In the spring of 1991 Jason Loewenstein was standing outside the back door of a club in San Diego, CA waiting to be let in. While his bandmates were inside enjoying themselves, he was outside smoking cigarettes and regretting not yet being 21. The band was Sebadoh, and it was the group’s first cross-country tour of the USA, supporting the release of their critically-acclaimed Sebadoh III LP and the “Gimme Indie Rock”. Spanning over ten years and seemingly innumerable releases (go ahead and try to come up with an undisputed, comprehensive discography for Sebadoh and its members’ various side projects and solo releases), Sebadoh made an undeniable impact (and, to quote the band’s web site, they’re not through yet, Sebadoh is, “Not dead, just asleep”). In fact, a good argument could be made that, while low-fi indie rock has been around for as long as machines with recording capabilities have resided in folks’ bedrooms, Sebadoh were responsible for bringing it out of the closet (a distinction shared with the like-minded Guided by Voices and Pavement, amongst others). But, that’s an argument best saved for the bio for the next Sebadoh record (if not shelved entirely). And, we’re here to talk about Jason!
So, Jason Loewenstein! He is an integral part in the Sebadoh legacy. Over the years, Jason became an increasingly important songwriter for the band, moving out of the shadow of the yin/yang of Lou Barlow and Eric Gaffney. By the last couple of Sebadoh records, nearly half of the songs were written by Jason. And, while much has been made in the press of the democratic process at work in Sebadoh (the various members wrote and sang their songs with the other guys picking up the rest of the instruments), At Sixes and Sevens is a democracy of exactly one. Recorded in Marysville, WA, Louisville, KY, and Campbellsville, KY in 2001-2002 on an analog reel-to-reel 8-track machine, Jason wrote, recorded, performed, and produced everything on the record. All of the guitar and bass playing, the drumming, the singing, the moving of equipment to and fro, the pressing record: all Jason, all the time. D.I.Y. indeed.
But here, why not get the straight dope from the horse’s mouth? No stranger to the machinations of record label marketing departments, when reached in the cabinet room of his reclusive mountain hideaway, Jason offered the following insight on writing the bio for the new record:
Man, maybe you could say: The more you talk to your friends about how amazing Jason Loewenstein’s new record is, the cooler you will be in the long run. You will suddenly seem more attractive, people will give you free stuff, and all of your enemies will take a step back and apologize to you. With this record the bar has been raised because Jason, in his wanton creativity, has created the distinctive sound that will define a new wave of rock and roll abandon, while preserving the intellectual fortitude of the new millennium’s world community of rock and roll citizens, etc., etc. And, look at his picture, isn’t he cute? What a genius! How’s that sound? Hello? Hey… are you still there?
Anyway, we here at Sub Pop records are beamingly proud to be releasing Jason Loewenstein’s long-overdue full-length solo debut. He has, over the years, released a couple of singles under the name Sparkalepsy: the “Heather’s Overbite” EP on Vertical Records and a split single with Unconvinced (Bob Fay/Anne Slinn) on Soul Static Sound. But, with the new record, Jason has every intention of actually taking his music to the people. Look for a band of as-yet-to-be-determined members (undoubtedly ringers, one and all) to hit the road in the USA and Europe in the summer of 2002 and beyond.
In his free time, Jason enjoys the work of author Harry Crews, the comedic stylings of George Carlin, and is (not surprisingly) a fan of the musical genius of Captain Beefheart. Ever the “cyberholic,” he also designed and maintains web sites for both Sebadoh and himself.
Just don’t call him J-Loe!