The UPTONES – K.U.S.A. 6 song EP from 1984

Making this record was a wild experience. There was no producer, or more accurately, there were at least 11! Each of nine band-mates, plus the recording engineer, plus our manager. That’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen, and we were all very opinionated and strong-willed. We booked “lock-out” time at a recording studio – an archaic practice from when mixing boards were not computers, and you had to leave the faders and everything right where they were between sessions in order to save your work. Being 17 to 19-year-olds at the time, we just wouldn’t go home. I have no idea how many hours we spent in there, but it was lunacy. The cover art, same deal. We all had a say in it. Hence the strange, obscured image collage, which ends up reflecting the recording well. To my eternal bafflement and delight, the thing became a college radio hit in 1985. Long out of print, K.U.S.A. was on 415 Records, and you may be able to find one on eBay or something if you’re curious. If it ever gets released digitally, I’ll plop a link to it here. It’s a very uneven work, full of amazing moments, and some moments too where I just scratch my head and go “what were we thinking?!” My takeaway as a musician, songwriter, etc. was this: I MUCH prefer to work with a producer, but this kind of chaos can produce some unique and beautiful things as well. This post is too long and I’m totally oversharing. Oh well. Hope you enjoy it if you do have it. I played a massive guitar solo on Outside The Inn! I like that part. We also re-recorded Out To Sea for this, and it’s dreadful. Listen to the version on East Bay Orbits instead, that’s the original. Can you tell I’m a little neurotic about this record? I’ma shut up now.

Author: Eric Din

Eric makes songs, records, web content, and little forts for cats to play in. Founder/lifer in The UPTONES, guitarist, songwriter, guitar instructor, Eric blogs at ericdin.com and he's just completed his 1st solo record, Peace and Love and Rock and Roll!

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