Deep Dive: The BoDeans, BLEND
Today we celebrate the birthday of Kurt Neumann, best known as a member of the BoDeans, so to commemorate the occasion, we thought we’d take a look back at the band’s last album for Slash Records, an LP which is often forgotten because of its absence of a substantial chart hit.
Produced by Greg Goldman and the band, BLEND was released in 1996, arriving on the heels of the band finding belated success with their single “Closer to Free,” a song from their 1993 album GO SLOW DOWN which became a huge hit after being repurposed as the theme song for the Fox drama Party of Five. As such, there was definitely a desire from the label for the band to ride this new career momentum with BLEND, but the band members themselves were pointedly trying to avoid following the same sonic blueprint as “Closer to Free,” lest they be pigeonholed.
(In fact, much of BLEND had already been recorded before “Closer to Free” stumbled into newfound success, so that made it relatively easy for them to pull off such a thing.)
BLEND provided the BoDeans with a minor hit, though you’d be forgiven for forgetting “Hurt by Love,” since it definitely didn’t reach the same levels of success as “Closer to Free.” It did, however, end up being mixed by Bob Clearmountain, as did “The Understanding,” with Tchad Blake handling mixing duties for “Hey Pretty Girl,” and if you know anything about mixers, you know that those two guys are among the best in the business, so the band definitely had some talented folks in their corner.
In the end, BLEND stalled on the Billboard 200 at #132, five spots lower than the band’s previous album, and the BoDeans found themselves heading to the world of indie labels, but they have continued to survive, record, release albums, and tour their hearts out. If you haven’t spun BLEND in awhile, however, today’s a good day to do it, and when you do, think happy birthday thoughts in Kurt’s direction, won’t you?
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