The Ocean Blue
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The Ocean Blue is an American indie pop formed in Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States, in 1986. Its core original members included David Schelzel on lead vocals/guitar, Steve Lau on keyboards/saxophone, Bobby Mittan on bass guitar and Rob Minnig on drums and vocals.
The Ocean Blue
|Origin||Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Genres||Indie pop, dream pop, jangle pop|
|Members||David Schelzel |
|Past members||Steve Lau |
The members of The Ocean Blue first met in junior high school. They cut a series of demos while in high school, with Scott Stouffer sitting in on drums. They managed to get two of these earliest recordings, "On Growing Up" and "Wounds of a Friend", included on a local radio station compilation in late 1986. The compilation also included very early work from friends and mentors of The Ocean Blue, noted local artists, The Innocence Mission. Rob Minnig would join as permanent drummer in 1987, and the classic line-up of Schelzel/Lau/Minnig/Mittan would continue through 1994.
Sire Records yearsEdit
The Ocean Blue's members were just teenagers and still in high school when they signed a three-album deal in 1988 with Sire Records, at the behest of Sire founder Seymour Stein. The Ocean Blue's self-titled album was recorded in London with producers John Porter and Mark Optiz.
The band's busy calendar included U.S. touring and an appearance on one of the first episodes of Club MTV, with Downtown Julie Brown. The first single, "Between Something and Nothing," peaked at #2 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart, while its follow-up, "Drifting, Falling" peaked at #10. Two promotional videos were made for the songs and both received rotation on PostModern MTV, with the latter video featuring the band in various locations in and around their hometown of Hershey, Pennsylvania. The band later joined The Mighty Lemon Drops and John Wesley Harding on an extensive U.S./Canadian tour. All of this promotion helped the band sell well over 150,000 units of the first record.
After recording in several New England studios, the band released their second album, Cerulean, in 1991. The singles "Ballerina Out of Control" and "Mercury" both charted on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart, at #3 and #27, respectively. Drummer Rob Minnig began to hone his song production and mixing abilities, which would later be reflected on the next album and its single B-sides, which the band chose to produce themselves.
The band contributed songs to the Eric Stoltz film Naked in New York, released on April 13, 1994. For the duration of their 1993-1994 tour in support of Beneath the Rhythm and Sound, the band toured as a five-piece group, with newly-added second guitarist Oed Ronne. Westwood One Radio Networks recorded the group's June 20, 1994 concert in Ventura, California and released it as a promotional-only CD, the band's only official live album.
During this time, keyboardist/sax player and original member Steve Lau was becoming more interested in the music business and moved to New York City. His final appearance on a commercial release by the band came with the Peace and Light EP, featuring the album track "Peace of Mind" as well as two live performances and a previously unreleased track. Lau exited the band in late 1994 and Oed Ronne was brought in full-time. Lau later became a record executive with a Sire Records subsidiary known as Kinetic, a label specializing in indie dance music.
Mercury Records and indie releasesEdit
In 1996, Mercury Records signed the band and released their fourth album, See the Ocean Blue, that fall, which reflected the arrival of new guitarist Oed Ronne and the band's renewed interest in the music of the 1960s and 1970s. While Schelzel remained the predominant songwriter of the band, Ronne composed two tracks and sang lead on his song "Behind."
See was released to lukewarm results, with the record company cancelling plans to film a video for the second single, "Slide." Despite a nationwide tour, the band fell victim to the global record company mergers and purges that engulfed late 1996 and early 1997.
In 1999, the band recorded and self-released their fifth album, Davy Jones Locker. Two years later, the album was resequenced, remastered and re-released on March Records, with March releasing both "Denmark" and "Ayn" as EPs, each featuring three new B-sides. Shortly thereafter, Rob Minnig decided to leave the group after fourteen years, and Peter Anderson, a friend of the band from Minneapolis, Minnesota, was brought in for live shows and, eventually, permanent recording work.
In 2004, the band released the diverse six-song EP Waterworks on What Are Records?. That year, the group performed select dates around the U.S., recruiting The Owls' saxophonist Brian Tighes. The Orange Peels' Allen Clapp contributed music and production duties to the EP and, to reciprocate, Oed Ronne and Peter Anderson later contributed to Allen Clapp and The Orange Peels' album Circling the Sun the following year. In October of that same year, David Schelzel entered the studio to record a solo version of Adolphe Adam's 1847 Christmas classic "O Holy Night". This song was available only as a digital download via the band's website for the 2005 holiday season.
In late 2005, the Ocean Blue's entire five studio album catalogue, as well as the Waterworks EP and the band's first four videos, became available for purchase on iTunes.
In July 2010, the Ocean Blue's long-unreleased studio track "City Traffic" was uploaded to Dailymotion and YouTube with an accompanying homemade video.
In December 2010, the band's website announced that a new record was in the works. The website also offered a free Christmas download of a newly recorded cover version of the ancient Basque carol "The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came", done by David Schelzel and Don Peris (of The Innocence Mission).
In December 2011, the band's website announced that another free Christmas download was available via the band's Facebook page. The release was a cover version of "Walking in the Air", a song written by Howard Blake and first showcased in the 1982 animated film The Snowman, adapted from Raymond Briggs' noted 1978 children's novel of the same name. Similar to the previous year's holiday download, the recording was performed by David Schelzel and Don Peris.
On January 12, 2013, the band performed their first gig since 2006, performing at the Korda Records Showcase in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Korda Records was a new independent label formed by several artists, including The Ocean Blue's David Schelzel.
