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Pete Murray — vocals/programming

Neil Godfrey — guitars

Jerry Oliviera — guitars

Dan Ogden — bass

Tyler Clark — drums

(I've heard they have a new drummer, but it's not listed, so give me a little time and I'll update for you)

In 1991, the five dimensions of Ultraspank formed out of the rather small and healthy (if incestuous) scene in Santa Barbara, California, where it seems everybody has played in the same band with or shared the same stage with everybody else. Bassist Dan Ogden joined Murray and drummer Tyler Clark in the speed metal band Indica. This unit's natural chemistry was rewarded by MTV in its 1992 search for the Best College Rock Band: Indica suddenly found themselves performing live on MTV in Daytona Beach, Florida. "When we played Daytona Beach, I had only played five gigs," says Murray, still amazed. "I was really bad and it's all on videotape to be reviewed." Hardly "bad," Indica won the contest.

In late 1995, Murray, Ogden, Clark, and guitarist Neil Godfrey began making less metal and more groove-oriented rock as Spank, a "more focused band," according to Ogden. "We worked on the songs and rehearsed for a while before we seriously put an effort into spreading the word." The addition of guitarist Jerry Oliviera strengthened their sound, as the younger musician brought fresh ideas into the fold. Soon after the band inked a deal with Epic Records, a copyright problem required a name change to Ultraspank.

In order to capture the varied pacing and moods of Ultraspank, the band enlisted David Bottrill (Tool, Peter Gabriel, King Crimson) to both produce and mix their debut. "What we had was good, but we wanted to work with someone to expand our sound — we didn't want to make your standard heavy metal record," Murray explains. "We were looking for someone who would offer input, and through his arrangement and programming help, we were able to refine our sound on several songs."

Recorded during the summer of 1997 in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara studios, Ultraspank is a dozen very distinct rhythmic songs that are still clearly part of one body. The performances are united by the forceful guitar rock of Godfrey and Oliviera, the grooving beats and counter beats of Ogden and Clark, and Pete Murray's inventive programming and impressive vocal range.

Lyrically, Murray focuses on the everyday frustrations of life: While dark and cynical on the surface, the underlying spirit is a positive one. "Being aware of negativity and being able to stand amidst it is a positive thing," he explains. "Unknowingly lying in shit is a grim prospect." Songs like "Butter" (the premier radio track) and "Wrapped" portray characters who promise the world but deliver nothing; "Slip" and "Fired" are about getting up after being knocked down. And while most of the lyrics are serious, Murray lets his odd humor appear—most notably on "No, Man My Hands Are Dirty," a humorous catch-phrase unknowingly started by an L.A. rapper mixing his record in the same studio as Ultraspank.

Already experienced in cross-country touring (with such bands as Life of Agony, Far, and Stuck Mojo), Ultraspank know they are at the beginning of a long road filled with sleepless nights and truck-stop eats. But Pete Murray says it's all good.

"We expect to be on the road for two years and we are looking forward to it, building a following. One-hit wonder stuff goes fast. We want to do it slow and build something that you can rely on—a strong and steady fan base…I hope we can just keep making records, tour incessantly and continue to have fun."Damon 04/07/1998

All quotes taken from