Ozma (band)

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Ozma Pledge Music Campaign Photo.jpg
Brummel, Slegr, Wick, Galvez, Shane
Background information
Origin Pasadena, California, United States
Genres Alternative rock, power pop, indie pop, pop punk
Years active 1995–2004
Labels Kung Fu Records
About a Girl Records
Associated acts The Rentals, Weezer, Sanglorians[1]
Members Ryen Slegr
Daniel Brummel
Jose Galvez
Star Wick
Kenn Shane
Past members Katherine Kieckhefer (1996–1998)
Patrick Edwards (1995–2004)

Ozma is an American rock band from Pasadena, California. The band's sound is a mix of nostalgic new wave–influenced power pop and contrapuntal Casiotone-driven melodies sustained by heavy guitar riffs. Since their formation in September 1995, Ozma has released five studio albums and toured the U.S., Japan, and Canada more than thirty times, including extensive touring with stylistically similar groups including Weezer, Nada Surf, Rilo Kiley, Superdrag, The Rentals, and Rooney.


Early years (1995–2000)[edit]

Ozma was formed in 1995 by Ryen Slegr (vocals/guitar), Jose Galvez (guitar/vocals), Patrick Edwards (drums) and Daniel Brummel (vocals/bass), when Brummel was introduced to the others by Galvez, whom he had met on the internet while looking for a band to join. In 1996, the still-unnamed band were joined by Katherine Kieckhefer on keyboards, before deciding on the name "Ozma" (taken from the L. Frank Baum books on the drummer's mother's bookshelf) in 1997, and in 1998 were joined by Star Wick, who replaced the departing Kieckhefer. After their early 4-track cassette demos, Cuatro and Ocho, were well received by friends, they released Songs of Inaudible Trucks and Cars in early 1999, a collection of demos and live tracks, released on home-made CD-Rs and later republished in slightly different form as Songs of Audible Trucks and Cars by mp3.com. They then released what was considered their first "proper" album, Rock and Roll Part Three, on January 1, 2000. This consisted of "a few thousand" (estimated by Brummel) self-made pressings on their own label, Tornado Recordings.

Ozma's first real break, however, came in 2001, when they were selected to tour with Weezer. In preparation for the "Yahoo! Outloud Tour," Weezer asked their fans to vote for an opening act via their web site, and the acts who received the most votes were Ozma and Get Up Kids.[2] One year later, Weezer invited Ozma to tour with them again on 2002's "Hyper Extended Midget Tour", which also featured Saves the Day.[3]

Early in 2001, the band self-released The Doubble Donkey Disc (later reissued on Kung Fu Records). With this release, Ozma experimented with the traditional Russian balalaika and the flute to create a sound they called "Russian coldfusion". The disc was split into two imaginary "concept EPs": the first five songs (including the Russian folk song "Korobeiniki", more famously the Tetris theme) revolved around Russian themes, while the second half created a more "dance party" atmosphere.

Kung Fu years (2001–2004)[edit]

Later in 2001, partly as a result of the exposure gained from touring with Weezer, Ozma signed with Kung Fu Records. Over the next two years, the label put out remastered and enhanced versions of Rock and Roll Part Three and The Doubble Donkey Disc,[4] before Ozma's third album, Spending Time On The Borderline, was released in 2003. This record saw Ozma mature their sound and expand their musical outlook, moving away—at times significantly—from the keyboard-driven, often video game–themed rock of the earlier albums. During the 2001–4 period, Ozma toured the US numerous times, with bands such as Nada Surf, Superdrag, Piebald, and Rilo Kiley.

Ozma disbanded on July 23, 2004, citing deteriorating relationships between band members. Daniel Brummel moved to New York City to pursue a more folk-heavy style. His solo record, Speak Easy, was independently released in 2005. At the same time Ryen Slegr and Jose Galvez formed a new band called Yes Dear, with ex-members of Arlo and Teen Heroes. On January 9, 2006, Ozma announced that the band had reunited—without Edwards—to play new shows, new songs, and put out new records. During July and August 2006 the band opened for The Rentals on the Return Tour, with Slegr filling in on guitar for them. During the tour, they rotated many new songs through their setlist. In September, the band announced that they would be touring the nation again in October, along with the band Hellogoodbye.

Pasadena (2006–2013)[edit]

In May 2007, the band released their fourth studio album, Pasadena (after their hometown), through About a Girl Records. The album included guest appearances by Matthew Caws (Nada Surf), Will Noon (Straylight Run, Fun), Rachel Haden (The Rentals, that dog.), Ben Pringle (The Rentals, Nerf Herder), and Eric Summer (Get Set Go). Allmusic referred to Pasadena as "the strongest work of their careers", giving it a rating of 4 1/2 stars.[5]

In 2012, Ozma performed on the inaugural Weezer Cruise, and again on Weezer Cruise 2014.[6] Ozma is the only act (aside from Weezer) to perform on both cruises.

Boomtown (2014–present)[edit]

In late 2013, Ozma began a Pledge Music campaign in order to help fund work on their unnamed fifth album. Their goal was met, and Boomtown was released digitally exclusively to "pledgers" on February 11, 2014. Immediately following the digital release, Ozma joined Weezer for the second Weezer Cruise, Ozma being the only band aside from Weezer to perform on both cruises.

Popular Culture[edit]

Ozma's song "Korobeiniki" was featured in Kick-Ass 2.


Demo Albums[edit]

Studio Albums[edit]


Year Title Notes
1998 "Lorraine" b/w "Los Angeles" Self-released cassette single of Ozma's earliest recordings.
2001 "Domino Effect" b/w "Apple Trees" Promotional radio-only single released by Kung Fu Records, never commercially available.
2002 "Korobeiniki" UK 7" single, b/w "The Business of Getting Down". Only 1,000 copies produced, by small UK label Falsetto Records who procured the rights for a one-off release.
2007 "Eponine"
2014 "Nervous" Boomtown single from Pledge Music.


  1. ^ Bronson, Kevin (2013-10-21), Sanglorians: Love Is The Speed Of Light, BuzzBands.LA, retrieved 2014-06-23 
  2. ^ punknews.org (2001-09-03). "Weezer / Get Up Kids / Ozma". Retrieved 2011-04-30. 
  3. ^ "Weezer Extends Midget Tour". Billboard. Retrieved 29 May 2013. 
  4. ^ Billboard.com. "Ozma stays on Warped Tour despite keyboardist's injury". Retrieved 2011-04-30. 
  5. ^ Mason, Stewart. "Pasadena Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 29 May 2013. 
  6. ^ Smith, Jay. "Weezer Cruise Announces Lineup". Pollstar. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 

External links[edit]