Fifteen (band)

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Fifteen
Origin USA
Genres Punk
Years active 1990–1996
1998–2000
Associated acts Crimpshrine, Monsula
Past members Jeff Ott
Jack Curran
Mikey Mischief
Mark Moreno
Jean Repetto
Lucky Dog
Chris Flanagan
John Ogle
Jesse Wickman
Joe Cable
John Quintos
Scott Pierce
Jim Prior
Lisa D.
Vanessa Bain

Fifteen was a punk rock band formed by Jeff Ott. Ott was the group's main songwriter and only consistent member. According to Ott, the band had a total of fifteen members by the time it finally disbanded in 2000: Jack Curran, Mikey Mischief, Mark Moreno, Jean Repetto, Lucky Dog, Chris Flanagan, John Ogle, Jesse Wickman, Joe Cable, John Quintos, Scott Pierce, Jim Prior, Lisa D., Vanessa Bain and himself.

History[edit]

Fifteen formed in 1991 following the demise of Ott's previous band, Crimpshrine.[1] Their early releases were similar in style to Crimpshrine, though with classic rock and pop influences which became more prominent as the band aged. Ott also began to use a more traditional singing voice in addition to the throaty growl for which he'd become known in Crimpshrine.

The band broke up for the first time in 1996, following the release of Extra-Medium Kickball All-Star. Their last show was memorialized on the live record Allegra. Ott claimed that playing in a touring rock band was inconsistent with the hardline environmentalist stance he'd taken in Fifteen's lyrics. He began performing as an acoustic solo artist and released the split album Epithysial Union with Amanda Ketchum.

Fifteen reformed in late 1998 with Ott and several members of the original line-up. In 1999 they released Lucky on Subcity Records and participated in that label's first Take Action Tour. The album featured electric versions of many of the songs on Ott's acoustic album and was a stylistic departure from the rough-edged pop-punk of Fifteen's earlier work. This line-up dissolved following the departure of bassist Scott Pierce.

A new line-up existed briefly, recording the Hush EP and the album Survivor, but this version of Fifteen did not tour. Fifteen broke up again in 2000. Jeff Ott claimed on the skatedork.org website that the anti-commercial DIY ethics of punk rock made it too expensive for him to have a band while raising a family.[citation needed]

Ott returned to his solo career for several years, releasing another record, Will Work for Diapers.[2] In 2007 he abandoned his solo career as well, saying simply that he was busy with school. In December 2011, Fifteen reunited to play two Bay Area benefit shows.[citation needed]

Songwriting and Politics[edit]

Fifteen was notable for their lyrical content and political beliefs as much as their music.[3] Ott approached political issues in a more personal, "storyteller" mode than is typical of punk rock music.[4] Fifteen addressed issues such as environmentalism, pacifism, homelessness, drug addiction, child abuse, racism and sexism. Ott's lyrics were often written in the first-person narrative style, as he himself was a victim of child abuse and was homeless for much of the band's early career. Jeff Ott is also a recovering alcoholic and drug addict.[5]

A running theme in Fifteen song titles is the "-tion" suffix, a nod to the overuse of this suffix in Crimpshrine song titles. Some Fifteen songs, such as "Run II" and "Liberation II", are often sequels to songs written by Ott or other artists.

Many Fifteen songs are tributes to friends of the band who have died, including "Front", "Chris' Song", and "Welcome to Berkeley". "Brian's Song" on the album Survivor refers to the death of Brian Deneke.

Love songs featured prominently on the first three Fifteen albums, but are completely absent from later releases. Ott addresses his stance towards love songs in the track "Liberation II", a song about codependency.

Discography[edit]

Year Title Label Format and comments
Self-Titled Lookout! Records 7"
1992 Swain's First Bike Ride Lookout! Records CD/12"
1993 Choice of a New Generation Lookout! Records CD/12"
Ain't Life a Drag Iteration Records 7"
1996 Buzz Grass Records / Plan It X CD/12"
1996 Surprise! Grass Records / Plan It X CD/12"
1996 There's No Place Like Home (Good Night) Lookout! Records CD
1996 Ooze Lookout! Records 7" (Contains only '924' and 'Landmine' from There's no Place Like Home
1998 Extra Medium Kick Ball Star (17) Cool Guy Records / Sub City Records CD/12"
1999 Allegra Cool Guy Records/Sub City Records CD/12"
1999 Lucky Sub City Records CD/12"
2000 Hush Sub City Records CD/12"
2000 Survivor Sub City Records CD/12"

References[edit]

External links[edit]