Estradasphere - Biography




Guitarist Jason Schimmel and bassist Tim Smolens met in 7th grade at Miraleste High School. In 1997, their band Don Salsa recorded its first album, Koolaid Moustache In Jonestown. In 1998, Jason and Tim moved to Santa Cruz, California. Jason attended UC Santa Cruz, along with Timb Harris, John Whooley, and Dave Murray. At that time, John, Tim, Jason, Dave, and friend, Jason Conception, played downtown among the street performers of Santa Cruz. Jason Conception left the band to focus on his other project Netwerk:Electric. In December of 1998, Timb Harris joined the band. The band continued to play the streets and at local coffee shops.

On January 7, 2000, Estradasphere held its first concert at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center. This was a pivotal show for them and they began to play clubs exclusively. Estradasphere's popularity in Santa Cruz birthed a spontaneous circus environment where audience members began actively participating in the shows and fans were encouraged to wear costumes. Frequent sideshow acts included: juggler and balloon maker David Poznanter, book reader George Smith III, fire-dancers, cheerleaders, stilt-walkers, and more. Poco Marshall booked many more shows at the legendary Palookaville, as he was the venue talent buyer at the time. Later that year, they released their first album, It's Understood, on Mimicry Records. They went on their first North American tour, opening for Secret Chiefs 3.

In 2001, Estradasphere released their first EP, The Silent Elk of Yesterday, which included a few new studio tracks, and some live performances. They also went on their second North American tour with the band Tub Ring.

The band released their second full length album, Buck Fever in the Spring of 2002. Later that year, drummer Dave Murray left the band.

In 2003, they released their third full length album Quadropus. Because they did not have a full time drummer, several guest drummers appeared on this album, including Dave Murray.

In the Spring of 2004, they released a DVD of live concert footage entitled, Passion for Life. It contained a full length DVD as well as a CD that included some live tracks and other material. The cover featured an oil painting by Santa Cruz artist Michael Joseph Welsh, entitled Humans as seen by God last week through a Tootsiescope.

In 2004, founding member and saxophonist John Whooley left the band. Tsugaru Shamisen player Kevin Kmetz and keyboardist Adam Stacey joined Estradasphere to replace him. They played their first show together as a new band with guest drummer Theo Mordey at 2004's SXSW Festival. Later that year Lee Smith moved from Atlanta, Georgia to join Estradasphere as their new permanent drummer.

In 2005, Estradasphere released These Are the Days, a documentary of the band's first national tour. This DVD highlighted the original line-up and circus side-shows, marking the end of an era and ushering in the present age of Estradasphere.

2006 saw the energetic re-emergence of a cohesive Estradasphere. They signed to New York label The End Records and released their most conceptually grounded album to date, Palace of Mirrors, an instrumental song-cycle with a psychedelic narrative structure.

In 2007 Estradasphere signed with Silverleaf Booking Agency, who booked them on a Northwest US tour with The End Records label mates Stolen Babies, and completed a full US tour that April.