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Pseudopod

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Most bands that come together in college never make it past their finals, Senior year. But the four UCLA alumni and one Australian known as Pseudopod have not only survived graduation and visa difficulties, theyıve parlayed their tight but loose mix of jazzy rhythms, classic rock riffage, and pop sensibilities into a fervent following of tape-trading, set list-discussing and road-tripping fans. Now those fans can enjoy Pseudopod in the comfort of their own homes with the bandıs self-titled major label debut on Interscope Records.

For the guys in Pseudopod, their "how they formed" story fittingly begins at UCLAıs Music Studies program. It was here that Northern California kids Ross and Tim, who had played together in both school and rock bands, met fellow No. Cal. resident Brian through a mutual friend, eventually asking him to join their funk cover band. But the threesome, who became fast friends, soon swapped covers for originals after seeing Kevin perform at a local barıs open mic night.

Seizing the moment, the foursome (Keegan joined the group in 2002) recorded their self-released debut, Pod, in the summer of 1998, and then spent the next three years going to classes on Monday through Wednesday and the rest of the week on the road. During that time, the guys not only earned their degrees (Ross and Tim have Bachelorıs Degrees in Music, while Brian has a Masterıs Degree in Ethnomusicology), but they also played more than a hundred shows a year. They opened for such diverse acts as Blues Traveler, G Love & Special Sauce, The Samples and Ozomatli when they werenıt headlining themselves. ³It seemed like we were playing show after show after show and the next thing we knew, we were playing living our lives on the road,² Kevin says.

As a result of this constant road work, as well as good word-of-mouth and chat room discussions, the guys quickly found themselves with the kind of fan following normally reserved for bands who already have self-titled major label debut albums. It was a following that continued to grow, as their fans not only began following the band from show to show, but also traded live tapes and set lists online, a practice now encourage by the bandıs homepage, www.pseudopod.net.

It was this following that helped them win The Best College Band In America, a national Battle Of The Bands-like contest, sponsored by Rolling Stone.com and iuma.com, in which fans voted for their favorite songs online. "When we won that," Kevin explains, finishing their "formed" story, "we received a large sum of money to make our second album, Rest Assured, which we recorded and put out ourselves. And this became the demo our manager used to get us signed to Interscope."

This brings us to their self-titled debut, which the band along with Keegan on saxophone, recorded with producer Paul Ebersold (3 Doors Down, Sister Hazel) at Ardent Studios in Memphis. "With all our other recordings," Kevin explains, "we were in L.A., which meant fighting traffic to get to the studio. But this time, we all lived together in an apartment a couple blocks from the studio, so we were away from all the distractions." "I think we also really concentrated the songwriting aspects this time," adds Ross, "and on streamlining the arrangements."

The resulting collection is one that will appeal to fans of catchy pop as much as it will to fans of intricate jam rock. Itıll also bridge the gap between old Pseudopod fans and recent converts, as itıs dominated by new tunes ‹ including "Intentions," "Dante," and "All Over You," which is the albumıs first single ‹ but is peppered with such familiar favorites as "Shrinks."

With the album now finished, the now five guys in Pseudopod will, of course, be taking their act back on the road. Which means the guys will be taking off their shoes. A lot. You see, besides earning a reputation for great live shows, thoughtful songs, and expert musicianship, the guys in Pseudopod are also known for playing barefoot. "We had some daytime gigs a couple summers ago," Tim explains, looking down at his toes, "and it was so hot that I just took my shoes off. Well, after three or four gigs with my shoes off, I got used to it. Now everybody does it."

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