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Oleander Biography

Last updated: 08/07/2007 12:00:00 PM

Thomas Flowers - Vocals, Guitar
Ric Ivanisevich - Guitar
Doug Eldridge - Bass
Fred Nelson Jr. - Drums

“I never set out to write a song,” says Oleander frontman Thomas Flowers. “They just happen--I pick up a guitar and they’re waiting for me.” From the plaintive dreamscape of “How Could I?” to the ominous downbeats of “You’ll Find Out,” the songs of February Son are driven by Flowers’ passion to be heard.

“My songs are predominantly warnings,” Flowers explains, advice I give myself to stay on track. For example, “Why I’m Here” describes a time in my life when I felt completely alone. I was living in a friend’s garage and was pretty much destitute.” The sincerity of Flowers’ songwriting coupled with the musicianship of his bandmates make Oleander’s February Son a striking, original record.

Oleander took their name from wild, poisonous flowering plants indigenous to Northern California--some grow outside the band’s practice studio. Through hard work and perseverance, Flowers and bassist/co-founder Doug Eldridge guided the Sacramento-based band to its current line-up. “From the first note of the first song we heard something amazing,” recalls guitarist Ric Ivanisevich. Not everything came easy to Oleander, though. It took a year of auditioning drummers before the band finally added veteran drummer Fred Nelson, Jr. to its roster. Flowers has worked for a number of years as a bus boy to make ends meet. Ivanisevich recently worked at a storage warehouse for a record chain.

In Fall 1997, Oleander recorded a 10-song independent release that caught the ear of KRXQ/Sacramento Program Director Curtiss Johnson, who added “Down When I’m Loaded” into regular rotation. After that single’s success, Johnson began to spin “Why I’m Here,” which became one of the station’s 1998 Top 5 researching tracks. By then, Oleander had already recorded all eleven tracks with producer Steven Haigler (Fuel, Local H, Jimmy’s Chicken Shack).

Acclaim for February Son continues. In a nationally syndicated show KROQ/Los Angeles chose “Why I’m Here” as a “sure fire hit” for 1999.