Phantom Planet

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Phantom Planet
Phantom Planet performing in August 2008
Phantom Planet performing in August 2008
Background information
OriginLos Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active
  • 1994–2008
  • 2012
  • 2019–present
MembersAlex Greenwald
Sam Farrar
Darren Robinson
Jeff Conrad
Past membersJason Schwartzman
Jacques Brautbar

Phantom Planet is an American rock band from Los Angeles, formed in 1994. The band consists of Alex Greenwald (vocals, rhythm guitar), Darren Robinson (lead guitar), Sam Farrar (bass guitar) and Jeff Conrad (drums). The band is best known for its track "California", which became the theme song for the TV series The O.C.. The band featured actor Jason Schwartzman on drums until 2003.

On November 25, 2008, the band announced in a blog entry on their website that they are going on "hiatus, and will not be playing any more live shows or making any new records, indefinitely."[1] They played their last pre-hiatus show on December 12, 2008, in Los Angeles.

The band reunited in 2019, announcing that their hiatus was over.


Early years and Phantom Planet Is Missing (1994–1999)[edit]

Phantom Planet was named in 1994 after a 1961 B-movie called The Phantom Planet.[2] While still in their teens, the group played frequently in and around the Hollywood area, finally catching the eye of Geffen Records executives. Phantom Planet signed with Geffen in 1997 and released their first album, Phantom Planet Is Missing in 1998. The album did not impact any major charts. The album was followed by the release of the single "So I Fall Again" in September 1998, which was also released to promote the soundtrack Sabrina the Teenage Witch: The Album.[3]

The Guest and Phantom Planet (2002–2004)[edit]

Shortly thereafter Geffen Records folded into Universal as part of a major record industry merger, and within a few years Phantom Planet had signed with Epic Records.[citation needed] Charlotte Froom, the daughter of producer Mitchell Froom, caught the band's show at a time when the group was looking for a producer to record their second effort. Froom approached her father to produce the group, and after meeting with Phantom Planet, he agreed.[citation needed] Froom also brought in engineer Tchad Blake to work on the record.

The Guest was released in 2002. The group toured for almost 18 months both as a headliner and an opening act, and in late 2002 the band got the opportunity to open for one of their collective idols, Elvis Costello.[citation needed] The Guest got an extra boost when the record's song "California" was chosen as the theme song for the Fox Network's hit TV series The O.C..[citation needed] As a result, the record was reissued in late 2003 with bonus tracks and a new cover.

The band's eponymous third album in 2004 marked a change in both the band's sound and lineup. Ditching their radio-friendly pop rock, the band moved towards a garage rock sound. Lead singer Alex Greenwald said it was an intentional choice: "I especially loved bands, like The Beatles, that changed with every single record they made. That's been our plan from the get-go. We want our records to be like experiments. We want to have fun with the music. People can hear when you're not having fun."[4] In the middle of recording the album, founding member and drummer Jason Schwartzman abruptly left the band to focus on his acting career.[citation needed] He was replaced by Jeff Conrad, who helped record the remainder of the album.[citation needed] Phantom Planet was released to mixed reviews from critics. Shortly after the album's release, guitarist Jacques Brautbar left the band to pursue a career in photography.[citation needed] The band performed "Big Brat", the album's first single, on the Late Show with David Letterman.[citation needed]

Raise the Dead and hiatus (2007–2008)[edit]

Early on in the recording process of their fourth studio album, Phantom Planet's contract with Epic Records expired and they signed to Fueled by Ramen.[citation needed] Raise the Dead was released on April 15, 2008. When describing the new record, Greenwald described it as "a concept record. If The Beatles had Sgt. Pepper's and The Rolling Stones had Their Satanic Majesties Request, we have our 'Leader.' We're concocting it, but at the same time we're following it."[citation needed] The first single from the album was "Do the Panic".[citation needed]

On November 25, 2008, Phantom Planet announced in a blog entry on their website that they would be going on hiatus and playing their last show December 12, 2008 at The Troubadour in Los Angeles.[5]

First reunion (2012–2013)[edit]

