Headboard was formed in December of 1995 in Petaluma, CA. The group originated as a rap duo, consisting of Glenn Rubenstein and Jeff Gerstmann. Rubenstein assumed the rap name "G-man," derived from his early 1990s BBS handle. Gerstmann went by the moniker "US Pipe," after a sign he had passed weekly on the 880 freeway when he worked temporarily transporting reels of film for a Bay Area cinema chain. The two were joined on-stage by Brendan Ducousso, who went by "Gotti," and served as an anti "hype man" who commented on what the duo rapped about. Ducousso also contributed to the between song banter.
Headboard's first show was December 19th, 1995 opening a concert at the Phoenix Theatre in Petaluma on a bill consisting of Maroon, 26 Miles Per Hour, and the headliner, Skillit. Headboard formed only two weeks before the date of the show, settling on the name only days before the concert and writing rap lyrics right up until showtime. The duo read many of their lyrics off paper while rapping over a montage of samples crafted into an eclectic mix of beats. Thrown together in the days leading up to the event, the group was selling cassette tapes of their "Zip! Plop! EP" at this first performance, tracked on a 4-track the night before.
In July of 1996 the group added a live band and began touring around California with an expanded mix of music stylings. Female vocals were added to the group to compliment Gerstmann and Rubenstein's rapping, and the musical styles mixed elements of rap, ska, funk, pop, alternative rock, and punk. At one point the band expanded to a total of 11 people–including Christine Alexander of Little Tin Frog, and Dominic Davi, who would later go on to form Tsunami Bomb, both of whom played on Headboard's first self-released CD, "Brendan Goes to College."
Gerstmann and Ducousso left the group in the summer of 1997, shortly after the group attracted the attention of A&M Records. Headboard recorded demos for A&M in the fall of 1997, produced by Trever Keith of the punk band Face to Face and engineered by Steve Krevac. In early 1998, the band lost most traces of ska and funk influence and other line-up changes ensued as the band slimmed down to six members and recorded their second self-released CD. "The End Is Near." Around this time, the group entered talks with Geffen Records, right before the Seagrams-Polygram merger folded both A&M Records and Geffen Records into Interscope Records. Shortly after this, Dominic Davi left the band to start Tsunami Bomb, taking with him Kristin McRory (who had inherited Headboard's female vocal duties only months earlier). McRory became Tsunami Bomb's original female singer. During this time, Headboard's other founding members, Gerstmann and Ducousso started their own rap group, the Suburban All-Stars, which featured a musical style more in line with Headboard's origins.
For much of 1998, Rubenstein carried on with a few new members, and in 1999 Headboard was one of the first acts to acheive popularity on MP3.com. As online music continued to grow, the group attracted offers from the label Drive-Thru Records and also music video director Marty Callner, who was in the process of starting his own label, Callner Music. Headboard toured up and down the West Coast for many months, and earned a showcase slot at the esteemed music industry confered North By Northwest.
But Headboard's biggest break came in early 2000, when they were asked to appear on the first episode of Universal Music Group's television show Farmclub.com. Headboard performed its song "See You Around" live in a concert alongside Eminem, Dr. Dre, and 98 Degrees for Farmclub's first episode, which was taped at Universal Studios in Universal City, CA. The show was co-hosted by Matt Pinfield and Ali Landry and Matt Pinfield interviewed group, traveling to Petaluma, CA to film on-location segments chronicling Headboard's history and chat extensively with Glenn Rubenstein about the band. The episode was broadcast of January 31, 2000.
In mid-2000, Rubenstein began production on Headboard's third CD, "Nothing is Static." It became clear another line-up change was on the horizon, and production began without a solid band line-up in place. Around this time, Headboard's track "Tell Me How" off "The End Is Near" was featured by Garageband.com and the website entered negotiations to sign Headboard to its start-up internet-based label.
After the dot-com crash, Garageband.com scaled back their efforts and it is unclear the specifics of Headboard's dealings with the label. "Nothing is Static" was released in late 2000 on MDFL Records (owned by Rubenstein), and shortly thereafter, Glenn Rubenstein decided to take a break from Headboard.
In late 2001, Rubenstein toyed with working on a new musical project, but instead chose to collaborate with two of his previous Headboard bandmates, Josh Gooch and Alex Navarro. The trio auditioned dozens of applicants before deciding on three new female members to help re-shape Headboard's sound and extensive song catalog: Josh's sister, Sarah Gooch, joined on bass, and violinist/keyboard player Averil Bach shared female vocal duties with Crystal Rosenbaum.
Utilizing over six year's worth of songs and lessons learned, this co-ed lineup quickly acheived momentum that re-sparked interest in the group. However, internal conflicts arose shortly after the group's recording of B-sides for the "(We Are) The Same" EP, and Headboard's final show was on February 21, 2002, in Vacaville, CA.
Glenn Rubenstein returned to his career in journalism and business development. Jeff Gerstmann continues with the Suburban All-Stars and his most recent project, Midnight Brown, in addition to writing for the popular video games website GameSpot (alongside former Headboard drummer Alex Navarro). In 2003, former bassist Dominic Davi launched his newest band, Love Equals Death, who's debut full length release is expected on Fat Wreck Chords in 2006.
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