<Eraserhead> At this point we would love to go on tour in the summer of next year.
If I can find where Jamie Harrison is hiding and he calls me then we will be touring in
the summer. The reason I would like him is that he and I can write 2 songs an hour for
days and we click exactly together and that is the core of Eraserhead. Stella's vocals
then just set off our music.
<Hotbands> How many more albums do you have in the works right now?
<Eraserhead> I would say we have about 3 albums already
to be done once we get the artwork together and will probably be out in the next 6 months.
I have slowed down in putting them on the internet as its better to spread your music out
a little or it gets lost in the shuffle.
<Hotbands> bringing your total number of albums to 10?
<Eraserhead> Yes that would be 10. "The Monsters Back" is the newest we
are working on.
<Hotbands> Do you have anything you would like to pass on as advice for struggling
musicians that are looking to make it? Any words of encouragement?
<Eraserhead> Well first off don't let someone talk you into going into a studio (24
track) and spend thousands of dollars for a demo. You can make great recordings nowadays
with simple 8 track or even 4 track and then burn your own cd's. Get on Hotbands.com and
other music promotion sites and expose your band to the public. Build a website and
keep making mirrors of the site and add each to every search engine on the net. Try a
couple of local radio stations with a 2 or 4 song demo CD to play and get some airtime.
Save your money do the promotion yourself.
<Hotbands> I think that those are all words of wisdom from someone that has already
gone down the paths you are warning of?
<Eraserhead> Well actually I spent thousands of dollars on equipment and a walk in
/lockout studio but I do know alot of industry people and listen to what they say.
<Hotbands> Anything else you want to add?
<Eraserhead> Well maybe a plug to listen to our song "Eat it Up", the
newest song and our standbys "Yellow Fever", "Ride Me" these can all
be heard at http://www.mp3.com/eraserhead