Last updated: 03/18/2008 12:00:00 PM
SAMIAM formed in 1988 out of the ashes of various East Bay punk rock bands. Guitar player Sergie played drums for Gilman Street regulars The Sweet Baby Jesus. Second guitar player, James, had been in the legendary Social Unrest. The group was rounded out by Martin on bass, and Jason on vocals, both of whom had been in Maximum Rock'n Roll favorites Isocracy. Mark Mortinsen was the drummer for the first couple years of Samiamcs existence. The group recorded a 7" for local independent label Lookout Records.
Soon after that, Nicky Garret of the UK Subes fame released Samiam's self titled debut album on his New Red Archives label. The band toured Europe and the United States with Ultraman and Snuff, and started to develop a small but enthusiastic following. The next couple of years saw Samiam release the albums Soar and Billy, as well as undergo some lineup changes. Dave Ayer replaced Mark on drums when Mark moved to Hawaii to attend college. The band continued to tour both Europe and the US regularly, and also released a number of EP's and singles on various independent labels. During the firs years of the 1990's, the Bay Area punk rock scene attracted an increasingly large amount of attention both nationally and abroad. This trickle of intrest turned into a flood when local favorites Green Day became hugely popular after Warner Brothers released their major label debut Dookie. Many major labels began signing Bay Area punk bands, and Samiam was caught up in the frenzy that followed Green Day's success.
In 1994, Samiam released the album Clumsy on Atlantic Records, with Aaron Rubin replacing Martin on bass and Victor Indrizzo taking over the drum duties. The group toured steadily for most of that year and the next. During this time, Samiam played with bands as Green Day, Bad Religion, the Circle Jerks, the Toadies, the Goops, the Supersuckers, and Texas is the Reason, and also played a number of dates on the Warped Tour. Clumsy was moderately successfull, selling more that any previously released Samiam album, and attendance at the band's shows continued to grow. However, Clumsy was not the huge success that Atlantic was looking for. After recording the follow up to Clumsy with new drummer MP, Samiam was dropped from the Atlantic rooster. With a new record in the can, the group hoped to secure another record deal. Unfortunately, Atlantic made it very difficult for Samiam to find a new label.
Atlantic didn't want to release the record themselves, but they seemed unwilling to allow any other label to do so either. The band spend most of 1996 in an unwilling, major label imposed limbo. Luckily, just when Samiam's future looked most uncertain, Atlantic finally came around. BURNING HEART RECORDS from Sweden negotiated to release the new Samiam album "You Are Freaking Me Out", this summer in Europe, Australia and Japan. Samiam will be traveling to Sweden in June to play a number of dates including the festival in Hultsfred, and returned to Europe in the fall to do a full European tour.
in 1998, SAMIAM has through the critically acclaimed album "You Are Freaking Me Out", and a succesfull european tour established themselves on a foundation to build on. In the US, SAMIAM is now contracted to Iginition Records (sub-label to Tommy Boy) and has just released "You Are Freaking Me Out" in the US. The band is really hot "over there", due to an american tour supporting GREEN DAY (which they also supported on a Japanese tour recently), the good reviews on the album and a subctancal airplay on the so important US radio. No matter what: after nearly ten years of recording and touring, and despite numerous of setbacks, Samiam continues to make and play the music they love.