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Artists and Bands

There and Back Again – The 88’s Journey from Independence to Major Label and Back to Independence Again

from L to R: Adam Merrin, Anthony Zimmitti, Todd O'Keefe, Keith Slettedahl (photo by Piper Ferguson)

The 88 is a Los Angeles-based pop rock group consisting of Keith Slettedahl (vocals & guitar), Adam Merrin (piano), Anthony Zimmitti (drums), and Todd O’Keefe (bass).  They’ve been releasing independent albums since 2002, and attracted major label interest for their 2008 record, “Not Only…But Also”.

The 88 has had countless songs placed in movies, television, and even video games, so odds are you’ve already heard music from this band.  Recently Adam talked to us about their new EP, “No One Here”, and much more.

Q:  Hello there and thanks for taking the time for an interview!  I really dug the new EP, “No One Here”.  What was the motivation to do the EP versus a full-length record?

A:  We recorded these songs in 2006, and actually did record a full length album, but the project got put on hold once we signed with Island Records.  One of the reasons we released this as an EP was because a lot of the songs were re-recorded for “Not Only…But Also” (2008, Island Records release), and we wanted to put out songs that people haven’t heard yet.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: The 88 “No One Here”

No One Here

The 88 is a Los Angeles-based pop rock group consisting of Keith Slettedahl (vocals & guitar), Adam Merrin (piano), Anthony Zimmitti (drums), and Todd O’Keefe (bass). They’ve been making music since their formation in 2002, landing song after song in hit television shows like The OC, Grey’s Anatomy, Gossip Girl, and One Tree Hill…to name a few. You may have also seen (or played) their song “Sons And Daughters” in the game, Rock Band 2. The 88 has recorded numerous independent albums and had a major label release in 2008 entitled, “Not Only…But Also”. If you missed it, you have to get it – one of the best modern rock and pop records of the year.

The 88 is back with a new 5-track EP called “No One Here”. Slettedahl sums up the main thing that makes me such a fan of The 88: “In the end, the thing that ties all of our songs together is the melodies…everything we do has that unifying element.” Things begin with “Think You Broke My Heart”, a signature The 88 cut applying British Invasion melodies to modern rock styles. “If Anyone Should Call” is a similar highlight with one of the most infectious and memorable choruses on the EP. Things slow down with a pair of delicate ballads, namely “I’ve Got A Name” and the piano-driven title track. The EP ends on an upbeat note with the sweeping song, “Not That Bad” – not that bad, indeed, thanks to the uplifting melodies and an earnest vocal from Slettedahl.

“No One Here” is short, but leaves a lasting impression. If you are looking for great modern rock that has not lost classic pop sensibility, it is due time you check out The 88. I’d especially recommend them for fans of American Hi-Fi, Augustana, or All-American Rejects. In addition to grabbing the EP, you should try to catch The 88 on the road through May with Ray Davies (The Kinks).

The 88 on MySpace. Official site.

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Rock and Roll Report TV: The 88 – Battlescar Live at Sea Level Records