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The year was 1992, the internet hadn’t fully taken off yet. The first mass produced GSM cell phone was released and compact discs out sold audiocassettes for the first time in the United States based on the number of units sold. 1992 also marks the year that a band of two guys in southern California Jeff Martin and the late John Berry recorded an album that would take the slowcore movement by storm and forever change the musical landscape of what it means to make it in an industry when the odds are stacked up against you. This is the story of what it means to take the road less traveled and to keep pushing forward no matter how hard the terrain ahead is going wear you down and their name IDAHO. “Something about being a Los Angeles band called IDAHO had a nice juxtaposition about it. The wide open spaces of the west.” says Jeff when asked about the name. But the band didn’t actually have a name until after being signed. When Caroline records said they wanted to go to press about the news of the contract they needed Jeff and his bandmate John to come up with a name. “John and I were friends with a fella named Mike Coulter who had just dissolved his band IOWA… John jokingly asked Mike if we could steel his band name. They had a chuckle followed by John thinking that IDAHO would have the same effect. While Its easy to get bogged down in the fine details the music Jeff and John had been recording found its way in the hands of Kim White who knew Brian Long, a childhood friend of Jeff’s that he met in 5th grade at Brentwood elementary. The two had lost touch over the years.

Jeff Martin & John K.Berry

1993 saw the release of the vinyl single Skyscrape/Star by label Ringers Lactate which contains the only released studio version of Star. The single would be followed by the Palms EP being put out by Caroline Records. Those releases would lead up to the release of the quintessential debut album Year After Year. A music video shot on Super 8 film by Jeff’s high school buddy Kip Koenig for Gods Green Earth from the album would be produced. The later part of 1993 found the band touring to support the album in the U.S with the Red House Painters. Then followed by a U.K. Tour with Sundial & Radial Spangle. While recording music together for Jeff and John was nothing new as they had been making music together since the early 80’s. Year after Year was essentially a record recorded by the duo taking turns on drums and other instrumental layers heard through out the record. with Jeff being the helm of lyrics and lead vocals and his signature 4 string guitar. For live performances however they turned into a the following 4 piece to help bring there music into a live setting. Jeff Martin – vocals, bass, guitar, John Berry – guitar, Doug Smith guitar and Chris Gaw, then Jeff Zimmitti on drums.

 

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