Starflyer 59 is an alternative rock band from Riverside, California that was founded in 1993 by Jason Martin, brother of Ronnie Martin of Joy Electric. While Jason Martin has written nearly all of Starflyer 59's songs, the band has included a number of different musicians over the years, including Jeff Cloud, Frank Lenz, and Richard Swift. The band's sound was initially identified as an outgrowth of the shoegazing movement of the early 1990s, but the band's music in the late 2000's bears almost no resemblance to that of its early days.
Starflyer 59 was signed to Tooth & Nail Records, their original and current label, after Jason Martin gave a demo to Brandon Ebel when the two met at a music festival in 1993. Shortly afterwards, Ebel contacted Martin and offered him a record contract. By the end of the year, Starflyer 59's debut album, Silver, was recorded and released.
In mid-1994, Starflyer 59 released a follow-up EP to Silver entitled She's The Queen. Fans who had purchased Silver and new listeners who were beginning to hear more about the band had begun to say that they "liked the second album more than the first." Interestingly, this somewhat angered Jason Martin, as he did not intend for the EP to be considered any sort of album whatsoever. He felt there was no reason to compare the two pieces of work to each other. Either way, the fanbase for Starflyer 59 was beginning to grow.
In 1995, Starflyer 59 released their second album, Gold. The sound was similar to their first release, while Jason Martin continued to add layers of guitar riffs to each song. Original response to the album was generally negative. Many who had enjoyed the band's debut were disappointed with the release, partly because the songs had a somewhat depressive tone and continued on for minutes and minutes on end. Eventually, people began viewing Gold positively. Sales of the album suddenly jumped and it nearly tripled the sales of Silver.
For Starflyer 59's next album which was released in 1997, Americana, several changes to the band were made. Bass player Andrew Larson departed, being replaced by Eric Campuzano (The Prayer Chain). In addition, Wayne Everett, also of The Prayer Chain became the band's studio drummer, a role that had previously been held by Jason Martin himself (although Everett had been the drummer on several tracks on Gold). High tensions in the studio during the recording of the album led Campuzano to leave the band before it began touring to support the new album. Replacing him was Jeff Cloud, who had been Starflyer's touring manager.
The release of The Fashion Focus in 1998 signaled a significant change in the direction of the band's sound, largely due to the influence of producer Gene Eugene. Where previous albums had emphasized guitars and loud rock and roll, The Fashion Focus was a significantly softer album. This album featured the introduction of keyboards in the music, which replaced layered guitars. The new sound was more pop-friendly than earlier albums, while not abandoning the signature Starflyer sound. The song "Too Much Fun" would be the band's last song in the early shoegazing style. Everybody Makes Mistakes, released the next year, continued in the same direction as The Fashion Focus.
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Starflyer 59 - I Drive A Lot
Starflyer 59 - No New Kinda Story
Starflyer 59 - The Hearttaker