1999 – heute (19 Jahre)
Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County, California, Vereinigte Staaten
- Adam Stacey (2004 – heute)
- Dave Murray (1999 – 2002)
- Jason Schimmel (1999 – heute)
- John Whooley (1999 – 2004)
- Kevin Kmetz (2004 – heute)
Estradasphere was an experimental band that originated in Santa Cruz, California during the late 1990s. The band, which in its last incarnation was based in Seattle, consisted of 6 multi-instrumentalists from a variety of musical backgrounds trained in disciplines ranging from classical music and jazz to heavy metal.
Estradasphere were influenced by many different artists from many different subgenres, such as jazz, funk, techno, classical music, pop, heavy metal, New Age, Latin, Balkan, Greek and gypsy. They were influenced by artists such as The Beach Boys and Secret Chiefs 3, and have been compared to Mr. Bungle, Frank Zappa and John Zorn. Similarly to Mr. Bungle and Secret Chiefs 3, the band mixes several genres in its songs. The band was a self-proclaimed inventor of bizarre genres such as "Bulgarian Surf", "Romanian Gypsy-Metal", and "Spaghetti Eastern" and sounded like "Psychedelic-Sci-fi", "Gypsy-Metal-Jazz" and "Epic-Cinema-Thon", according to its MySpace.Guitarist Jason Schimmel and bassist Tim Smolens met in 7th grade at Miraleste High School. In 1997, their band Don Salsa recorded its first album, Koolaid Moustache in Jonestown. In 1998, Jason and Tim moved to Santa Cruz, California. Jason attended UC Santa Cruz, along with Timb Harris, John Whooley, and David Murray. At that time, John, Tim, Jason, Dave and friend, Jason Concepcion played downtown among the street performers of Santa Cruz. Jason Concepcion left the band to focus on his other project Netwerk:Electric. In December 1998, Timb Harris joined the band. The band continued to play the streets and at local coffee shops.
On January 7, 2000, Estradasphere held its first concert at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center. This was a pivotal show for the group, and the band began to play clubs exclusively. Estradasphere's popularity in Santa Cruz birthed a circus environment where audience members began actively participating in the shows and fans were encouraged to wear costumes. Frequent sideshow acts included juggler and balloon maker David Poznanter, book reader George Smith III, fire-dancers Isaac Rappaport and Jessica Bottomley of Phoenix Rising, so-called "death metal cheerleaders" wearing corpse paint, a "satanic swordsman" Erin Wood, stilt-walkers and more. Perhaps most notable of the sideshow performers was someone with the stage name "Mono-Man" who wore a cape, painted his bare chest with a large M, and proceeded to attempt to kiss people in the audience while pretending to have the disease of the same name (mono). He can be heard ranting on the last moments of the band's first album, It's Understood. Poco Marshall booked many more shows at the legendary Palookaville, as he was the venue talent buyer at the time. Later that year, the band released its first album, It's Understood, on Trey Spruance's label Mimicry Records. The band went on its first North American tour, opening for Secret Chiefs 3.
In 2001, Estradasphere released The Silent Elk of Yesterday, which included new studio tracks and live performances. The band went on its second North American tour with the band Tub Ring, and released its second album, Buck Fever, in the spring of 2002. Later that year, drummer Dave Murray left the band. In 2003, the band released its third album Quadropus. Because the band did not have a full-time drummer, several guest drummers appeared on the album, including Dave Murray and John Merriman of Cephalic Carnage. In the spring of 2004, the band released a DVD of live concert footage titled, Passion for Life. It contained a full-length DVD as well as a CD that included live and recorded material. The cover featured an oil painting by Santa Cruz artist Michael Joseph Welsh, entitled Humans as seen by God last week through a Tootsiescope. In 2004, founding member and saxophonist John Whooley left the band. Tsugaru Shamisen player Kevin Kmetz and keyboardist Adam Stacey joined Estradasphere to replace him. They played their first show together as a new band with guest drummer Theo Mordey at the 2004 SXSW Festival. Later that year, Lee Smith moved from Atlanta, Georgia to join Estradasphere as the band's permanent drummer. In 2005, Estradasphere released These Are the Days, a documentary of the band's first national tour. This DVD highlighted the original line-up and circus side-shows, marking the end of an era and ushering in the present age of Estradasphere. In 2006, the band signed to New York label The End Records and released their most conceptually grounded album to date, Palace of Mirrors, an instrumental song-cycle with a psychedelic narrative structure. In 2007 Estradasphere signed with Silverleaf Booking Agency, who booked them on a Northwest US tour with The End Records label mates Stolen Babies, and completed a full US tour that April. In November 2007, members of Estradasphere started touring with Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls, as well as helping to produce her debut solo album Who Killed Amanda Palmer.
The band is on a "permanent hiatus" since 2010.
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