In late January 2012, Phantom Planet announced their first reunion show, June 13, at The Troubadour in Los Angeles.[citation needed] On January 31, they announced the addition of a second Troubadour show to be played June 14, 2012. Former member of the band, Jacques Brautbar, joined them for songs at the June 13 show.[citation needed]

In August 2013, the band, under Alex Greenwald & Phriends, performed a new song titled Balisong, which ended up being on Greenwald's solo album and later released in 2019 as a single by the full band.[6] This performance did not have bassist Sam Farrar because he was touring with Maroon 5. He was replaced by Jamiroquai bassist Stuart Zender.[citation needed]

Second reunion and Devastator (2019–present)[edit]

A Phantom Planet Instagram account[7] was created on January 19, 2019, indicating that the band could be reforming. Additionally, band members posted the logo on their personal social media accounts. It was confirmed that the band played a small secret private show January 19, 2019, at No Name on Fairfax in Los Angeles.[8]

On March 18, 2019, the band officially announced "Hiatus. Over."[9] They announced their first "public" show in over seven years at Hanson's "Hop Jam" Music and Beer Festival in Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 19, 2019.[10] Before that event, they scheduled three shows across Southern California.

On May 7, the band officially released their first song in 11 years, "Balisong". The song was a reworked version of a track previously released on Alex's solo album. In March 2020, Phantom Planet announced the release of their fifth album Devastator on May 8, 2020, and their first album in 12 years since Raise the Dead (2008).[11] However, the album was delayed to June 19, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was later pushed again one day earlier June 18, as a way of showing respect and support to the Black Lives Matter movement.[12]

Side projects and related work[edit]

In September 2009, Alex Greenwald officially announced the tracks for his solo record. He posted the track listing and a CD mockup to his Twitter account.[13] The debut solo studio album by Alexander Greenwald, Yo, was released on May 5, 2014.

Greenwald has co-produced and appeared on ex – Panic! at the Disco members, Ryan Ross and Jon Walker's new band, The Young Veins debut record, Take a Vacation!.[14] He has also produced a few tracks on the band The Like's new album. More recently, Greenwald recorded with Mark Ronson & the Business Intl, playing guitar, keyboards, and singing on the album.

Alex Greenwald was a part of the group Phases.[15] He is also helping fellow band member Darren Robinson in his side project Twin Terrors.[16]

Sam Farrar joined a band called Operation Aloha with members of Gomez, Maroon 5.[17] Operation Aloha's self-titled, fourth full-length album was released on May 12, 2009.[18] It was recorded over a period of 30 days in Maui, Hawaii.[19]

Since 2012, Farrar is touring with Maroon 5 – as an additional band member – on guitars, occasionally on the bass guitar, percussion, backing vocals, turntables and providing samples and other special effects (using the MPC). He co-wrote and co-produced a few of the band's songs on almost all of their studio albums and also remixed one of their songs, which is called "Woman", on Call and Response: The Remix Album, released in 2008. On August 31, 2012 – during a show in Argentina on the Overexposed World Tour – Farrar filled-in for Mickey Madden on the bass guitar for the very first time. He subsequently filled-in for Madden on the next few shows of the tour. In 2016, he has become an official member.

Darren Robinson went on tour with the band Miniature Tigers in January, February and March 2009.[20] He toured as member of singer/songwriter John Graney's Southern California surf band The Californian, in the summer of 2009. The band then included John Graney (vocals), himself (guitar and vocals), Jonathan Price (guitar Keys and vocals), Wendy Wang (bass and vocals), Mike Hopkins (drums).

Darren has three projects, Twin Terrors,[21] Dead Honcho,[22] which has songs uploaded to SoundCloud, and Fist Fright[23] with Andrew Parker. Which currently has 3 songs posted on Bandcamp

Jeff Conrad has a project called Vibe Mountain.[24]

In popular culture[edit]

The band has opened for many well-known artists, including Guns N' Roses, Sting,[25] Elvis Costello, Incubus, Guided by Voices, Blink-182, The Zombies, The Hives, Sloan, American Hi-Fi, Maroon 5, Ludacris, Panic! at the Disco, The Rocket Summer and Paramore.

