Jason Lytle, Jim Fairchild, Kevin Garcia, Aaron Burtch, Tim Dryden
Geoff Barnett at Red Light Management
Friendship Fever is thrilled to present the 20th Anniversary edition of Grandaddy’s now-classic debut, Under The Western Freeway, available October 20, 2017, just a day before the album’s original release date (October 21, 1997). This is one of the quintessential albums to escape California’s Central Valley, and we couldn’t be happier to be the ones bringing it back to you. It begs the sunset listen, with the volume at 11. The windows open, bugs sneaking in, the night air cooling off the day’s demands.
This vinyl-only re-release features two pieces of beautiful colored vinyl: one featuring the original record, as it was intended, and the other an eight-song collection of demos from 1997, never before released. The demo LP includes sketches of songs that became fan favorites, like “Bjork ELO Xanadu and the Birth of Chartsengrafs” (which would make its debut on the band’s groundbreaking follow-up, the Sophtware Slump) and the fan-favorite “For The Dishwasher.” The deluxe package is complete with a booklet of personal band photographs, flyers from the era, and liner notes by Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals.
To truly understand how we got here, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Under The Western Freeway, we have to shed some light on the shadows from which this record emerged. The summer of ’97 was marked by the awakening from the woozy post-Cobain slumber that indie rock was mired in. 1997 was a mishmash of various top 10 genres — from Bjork to Ween to Save Ferris — and the scene seemed poised for bigger and better things. (Just take a look at the top 10 indie records of 1998 to get an idea of what Under The Western Freeway helped kick off.)
The importance of Under The Western Freeway is further exemplified by how the record grew in its importance among those who stumbled upon it. Zines ruled the day in 1997. Reading about a release, finding that release in stores, and then having the unique pleasure of telling a friend how great a record was exponentially propelled the word-of-mouth growth of this record. Grandaddy seemed to be everyone’s unique discovery, everyone’s favorite band they whispered the lyrics to, the band they found themselves gravitating toward after they saw that what was supposed to be great just wasn’t.
Under The Western Freeway didn’t start its own scene. No, what made this record and this band unique was that they took their interpretation from many different scenes, as viewed from their skewed perch of Modesto, California, and made their own way into indie rock’s top echelon. From the trucker hats, to Lytle’s hand tattoo that says “skate,” to the taking of the best bits of ELO and dropping it into a blender — all of this made for a powerful record released just at the right time. Just enough guitar and keyboards, just enough sadness, just enough ironic, manic-driven happiness that captured what a lot of us were thinking and feeling in the fall of ’97.
The first 250 orders will receive an exclusive bonus cassette, titled Practice ’97. It features eight unreleased recordings from a 1997 Grandaddy band practice. The only thing missing is the beer.