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Suburban Legends Biography

Last updated: 04/16/2003 06:45:48 AM

During the mid-nineties, when Suburban Legends’ lead vocalist Tim Maurer heard "Turn The Radio Off," the gold-selling breakthrough record of third-wave ska-punkers Reel Big Fish, he was instantly spellbound by the energy. "That sound—that excitement, that peppiness—is just what got me hooked into Ska," he says. "That sound really made me think, ‘I can do this. I can be this hyper, I can be this exciting.’"

Moreover, the aforementioned record had unearthed the studio production wizardry of Oingo Boingo’s John Avila (production credits also include Boingo, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Cábula, The Pilfers, Quetzal), whose ear for bright horns and edgy melodies is irrefutably adept. Today, Suburban Legends, now roughly three years old and having sold over 6,000 copies of their self-produced, self-titled EP, find themselves at the bay of their own breakthrough recording, "Rump Shaker," and in the studio with Avila as their own producer. "He produced my favorite Ska record of all time," gushes Maurer. "And now I’m actually working with him. I totally respect him. I respect his ability… On the record he has been adding a thick layer of very sophisticated horns. Brilliant brass—he’s just brilliant."

For "Rump" the band will showcase a whole slew of tracks, new and old, none of which have ever been recorded before. Fans of their live set will recognize the studio versions of recent favorite "Powerful Game," long-beloved "All the Nights," and newly rewritten "Blingety Bling." The infectious "High Fives" and other surprises, of course, will top off these gems. "We’re working on a disco song right now," says Maurer. "It’s brilliant and amazing! Our hugest collaborative effort."

Now, with some bands, hearing the word "disco," in the same sentence as "we’re working on," would incite rolled eyes and pained groans, but with Suburban Legends, anything is possible. Truly, their musical scope runs the gamut of musical genres, composing a most addicting blend of Ska-ragtime-blues-glam rock-funk laced together with good old American pop essentialism. The overall effect is something like two parts Broadway, one part dancehall, one part barbershop quartet, and three parts marching band (after all, most of the band members did actually meet in the high school marching band more than a few years back), with a dash of rock and roll from every era—all danced to a Bob Fosse step and performed with the modern power of popped punk rock.

Those Fosse dance steps prove to be of heightened importance, truly, during the band’s live performance. After the "Rump" record release (one highlight of the Ska Summit 2003 national festival, which will also feature The Toasters, Buck-O-Nine, The Skeletones) on March 29 in Las Vegas, NV, Suburban Legends will launch a #-month-long nationwide tour to promote the album. The harrowing tour schedule should pose only a minor challenge: though the band is young, they are veritable stage veterans, frequently selling out Southern California venues like House of Blues, Chain Reaction, and The Glasshouse, having shared the stage with Goldfinger to Sugarcult to Fishbone, and having performed over 962 perfectly choreographed shows in the year 2002 alone.

Most of the near-thousand performances were done during consecutive stints as Downtown Disney’s resident outdoor entertainment during the summer and holiday seasons, which required the band to do four half-hour sets every evening for months. This arrangement and the band’s growing popularity amongst the nightly crowds opened the door for the band’s most public performance to date: on the main stage for Disney’s nationally televised World Series pep rally. Originally slated to underline classic rockers, Queen, Suburban Legends were informed the day of the performance that they were the only, and headlining act, with their faces magnified on a 30ft x 40x giant screen and their music amplified on television sets across the nation.

"It was just a huge amount of people," remembers Maurer. "We really blossomed in that environment. I really think that we do best under those kinds of circumstances... It was great to see people’s responses and interact with that size of crowd."

That performance was a pivotal moment for the band. Maurer recalls: "[at that point] I felt, "We’re a real band now. We’re a real act. We’re serious.’"

As seriously fun as they are seriously able, Suburban Legends are embarking on 2003 with experience under their belt and limitless possibilities in their near future. Perhaps, seven years from now, the singer from yet another groundbreaking band will be citing "Rump Shaker," and recalling how it was that unmistakable energy and infectious entertainment that changed his life forever.

For additional information on Suburban Legends:

Suburban Legends - PO Box 1026 - Orange, CA 92856

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