Band Biography











Operation Ivy Was:

Jesse Michaels - Lead Vocals

Tim Lint Armstrong - Guitar & Vocals

Matt McCall (Freeman) - Bass & Vocals

Dave Mello - Drums & vocals

(Paul Bae - Plays Sax In Certain songs)

Operation Ivy started off in the California Bay Area (Near Berkely) in and around '87. Lint and Matt who were in a band called Basic Radio and Jesse who was in S.A.G. (among many other bands) got together with Dave and started playing. When the band picked up they started playing at the popular Gilman Street Club, where many other popular bands including Green Day got their start. They got signed with Lookout Records and released there first album. As their popularity increased and they released new albums, they continued to grow. Finally, cries of "Sell Out" were heard from fans, and the pressure caused the breakup of the band. To hear more about this breakup checkout the lyrics to the Rancid song "Journey To The End Of The East Bay", it is all about Operation Ivy...

The reason for OPIVYs brekup are that EMI had been pressuring them to sign for a 2 album contract. They only wanted to be a local band, they didn't want to be on a major lable. They reportedly broke up so they wouldn't die from sucsess. Then a year or so later, Jesse became a missionary in Nicaragua. He's now back in Berkley working for Lookout! Records.

After Op Ivy's breakup the the members went their seperate ways...

Jesse joined Big Rig after OpIvy. And then it is said that he went off and became a missionary in South America. His where abouts now are unknown, some have said he does art for Lookout!, others say he is living in New Jersey with his Mother. The truth, I still do not know.

Dave joined Schlong with his brother, and Op Ivy roadie Pat. And then later went off with Tim, and Matt.

Dave was in Downfall after Op Ivy with Tim and Matt. After Downfall Tim and Matt went on to join the popular Ska/Punk group Rancid. If you are wondering about Matts last name, It is really Freeman, Jesse gave him the name McCall after a TV Character on The Equalizer with whom he had some similarities.

Another Op Ivy history/bio thing (there's sum cussing in it I blanked out, I got this from another page:

Shi**y jobs: Dave dumped brake fluid onto an assembly line, Matt served food at Fat's in Montclair and got treated like sh*t by rich yuppie fuc*s. Lint sold tie-dyes on Telegraph, "sh*t that I would never wear", and worked at the Albany 7-11. Jesse cleaned squid at an Italian-Greek-American Restaurant in Pittsburgh. Want to know how you clean squid? "First you pull the plastic backbone out of the squid. Then you remove all the guts. Then peel off the membraine on the outside, avoiding getting ink on you since it's poison and also causes blindness. then cut the head off and throw it in the sink"....

Pat, Dave's brother and OPIV's fifth member, is proud that being OPIV's roadie was the only job he's ever had. They split any money from shows five ways...Jesse also worked at Living Foods Market in Berkeley where his boss was Social Unrest's old singer, Creetin Chaos. Jesse re-named him "Crouton Couscous" But still bit his style a bit, listen to Social Unrest's first record and you'll see what I mean...

A Short History: Matt and Lint were in a long line of bands together: the Noise, the Uncool, Primitive Cove, basic Radio, and a bunch of others. Basic Radio broke up when their second guitarist quit, leaving a nasty note for Lint and Matt saying he was tired of their "Lame Gig Contest: They got together with Jesse who had just returned from doing a few years in Pennsylvania where he'd sang for Screaming Outlash and played drums in two bands, Corpsegrinder and a metal band called Necropolis. Before that he'd been in S.A.G. in Berkeley, who eventually turned into Crimpshrine. Lint, Matt, and Jesse found Dave to play drums , he'd been in Distorted Truth, Rabbi Conspiracy, and some other obscure Albany Bands. They took the name "Operation Ivy" which was one of Isocracy's many old names.

First show was in May 1987 at one of the great Mellowhavs daytime garage shows, and on the same weekend they played Gilman opening up for Ganggreen. Later in the week was an acoustic set at the annual laundromat gathering. Lint: "What motivated me and Matt to break away from the scene we were in, the Basic Radio scene, was that we were sick of the danceclubs and mainstream clubs.

A lot of the Albany people thought we were loony tunes for going back to playing punk rock, playing parties. We had no idea that OPIV would ever sell a thousand records, that we would even make a record, we just wanted to play garages and Gilman Street" Jesse: "Everything blew up immediately, people knew the lyrics at our second show and were singing along. Here we were, just a band that wanted to play garage gigs, and I felt like the response we got was disproportionate. I used to have a problem with that, but now I'm really happy about how it all happened. There was a certain energy that occurred at our shows, we weren't responsible for it, the people going to the shows were responsible for it, but I'm very glad we could be a conduit for that energy. It was a moment when the things I tried to write about in my lyrics were actually happening--There was a sense of community, there was radically different people getting along with each other, and above all there was excitement and urgency. And I'm glad we were able to be a part of it"....

Okay, back to the band history retro sh*t: they got added to the "Turn it Around" plan at the last minute, and had only been a band for 3 months when they recorded for it. Recorded their demo tape the same weekend but never got around to releasing it. Recorded the Hectic 7" a few months later, and should've put "Plea for Peace" on it but they were dumb. David Hayes, then half of Lookout records, was at the mixing session at the Dangerous Rhythm, and outside the studio he jumped onto a mailbox and oops, it wasn't bolted to the ground. Result: one broken ankle and a $400 hospital bill. Dave Mello's Dad, a doctor, assisted.....

