Described in SPIN magazine as "a high-energy cross between Brian Wilson, Paul Stanley, and Elton John,” Adam Marsland's pop adventurism has earned him one of the more prolific and intriguing music careers of the last 15 years.
A talented singer, arranger, performer, multi-instrumentalist and "one of the most gifted songwriters to come out of the west coast in a long time" (Time Out-NY), Marsland has pulled off rock, punk, baroque pop, soul and alt-country through the course of ten albums and 24 tours. When his label collapsed on the week of the release of his band's third CD, he went totally underground, touring alone for 2 1/2 years straight and selling thousands of albums out of the back of a 1994 Toyota Tercel. More recently, thanks partly to a jaw-dropping band that includes a bonafide pop legend and a lengthy resume of quality work with a variety of artists, Marsland's diverse musical abilities have attracted a new audience.
Cockeyed Ghost/The Big Deal Era
A writer of songs "almost too literate and catchy for mass consumption" (All Music Guide), starting at age 16 Adam scored spotty college and commercial airplay with a series of quirky, self-released cassette and vinyl releases before moving to California to found the high-octane pop-punk band Cockeyed Ghost with current drummer Kurt Medlin. The band signed to Rykodisc-distributed indie Big Deal in 1996 and made two albums, KEEP YOURSELF AMUSED and NEVEREST, appeared with Fastball, Third Eye Blind and Shonen Knife, graced the cover of the L.A. Weekly and even appeared in an NBC-TV movie. A change in membership and a move toward emotional, baroque pop resulted in 1999's THE SCAPEGOAT FACTORY, which The New York Press named album of the year. It also coincided with Big Deal going bankrupt, killing momentum for the band.
The D.I.Y. Era
Marsland fought for and won back the rights to his albums and then pressed on with Cockeyed Ghost's last and finest album, LUDLOW 6:18, a desert rock film noir which came out in May 2001. At first ignored and poorly distributed, Adam hit the road in a series of "One Man, One Car, One Guitar" tours, logging 350 shows and 75,000 miles in the next two years, documented on his 2002 live album 232 DAYS ON THE ROAD. He also found time to contribute keyboards and vocals to L.A. singer/songwriter (now Tony-winning "Passing Strange" Broadway playwright) Stew and The Negro Problem on tours with Counting Crows and John Mayer and on the highly acclaimed albums JOYS AND CONCERNS and THE NAKED DUTCH PAINTER. The LUDLOW 6:18 CD eventually garnered a small, but devoted following. Bassist Robert Ramos left the band for family reasons shortly thereafter, and the Cockeyed Ghost moniker was retired.
Adam Marsland's Chaos Band
Returning back to Los Angeles, Adam formed an unlikely, but enduring, alliance with the similarly unpredictable soul chanteuse Evie Sands. Along with Cockeyed Ghost alumni Kurt Medlin and Severo and keyboardist John Perry, they cut Adam's solo studio debut YOU DON'T KNOW ME, which was released in 2004 and was the first of Adam's records to garner substantial commercial radio play. Adam Marsland's Chaos Band -- with ex-Dragster Barbie bassist Teresa Cowles replacing Severo, who left to join The Smithereens – began a rigorous playing schedule and stunned audiences with its NRBQ-like versatility, whipping out covers by Dead Kennedys and the O’Jays with equal panache, and playing as many as 60 songs in one night. They then mounted an ambitious tribute to Beach Boys Carl and Dennis Wilson with Beach Boys archivist (and co-producer of THE SMILE SESSIONS) Alan Boyd. This drew the attention of Beach Boy Al Jardine, who appeared with the band at a few shows that year.
Dennis and Carl Wilson Tribute Album
Grammy-award winning engineer Mark Linett (Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE) recorded the band's June 24, 2006 performance for the LONG PROMISED ROAD: SONGS OF DENNIS AND CARL WILSON – LIVE album, which was released over the internet in December and hit record stores March 13, 2007. The album, which showcased the band's harmonic and instrumental versatility and was released with few studio overdubs, was a steady seller throughout the year and even made the short list for a Grammy nomination, missing by only a few votes in the Pop Performance category.
