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The Ocean Blue began in the late 1980's in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Teenage friends David Schelzel, Steve Lau, and Bobby Mittan came together for the love of new wave and college radio of the day that simmered beneath the mainstream of popular music. The boys practiced in each other's basements, worked on their own tunes, and made plans. As high school graduation neared, Steve sent some of the band's demo tapes off to local management companies, including the office of one busyman, Peter Freedman, a recent NYC transplant from Pennsylvania. He took the bands calls, promised them glory, and told them they had to play out.

Shortly thereafter, Rob Minnig joined the group as drummer and, most conveniently, recording engineer. The band spent the rest of the year working on new demos in Rob's studio and playing out for the first time in clubs and colleges in Pennsylvania and surrounding states. High points: opening for Wang Chung at the Metron; playing Hershey Park and Hershey High Prom; gigs at the all-girls Hood College and the all-boys Georgetown Prep; the Indigo Girls as a support band. Low points: purchasing a Sears service van that ran on oil; collapsing ironing boards, gracing the cover of Pennsylvania Musician.

1988 was a very good year. The band landed a nice publishing deal with EMI/SBK Publishing who, along with Peter Freedman and friends, began shopping the group's new demos to the major record labels. Titles: "Between Something and Nothing", "The Office of A Busy Man", "The Circus Animals", "Drifting, Falling", "Myron". Who wouldn't fall in Love? By the summer of 1988, the group was being courted by nearly a dozen labels, one of which was Sire Records, home of many of the band's favorite artists, including the Smiths, Aztec Camera, Madonna and Echo and the Bunnymen. After some deliberation, approx. 5 seconds, the band accepted Sire's generous offer. High Points of 1988: sold out shows at the Chameleon in Lancaster, PA; private show case for Clive Davis in a New York studio (Clive came and left by limo and never said a word); pandemonium at the 9:30 in DC; Revival in Philadelphia; Penn, Princeton, and Penn State; RECORD DEAL! Low Points: breaking two guitar strings at a private showcase for Clive Davis in a New York studio (Clive came and left by limo and never said a word); photo shot ala the Cure; out of hand fog machines.

At the suggestion of Sire's president and founder, Seymour Stein, the band began recording their first record, The Ocean Blue, in London in December 1988 with producer John Porter (Roxy Music, Billy Bragg, the Smiths), and finished in early 1989 with producer Mark Opitz (INXS, Divinyls). This record captures the youthful heights of the band - both good and bad - and contains the group's most masterful pop tunes. After releasing the record in late summer 1989, the band toured North America extensively on their own and then again with label mates, the Mighty Lemon Drops. To the surprised delight of Warner Bros. (and the group) the band's first three singles, "Between Something and Nothing", "Vanity Fair" and "Drifting, Falling" were bona fide hits! on college radio, commercial alternative and modern rock radio stations. MTV played the band's videos on its alternative programs. High points: being in the presence of John Porter and the amps/guitars/studio in which he crafted "How Soon is Now?"; making a video in New York with beautiful Swiss model; making beautiful autumn video for "Drifting, Falling" in Hershey; "Drifting, Falling" following "How Soon is Now?" on MTV; NPR's morning edition; supporting Deborah Harry and all of the Talking Heads (separately); supporting sexless Johnny Lydon and oversexed Aimee Mann; Club MTV with New Order and Downtown Julie Brown; landing #2 in Billboard Modern Rock between U2 and B-52s; Low Points: Club MTV with Downtown Julie Brown; overnighters in Jimmy Hendrix's tour bus; out of hand fog machines; changing the Pan Am 103 return flight from London (correction, that was a high).

1991 was also a very good year. The band went north to New England and produced a record which remains a moody classic and a favorite of fans. Self-produced and brilliantly introspective and atmospheric, Cerulean reflects well the state of affairs for the group after much touring and stretched out lives. After its release in late 1991, the record spawned three singles and two videos, including "Ballerina Out of Control". A short American tour followed, and later a tour supporting the Psychedelic Furs.

High points: Cerulean; raining flowers from fans; NPR interludes; 25K at WHFS festival; Late Night with Allan Thicke; MTV 120 Minutes; meeting the Bee Gees and Madonna's sister at Warner Bros.; supporting My Bloody Valentine and the Go-Go's (on separate occasions); Dave Matthews supporting The Ocean Blue (low point?); Low Points: breakups; old furs...

By the end of 1992, the band was back in record mode. They headed south to Nassau, Bahamas, to make the wonderfully crafted pop record Beneath the Rhythm and Sound. Released in the fall of 1993, the album brought the band broad exposure on pop radio, MTV and network television. The group did a sublime video in Iceland for their biggest single to date, "Sublime", and toured America and overseas. High Points: Iceland and Nassau; videos with Ballerinas and Bobby's grandmother; Conan O'Brien; Michael Stipe on the guest list; Bob Marley's guitar; supporting Tear For Fear; Low Points: wrong version of Sublime; mixing in Bahamas; Loveline...
1994, ah...a year of change. Stop and blink and wonder. Sire released the EP Peace and Light, which contained the last single for Sire, "Peace of Mind", and the most sought after rarity of the group's recordings - their show stopping cover of the Smiths', "There is a Light that Never Goes Out". Shortly after returning from a tour of Denmark, the band left Sire, Steve left the band, and Oed joined the group. Steve left to devote himself to a full-time career in the music business- really (Steve launced Kinetic Records). Oed Ronne, who had been second guitar player on several of the group's recent tours, became a new member of the band. High points: Jewel supporting The Ocean Blue (and charming the singer); taking Denmark ala the Beatles; arrival of the Oed; Low points: hmm, lose a record deal and your keyboard/sax player?

By the spring of 1995 things were looking less stormy and the band signed a new record deal with PolyGram's Mercury Records. They began work on a new album and what proved to be the longest sessions of the band's career. 1996's See The Ocean Blue is a distinctively guitar-driven and soulful record. Working with producer Dennis Herring (Throwing Muses, Sparklehorse, The Innocence Mission) and mixing engineer Alan Winstanley (Lloyd Cole, Madness, Bush), the band crafted a record that contains some of the band's best studio recordings, including perhaps their two greatest singles ever, the new-wavey "Whenever You're Around" and the classic heart stopper, "Slide". But as fate would have it, massive changes were afoot in the record business and at PolyGram, and the commercial success of the record fell short of the band's previous releases. As PolyGram was split up and bought out, the band negotiated their way out their contract and headed for the world of the Independents. High Points: Guitars!; "Slide" on Top 40; San Francisco; Liv on the Cover; video treatment by Oed and Phil Harder for "Whenever You're Around"; TOB again in London; Low Points: Nashville; shelving Oed and Phil's video treatment; surveying the music business...

As the Century turned, the group released Davy Jones' Locker, at first independently through the band's mailing list, and later in 2001, on the indie March/What Are Records? label. Perhaps the most endearing record by the band, this release contains recordings done in the band's own rehearsal/recording studio and catch the group at its most spontaneous and transparent self. It has become many fans very favorite Ocean Blue record. High Points: no worries. Low Points: see high points. The group did limited shows throughout 2001 and 2002 in support of Davy Jones' Locker, including appearances in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC.

In 2004, the band released Waterworks, a 6 song EP and beautiful precursor to the band's next full length, which is what they are up to now.

stick around....