Let's see, "Hectic" came out in January 88 and they left on a U.S. tour in the spring, the five of them. (David Hayes as roadie, Pat had to stay home and go to High School) In Matt's 1967 Chrysler Newport. "I liked it, it was comfortable, compact" says Matt, "I like it because it wasn't very extravagant" They always made me ride on the hump on the backseat" says Dave Mello. Jesse: "Matt only played one tape the entire tour and it drove us crazy" Lint: "David Hayes wouldn't talk to us for a couple days at a time, finally it came to a point where he'd only say "Twelve" no matter what we asked him" David Hayes on the most horrifying tour experience: "The one time Lint drove"....

They played a show with the Zero Boys in Chicago and put toilet paper in their ears as makeshift earplugs, but after the show Dave and Jesse couldn't get the toilet paper out. They had to go to the Emergency Room to get it removed. The weird thing is that the hospital charged Jesse $48 and Dave $62 for the same thing....Dave says that it happened to Jesse again years later, when he came by a Schlong rehearsal. Jesse says the hospital charged Dave extra cuz they had to remove part of his brain, which greatly improved his drumming....

Favorite Ramones song? Lint: "Suzy is a Headbanger", Dave: "I Don't Wanna Go Down to the Basement", Matt: "Cretin Hop", Jesse: "Havanna Affair"....actually, OPIV played "Cretin Hop", a bunch of other covers too: "Troublebound" which is a Blasters song, "Concrete Jungle" by the Specials, Isocracy's "Rodeo", a Basic Radio song, part of a Journey song, and even "Start Me Up" by the Rolling Stones....

Stolen riffs: Matt says he ripped off part of a bass line from X's "I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts" and put it in "Bad Town", and also borrowed a lot of John Entwhistle licks. Lint says the first part of "Yellin' in my Ear" is kind of like a freaky executive song.....

Jesse's most terrifying drug experience: "On Exctasy with Jake and he started coming on to me, he was only joking but I thought he was serious" Worst thing Dave ever ate: "Canned cream of tuna soup that had been sitting out for four years, it made me puke" Lint's fave drinking spot: "Regal Park, North Berkeley. Me and Matt went there to play music and drink every weekend for years"

Matt's worst self-inflicted injury: "Playing at Genoa House, jumping and hitting my head on the hanging P.A. cabinet and knocking myself out cold, I had to go to the hospital"....Past glories: Jesse put out a few different fanzines: "Kill Deal for just 50", "Tedium", "Rats in the Street", and others.

Matt was the Gilman garbageman for a year or so. Dave put on a series of Mellowhavs party/shows in his Albany garage. Lint hosted some weird cable T.V. show....How many V-neck shirts does Matt own? "20 or 30. I have winter V-necks which are 50% Polyester and 50% Cotton, and summer V-necks that are 100% cotton and one size bigger, looser for the hot weather. Now I even have an Econochrist and a Schlong V-neck"... Jesse on hedgediving: "Stay away from junipers"....

Back to the History: In the fall and winter of 1988 they played nearly every small town in the bay area and did weekend trips to L.A. and Arizona. After a long, drawn-out attempt at recording an album at Gilman, they gave up that plan and did it with Kevin Army at Sound + Vision. That was in January 89, and the "Energy" album came out four months later....

Operation Ivy's most ridiculous shows: Dave says "Driving 13 hours through rain and sleet to play in Lexington, Kentucky to three people, two who just happened to be there at the bar. But we had a lot worse on the Schlong tour" Lint: "The laundromat show in Albany, that was pretty ridiculous" Jesse: "Playing with Squat Thrust in Austin. The drummer was in a giant plastic bubble. The bassist was wearing an orange jumpsuit stuffed with pillows and he was breathing fire with kerosene, walking around in the audience on stilts saying "Beware Puny Mortals" They had a Bunch of crazy people with them that kept walking onstage and mocking me while we were playing.

In Tucson we played with the Screaming Chicken Butts. We started playing ska and everybody started skanking, and a huge cloud of dust formed so that the band could barely see. In between songs 3 different people came up and told me that we should move away from the dust and try not to breathe any of it cuz a lot of out of town bands that came through Tucson got a disease from this dust, called "Tucson Dust Fu*k" or something, and it would lay you out for like nine days" Matt: "The most ridiculous show for me was the last show. Gilman was totally packed, you couldn't move. There was like 700 people and all of them were asking me questions, "Why are you breaking up?", "What are you gonna do now?" It was out of control. I didn't want to be there"

That was right after their album came out, in May 1988, when they decided to call it quits after two years and something like 185 shows. Jesse: "The last show was cool, but to me our last show was a party the day before because the atmosphere was more intimate, more spontaneous, and it was more underground. I always felt that was the whole spirit of the band as far as I was concerned"....Lint: " Things were pretty shi**y for me before Gilman, before OPIV, but those two years were some of the best times I've ever had".....