Phantom Planet has appeared on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, performing "So I Fall Again". They have also appeared on American Dreams, playing British rock band The Zombies and performing "Tell Her No" in the episode "A Clear and Present Danger". The song "Lonely Day" appeared in the television series Smallville. They have appeared in the 2005 film Bad News Bears, playing as a fictional "skate" band called The Bloodfarts. In 2005, they covered the CSNY track "Our House" for the movie The Chumscrubber. Phantom Planet also performed a cover of Jackson Browne's "Somebody's Baby" for Not Another Teen Movie. "Big Brat" was also introduced in the soundtrack to the video game Driver 3 and featured in an episode from the first season of One Tree Hill, as well as used in the film The Amazing Spider-Man. Alex Greenwald, the band's vocalist, sang a fusion jazz cover of Radiohead's "Just" for the 2006 compilation Exit Music: Songs with Radio Heads. Sam Farrar also contributed to the Hanson album Underneath, on the song "Lost Without Each Other". In 2008, "Raise the Dead" was featured in an episode from the second season of Gossip Girl and "Do the Panic" was featured on the Gossip Girl soundtrack, OMFGG – Original Music Featured on Gossip Girl. Their music has been heard frequently on television, most notably "California", as the theme song for the popular TV show The O.C., and the songs "Do the Panic" and "Dropped" in various commercials. Greenwald made an impact on the British music scene in early 2008 by featuring on Mark Ronson's cover of the Radiohead song "Just".

Band members[edit]



Phantom Planet filmography
Year Title Role Notes
1998 Sabrina the Teenage Witch Themselves Episode: "And the Sabrina Goes to..."
2004 American Dreams The Zombies Episode: "A Clear and Present Danger"
2005 Bad News Bears The Bloodfarts


  1. ^ "Phantom Planet No More?". 2008-11-25.
  2. ^ "Phantom Planet | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2020-03-01.
  3. ^ McCormick, Moira (10 October 1998). "'Sabrina' Album Hopes To Cast Spell On Show's Teen Demo". Billboard. p. 72. {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  4. ^ September 10, 2004. Phantom Planet basks in glow of 'The O.C.' Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Phantom Planet break up Archived 2009-08-15 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Headquarters Music (8 August 2013). "Alex Greenwald & Phriends (Members of Phantom Planet) perform Balisong at The Kennedy Administration". Archived from the original on 2021-12-22 – via YouTube.
  7. ^ "Phantom Planet (@phantomplanet) • Instagram photos and videos".
  8. ^ "Phantom Planet reunite, perform secret LA concert". 21 January 2019.
  9. ^ Planet, Phantom (18 March 2019). "Hiatus.".
  10. ^ "Phantom Planet Are Back". NME. 21 March 2019.
  11. ^ Bacior, Robin (March 13, 2020). "Phantom Planet Announce New Album Devastator, Share "Time Moves On"". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  12. ^ Phantom Planet (June 12, 2020). "The Devastator release date has changed to June 18th". Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  13. ^ "Possible Back Of My CD: on Twitpic". 2009-07-09. Retrieved 2011-07-08.
  14. ^ "News | The Young Veins (ex-Panic! At The Disco) premiere new song". Alt Press. 2010-03-25. Retrieved 2011-07-08.
  15. ^ "PHASES Official Website".
  16. ^ "SoundCloud – Listen to free music and podcasts on SoundCloud".
  17. ^ "First Listen: Maroon 5, Phantom Planet, Gomez Members Form Band". 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2011-07-08.
  18. ^ "Niet compatibele browser | Facebook". Archived from the original on 2011-03-07. Retrieved 2011-07-08.
  19. ^ "Operation Aloha: An Experiment in Rock 'n' Roll". Archived from the original on 2009-05-16. Retrieved 2009-05-28.
  20. ^ Leatherman, Benjamin (2009-01-09). "Miniature Tigers Recruit Phantom Planet Guitarist Darren Robinson – Phoenix Music – Up on the Sun". Retrieved 2011-07-08.
  21. ^ "Twin Terrors".
  22. ^ "Dead Honcho".
  23. ^ "Music | Fist Fright". 2022-02-07. Retrieved 2022-05-04.
  24. ^ "Vibe Mountain".
  25. ^ "Sting | News". Archived from the original on November 28, 2010.

External links[edit]