Thursday, June 18, 2015

LA History: E*lux

Young and Faded

If there was any justice in this world, E*lux (Electrolux, before Big Vaccuum came down on them) would have been signed and huge.

I met Kevin Bombay and Bobby D. somewhere, during the late 90s. Probably at a show our friends were playing (Tuscaurora? DKO?). Their band  E*lux also featured Tony Babylon (a long-time L.A. fixture, known for procuring rare instruments for people) and Mark Poland, whose brother Chris Poland was one of Megadeth's guitar players.

I thought they were amazing. A perfect combination of elements from The Cure and The Cult. Goth and Glam. Great songs, great players, great voice. Edgy guitar tones combining the best of new wave and hard rock.

Bobby's powerful, soaring voice was the result of studying singing with a cantor, and combined with Kevin's guitar playing, I thought they really had something. They also put on a great rock show.

Kevin Bombay (L) and Bobby D. of E*lux, April 26, 2000 at The Opium Den
In 1998, I heard a cassette of their demo, and I didn't feel like it captured their power. After talking with the band, we did one track at my place with just Bobby and Kevin, which I overly-synthed and under-ly guitared, but they still liked it! I contributed some arrangement ideas and helped shape the song.

Based on that success, they decided to record several more songs. Again, I made some arrangement suggestions, helped make the songs a little tighter and more hooky, and did my best to make them comfortable and sound good.


"Lonely" was the first song we finished with the full band. I cheated quite a bit, with having the perpetually shirtless Mark play an electronic drum kit to trigger acoustic drum samples, and guitar and bass going through the then-brand-new Line 6 Pod instead of micing amps.

Given how quickly and inexpensively it was done (I think I charged them $300 total for 4 or 5 songs), it's still pretty rad. Big. Huge. Not bad for 1998. A perfect example of the most important part of making a good record: start with a really talented, great-sounding band who know how to play.

E*lux combined the tracks I did with a remastered and better-sounding version of their original demos for their album "Pretty Accident".

I loved seeing E*lux play. I have fond memories of watching them rock out at The Opium Den, Goldfinger's, and almost every other club of note at the time. They'd often play with Gwen Mars, another band I really liked (and who got signed to Hollywood records).

So why didn't E*lux get signed? Why aren't they huge? Well, there isn't any justice in the world, and certainly not in the music business. As awful as it sounds, even in the late 90s, in Los Angeles, the A&R guys told them "you're too brown". E*lux broke up not long after I left L.A.


E*lux reunited for a few shows in the late aughts. Kevin Bombay plays in several L.A. bands, and taunts me with photos of his latest gear on Facebook. Tony Babylon is still dealing in rare, hard-to-find instruments. Bobby D. is also still playing music now and then.

Bobby D., Tony Babylon, and Mark Poland, taking a break in my backyard during the recording sessions.
August 21, 1999.

No comments: