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Label News (more headlines) 04-20-2005

John Strohm (Blake Babies, Lemonheads) To Cover Jackson Browne For Tribute!

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Email: americanlaundromat@hotmail.com
Website: http://www.americanlaundromatrecords.com
New York - AMERICAN LAUNDROMAT RECORDS (ALR) and FACE DOWN RECORDS (FDR) are proud to announce Indie Rock Legend - John Strohm (Blake Babies, Antenna, and part-time Lemonhead) will cover Jackson Browne's Somebody's Baby for their upcoming tribute CD, HIGH SCHOOL REUNION (a tribute to those great 80’s films!). The tribute will also feature Kristin Hersh, The Caulfield Sisters, Lori McKenna, Vic Chesnutt, The Modifiers, The Bennies, Dipsomaniacs, and many more. Release date has been pushed back to October 15, 2005 to accommodate two surprise artists.

SOMEBODY’S BABY appeared in the quintessential high school film FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH which was written by Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous, Singles, Say Anything), and directed by Amy Heckerling (Clueless). Strohm recorded the track the weekend of April 9th & 10th with Silos rhythm section; Drew Glackin and Konrad Meissner at Don Piper’s studio (Between The Trains) in Brooklyn, New York.

“Somebody’s Baby is such a great song and takes place in a key scene where Jenifer Jason Leigh’s character sneaks out of the safety of her childhood bedroom, and loses her virginity in the dugout of a local baseball field. I wanted someone who could bring out all the great elements of the song but also give it a slight edge. John nailed it. His trademark guitar is all over it, and the vocals are exceptional. I couldn’t be happier with the cover. I’m confident it’s one of the many tracks radio will embrace this October when we release the tribute.” Joe Spadaro, ALR founder & president.

As a high school student in Bloomington, Indiana in the early 1980s, John P. Strohm began to develop his musical style and love of independent music while drumming in several popular regional hardcore bands. The independent spirit and relative musical freedom of the hardcore culture at the time led him to the conclusion that he needed to move to a "proper city" to pursue his musical ambitions, leading to his move to Boston as an audio engineering student at Berklee College of Music in 1985.

By the time Strohm arrived in Boston, however, he had already begun to drift away from hardcore in favor of the more melodic, harmonically complex sound of underground pop bands such as the Dream Syndicate and the Replacements. In his first year at Berklee he and drummer/girlfriend Freda Love (also from Bloomington) met Juliana Hatfield, a piano student from Duxbury, Massachusetts. Love recognized from afar a quality in the shy Hatfield that she believed would translate to the stage. The three formed the Blake Babies in early 1986 with Strohm and Hatfield co-writing most of the material, and within months began recording their first album.

The Blake Babies "Nicely, Nicely," self-released on vinyl only in early 1987, proved a modest success in the Boston area and won the three nineteen-year-olds some coveted gigs, including opening for the locally popular punk band the Lemonheads. The Blake Babies and Lemonheads struck up a fast friendship, and soon Strohm began drumming for the Lemonheads in addition to his guitar duties in the Blake Babies.

By the end of 1988 the Blake Babies had signed to the North Carolina label Mammoth and Strohm chose to leave the Lemonheads and concentrate on the Blake Babies. The Blake Babies released two albums (Earwig and Sunburn) and one E.P., along with a posthumous best of collection, on Mammoth, and all received critical acclaim and became college radio staples. The Blake Babies announced their break-up in 1991 (amidst a major label bidding war), but continued to tour the United States and Europe into 1992. The Blake Babies' jangly pop sound has proven enduringly influential in the years since the band's breakup.

By the end of the Blake Babies, Strohm had developed as a singer and songwriter to the extent that fronting his own band became a natural progression. Strohm and Love formed Antenna in 1991, consciously moving away from the pop sound of the Blake Babies in favor of a harder, more guitar-oriented psychedelic pop sound. Strohm and Love eventually parted ways both romantically and as musical partners; however, Antenna managed to release two solid, acclaimed albums on Mammoth before disbanding in 1994.

Strohm re-joined the Lemonheads in 1994 as lead guitarist and, following the sole release by the short-lived Strohm-fronted Velo Deluxe, reached a contractual impasse with Mammoth which resulted in Mammoth's refusal to release any more albums under the contract or to release Strohm from any contractual obligations. As a result, Strohm spent the end of the 1990s touring with the Lemonheads and releasing two solo albums on the tiny Flat Earth label out of Indianapolis (Mammoth allowed the releases but refused to terminate the contract). The resulting albums, Caledonia (1996) and Vestavia (1999) reflect Strohm's strongest work since the Blake Babies, but with scant distribution and little label support, the releases went largely unnoticed.

After a brief but modestly successful Blake Babies reunion in 2000 through 2001, resulting in the excellent album "God Bless the Blake Babies" in 2000, Strohm gave up any serious musical pursuits and went to law school in his adoptive home town of Birmingham, Alabama. He is now an attorney in Birmingham representing, among others, numerous musician clients. He plans to release an album in late 2005 or early 2006, which he has begun work on with long-term collaborator Ed Ackerson (Polara), engineer Don Piper, and Silos rhythm section Drew Glackin and Konrad Meissner. Now finally released from his Mammoth contract, Strohm plans to celebrate his contractual freedom by continuing to perform and release music as his busy life as an attorney and father of two small children will allow.


Please contact me for images, additional press materials, and interview requests.

Joseph H. Spadaro
Founder & President
P.O. Box 1514 • Huntington, NY 11743 USA
Tel: 631.721.3521
email: americanlaundromat@hotmail.com
web: http://www.americanlaundromatrecords.com/

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