On March 6, 2013, the band released "Sad Night, Where is the Morning?", the first single from their forthcoming new album, to radio and in digital and physical formats. On March 19, The Ocean Blue's sixth album, entitled Ultramarine, was released on Korda Records. The band embarked upon a tour of key markets in the United States that concluded with dates in Paraguay and Peru.
On September 9, 2014, the band reissued their 2004 Waterworks EP as a full-length album, expanded with the addition of three extra tracks. The band supported the release with a brief, limited concert tour of six dates throughout the U.S.
In 2015, the band worked with Sire and Rhino Records to reissue their first three Sire albums on vinyl. The band marked the occasion by performing the first two albums in their entirety at limited concerts throughout the U.S. In 2016, the band did a full South American tour.
In June 2019, the band released their eighth full-length album, Kings and Queens / Knaves and Thieves, on Korda Records.
David Schelzel – lead vocals, guitar (1986–present)
Bobby Mittan – bass guitar (1986–present)
Oed Ronne – guitar, keyboards, vocals (1993–present)
Peter Anderson – drums (2000–present)
Rob Minnig – drums, keyboards, vocals (1986–2001)
Steve Lau – keyboards, saxophone, vocals (1986–1994)
Scott Stouffer – drums (1986)
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions||Sales|
|1989||The Ocean Blue
|1993||Beneath the Rhythm & Sound
|1996||See the Ocean Blue
|1999||Davy Jones' Locker
|2014||Waterworks (Expanded LP Version)
|2019||Kings and Queens / Knaves and Thieves
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|1989||"Between Something and Nothing"||2||The Ocean Blue|
|1991||"Ballerina Out of Control"||3||Cerulean|
|1993||"Sublime"||3||Beneath the Rhythm and Sound|
|"Don't Believe Everything You Hear"||-|
|1994||"Peace of Mind"||-|
|1996||"Whenever You're Around"||-||See|
|2013||"Sad Night, Where Is the Morning?"||-||Ultramarine|
|2019||"Kings and Queens"||-||Kings and Queens / Knaves and Thieves|
- Peace & Light (1994)
- Denmark (2000)
- Ayn (2001)
- Waterworks (2004)
Side projects, promo CDs and compilationsEdit
- WJTL Radio Lancaster Preliminary Hearing compilation (1986)
- The Laugh Tour EP (1990)
- The Ocean Blue Westwood One Radio Networks-Live in Concert (June 20, 1994)
- The Orange Peels Circling the Sun (2005)
Demos, B-sides, rarities and unreleased tracksEdit
- "On Growing Up" (1986 – Susquehanna Sound)
- "Wounds of a Friend" (1986 – Susquehanna Sound)
- "Between Something & Nothing" (1988 – Sire demo)
- "Vanity Fair" (1988 – Sire demo)
- "Drifting, Falling" (1988 – Sire demo)
- "Ask Me John" (1988 – Sire demo)
- "The Office of a Busy Man" (1988 – Sire demo)
- "The Circus Animals" (1990 – PA Mix/demo Laugh Tour EP and B-side to "Drifting, Falling")
- "Renaissance Man" (1990 – from Laugh Tour EP- 77's cover)
- "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" (1994 – Live from Peace and Light EP - Smiths cover)
- "Don't Believe Everything You Hear" (1994 – Live from Peace and Light EP)
- "Sea of Green" (1994 – from Peace and Light EP)
- "City Traffic" (1993/1994 – unreleased from Naked in New York sessions, Dailymotion video-audio release in July 2010)
- "Whenever You're Around" (single version) (1996)
- "Walk Away" (2000 – from Denmark EP)
- "Sweetheart, You're Surrounded" (2000 – from Denmark EP)
- "Mood Swing" (2000 – from Denmark EP)
- "Garden Song (Dawn at New Hope, PA version)" (2001 – from Ayn EP)
- "Harlequin" (2001 – from Ayn EP)
- "New Man from Chicago" (2001 – from Ayn EP)
- "O Holy Night" (2005 – The Ocean Blue website download)
- "The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came" (2010 – David Schelzel and Don Peris/The Ocean Blue website download)
- "Walking in the Air" (2011 – David Schelzel and Don Peris/The Ocean Blue Facebook website download)
- "Bleary Eyed" (2013 – B-side to "Sad Night, Where Is the Morning?")
- "No Money in That" (2013 – from the Korda Records compilation Korda Komp 2)
- "Media Five Archive for The Ocean Blue". Media Five Ltd. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
- Jason Ankeny. "The Ocean Blue - Artist Biography". AllMusic.
- "The Ocean Blue Chart History". Billboard.com. Retrieved January 23, 2020.
- Whitney Matheson (2013). "Fave '90s band The Ocean Blue resurfaces". USA Today.
- "the ocean blue". Kordarecords.com. Retrieved January 23, 2020.
- "The Ocean Blue reissuing Waterworks EP with bonus tracks, touring this fall, playing CMJ (dates, new track stream)". Brooklynvegan.com. Retrieved January 23, 2020.
- "David Schelzel On The Ocean Blue's 'Kings And Queens/Knaves And Thieves'". Npr.org. Retrieved January 23, 2020.
- "allmusic.com - All Music Charts & Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
- "The Ocean Blue Discography". Discogs. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
- "Korda Records Showcase ft The Ocean Blue, The Starfolk, The Jim Ruiz Set, The Owls, and DJ Jake Rudh | The Cedar Cultural Center". Web.archive.org. December 19, 2013. Retrieved January 23, 2020.
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