"Daylight Kissing Night - Adam Marsland's Greatest Hits"
In 2008 Adam returned to full-time music-making with a 20 track album called DAYLIGHT KISSING NIGHT: ADAM MARSLAND'S GREATEST HITS released on March 18, 2008. With a artist-breaking $5.99 list price and several new recordings included, the album was his first marketed exclusively to the retail chain since his Big Deal days, and was the subject of an intense word-of-mouth campaign among Adam's fan base. The CD immediately sold out across the U.S. and reached #17 on Amazon's rock chart, followed by a traditional media campaign and a 40-date national tour in the summer.
Upon returning from tour, Adam immediately set to work on his first album of original material in five years. Despite the tragic deaths of two family members and a home invasion during recording, two album's worth of material was assembled around a coming-of-age storyline. The stylistically varied, 23-track double album GO WEST was released on August 18, 2009, immediately shooting to the top of Amazon's best-seller list (#22), followed by an extensive national press and radio campaign and a full-band tour of the U.S. throughout the last quarter of 2009. GO WEST made significant inroads to college radio, with 120 stations adding the record. Many critics and listeners considered the album Adam's finest album to date, but despite its quality (and a popular video for the single "When I Lied To Everyone"), the extreme length and diversity of the album coupled with the difficulties of touring in a recession hindered its breaking through to a larger audience.
While on tour, Adam added another achievement to his resume: writing an entire album in the van, and recorded all 14 songs from start to finish with his touring band in one 8-hour session at a studio outside Cleveland, Ohio with noted metal producer Bill Korecky. Titled HELLO CLEVELAND, it was released in January 2010. After 6 years, he also unexpectedly reunited with his bandmates in Cockeyed Ghost for a benefit concert in December 2009. After the release of HELLO CLEVELAND, Adam indicated that he would step back from promoting his own music to work with other artists.
Adam has become an increasingly sought-after triple threat (keyboards/guitar/vocals) session player, bandleader and sideman with a reputation for accuracy and detail, most notably after recording and playing live with Hal Blaine, Don Randi and Jerry Cole of the legendary Wrecking Crew. His list of backing credits includes members of the Beach Boys, Stew, Davie Allan, Carnie and Wendy Wilson, Pete Ham of Badfinger (posthumously), Paul Collins, Julia Fordham, Kjehl Johansen (Urinals), Sara Stanley, Rich McCulley, Kaz Murphy, Jeff Merchant and countless others. He acted as producer on soul singer Norman Kelsey's 2007 debut album A Talent For Loving, as well as arranging vocals on Anny Celsi's 2009 album Tangle Free World, and music directing the 2008 Carl Wilson Foundation concert at the Roxy Theatre. He opened his home studio to the public in February 2010 and his first production project there, Adam Exler's The Writing's On The Wall, was completed in June.
Adam did some shows fronting a version of the legendary '60s band The Standells in 2011, producing and writing a number of songs for a proposed comeback album before Adam left the band citing financial strains from the time commitments of the band and that "everything was not as it had originally seemed." This turned out to be a prescient move as the band became mired in litigation almost immediately after his depature. The nearly completed, Adam-produced "Standells" album, much more in the band's classic style than the recordings dueling versions of the band previewed in 2012, remains unreleased.
Undaunted but wiser, Adam returned to his own production and songwriting career. He also performed with a reunited lineup of the SST art-punk band Trotsky Icepick at their first live shows in 17 years, opening for the Meat Puppets. He inaugurated a series of highly successful "Adam's '70s Shows" with the Chaos Band, backing various artists on songs from that influential decade, and continues to maintain a busy schedule with sideman and production work. He is currently producing Norman Kelsey's second album at his home studio, Karma Frog, and is laying plans for a return to touring (and possibly new recording) in 2012.