Imperial Teen (1996-present): a Rock band from San Francisco, California, USA.
merican indie-pop band Imperial Teen under the membership of Roddy Bottum (ex-Faith No More; guitar/vocals), Will Schwartz (guitar/vocals), Jone Stebbins (bass/backing vocals) and Lynn Truell (drums/backing vocals) was originally called Star 69, but was forced to change the name after a band from New York threatened to sue. They first gained notice with their debut album, Seasick (1996), an album produced by Steve McDonald of Redd Kross. The album that boasted tracks about homosexuality (Butch), Kurt Cobain (R.I.P.; ex-Nirvana; You're One), and complete nonsense (Imperial Teen). You're One proved to be the album's breakout single, receiving heavy radio play with a promotional video to follow.
What Is Not to Love (1998) expanded the three-minute pop style of their debut with songs of over six minutes in length. The spin-off single Yoo Hoo appeared on the soundtrack to the movie Jawbreaker; Rose McGowan, the star of that movie, also appeared alongside the band in the promotional video for the song. To add authenticity to a parody scene in Not Another Teen Movie, Yoo Hoo is heard briefly during Jaime Pressly's slow-motion entrance. Yoo Hoo was also heard at the beginning of the Numb3rs season 4 episode Black Swan and the Daria season 3 episode Daria Dance Party.
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By 1998 their success led to opening several dates for Hole, fronted by Courtney Love, along with friend and former Faith No More band mate Roddy Bottum. Imperial Teen was also slated to be the opening act for one leg of the 1999 Marilyn Manson and Hole co-headlined Beautiful Monsters Tour, but the tour was aborted after soon after starting when Hole dropped out and Manson had to postpone dates due to an ankle injury. Imperial Teen settled for a headlining a club tour instead.
In 1999 The Advocate said of the band, "With lyrical allusions to wearing lipstick and male pronouns used to address love objects, Imperial Teen serves up a gay sensibility that ordinarily surfaces only from straight bands like Pulp or Pizzicato Five". Bottum (who came out as gay in 1993) noted, "I think there's a resistance from gay artists to go that route just because it's so predictable. But it is annoying to see bands play it as safe as they do these days. That's why something that visually screams as loud as Marilyn Manson is such a breath of fresh air".
Issues with support levels and label restructuring at 'Universal Records' prompted the band to switch to 'Merge Records' for On (2002. Imperial Teen then toured with The Breeders in 2002 in support of the album. On July 31, 2002, the band played at Maxwell's in Hoboken, New Jersey; the event was recorded for posterity and released three months later as the live CD Live at Maxwell's.
The Hair the TV the Baby and the Band (2007) would arrive next on 'Merge Records'. Feel the Sound (2012) and Now We Are Timeless (2019) followed.
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