Dude Ranch (album)

Dude Ranch
Studio album by Blink-182
Released June 17, 1997
Recorded 1996–1997 at Big Fish Studios in Encinitas, California
Genre Punk rock, skate punk
Length 44:53
Label MCA Records/Cargo Music
Producer Mark Trombino
Blink-182 chronology
They Came to Conquer... Uranus
(1995)
Dude Ranch
(1997)
Enema of the State
(1999)
Singles from Dude Ranch
  1. "Dammit (Growing Up)"
    Released: September 23, 1997
  2. "Apple Shampoo"
    Released: October 7, 1997
  3. "Dick Lips"
    Released: February 24, 1998
  4. "Josie (Everything's Gonna Be Fine)"
    Released: November 17, 1998

Dude Ranch is the second studio album by American punk band Blink-182. Recorded at Big Fish Studios in Encinitas, California with producer Mark Trombino, the album was first released on June 17, 1997 in the United States on independent label Cargo Music. The follow-up to their successful debut Cheshire Cat (1994), the record was a success and "Dammit", "Apple Shampoo", "Dick Lips", and "Josie" were released as singles, with the former and latter receiving the greatest success.

The band recorded the album in late 1996. With lyrical material written periodically over the band's nonstop tours from 1995 to 1996, as well as completed songs, the band recorded with Trombino in sessions that lasted for one month. During the production for Dude Ranch, the members of Blink-182 were plagued with difficulties only made worse by the quick schedule: bassist Mark Hoppus and guitarist Tom DeLonge, co-vocalists for the band, were having vocal problems and drummer Scott Raynor had to record his drum tracks with both heels broken, on crutches.

Promoted by lead single "Dammit", which brought the band to a new audience and helped gain mainstream popularity, the album received positive reviews and has been certified platinum by the RIAA. Thanks to increased popularity, the band signed with MCA Records in 1998 to handle increased distribution. Raynor would be fired the same year and replaced with Travis Barker. The record has been cited as a classic in the development of the pop punk genre.

Contents

Background

After decent sales of their debut album Cheshire Cat (1994), released on independent record label Cargo Music, Blink-182 enjoyed a small amount of success. However, the band was unhappy with the limited distribution of Cheshire Cat. By the end of 1995, problems had become apparent between the trio and the label, who regarded the band as a joke not to be taken seriously.[1] As the band began to travel more places around the nation on tour, they found that distribution for Cheshire Cat was unsatisfactory, as many fans complained that they could not find the album in their local record shops. Although the band had released two 7-inch EP recordings with Cargo during the interim, they realized that it was time to record a new album for the demanding audiences.[2]

Beginning in March 1996, several labels courted the band, sending A&R reps to shows and inviting the band to stop by the office for lunch meetings.[1] Through the several labels interested, Blink-182 took serious looks at Interscope, Epitaph, and MCA Records (the latter of which had just purchased Interscope and was in the process of buying Cargo). The band spent much time during the spring and summer of 1996 contemplating options. Despite coming out of a recent dead spell, MCA's persistence and sincerity won the band over, as well as their promise of complete artistic freedom.[3] Blink-182 would sign with the label two years later.

Thanks to the band's established fan base and merchandising, MCA did not intervene much in the band's activities. Although the label had granted the band complete artistic freedom in their contract, MCA did step in and warn the band when they planned to feature a spoof of the "Macarena" on Dude Ranch, humorously titled "Hey Wipe Your Anus".[4]

Recording and production

Before recording of the album officially began, the band booked time at DML Studios in Escondido, California, where they perfected the songs for Dude Ranch.[5] Much of the lyrics for the album had been written periodically over 1995 and 1996, while touring. The two young musicians were at a creative peak, which was later attributed to the excitement of recording a new album. "I remember writing most of those songs in my living room, sitting on a curb, whatever," recalled DeLonge in 2001. "Back then, each song was pretty much written with a specific girl or event in mind."[5]

The band entered Big Fish Studios in Rancho Santa Fe, California in late 1996 to record Dude Ranch. Big Fish was actually a converted guesthouse on a large piece of property in the countryside area, which had just survived a wildfire months before.[6] However, the gloomy atmosphere did not faze Blink-182 at all, and what was a tragedy to local individuals became fodder for jokes for the band; bassist Mark Hoppus had just bought a new video camera and he filmed stunts with guitarist Tom DeLonge on the burnt landscape in spare time.[5] Thanks to improved economics, the band had more time in the studio to record the album they wanted to make. Blink-182 picked Mark Trombino as producer for the new record, as they loved the work he had done with Jimmy Eat World.[7] The band spent much time trying to get Trombino to laugh at their antics, to no avail. Hoppus' sister, Anne Hoppus, describes Trombino in the biography Blink-182: Tales from Beneath Your Mom as very quiet and "very much his own person."[7] Trombino provided additional piano and keyboards on Dude Ranch.[8]

Despite the creative boom while writing lyrics for the album, all three members of Blink-182 faced setbacks while recording Dude Ranch. DeLonge was having vocal problems and spent much time recording and re-recording vocal tracks, and Hoppus realized he too was having vocal problems after losing his voice during a one-off Christmas concert.[9] Forced to cancel the final week of recording in December 1996, Hoppus realized the magnitude of the situation and quit smoking in order to take care of his voice, which was stressed due to lack of vocal warm-ups, full days of vocal tracks, and the strain of singing for "Dammit", which was accidentally written just outside of Hoppus' vocal range.[9] Meanwhile, Raynor had recently broken both heels and was in a wheelchair. Raynor was well enough to record the drum tracks for the album while on crutches.[9]

It would be early 1997 until the band would be able to wrap up sessions for Dude Ranch, eventually amounting to one month of recording. For the final touches, Unwritten Law frontman Scott Russo donated a few vocal tracks to the album, and Trombino let Blink-182 record a couple of jokes between songs using his sound-effects machine.[10] The band had confidence and was very happy with the album, Hoppus recalling "I remember when we finished Dude Ranch I was so proud. That was the first time we could take the time and whatever to make a good record."[10] After production completed, the album was mastered by Brian Gardner at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Hollywood.[8]

Packaging

The cover art, painted by Lou Beach, features a bull with the band's name branded on its rear end, while the packaging is decorated by images of the band as cowboys on a "dude ranch".[8][11] The gatefold packaging features a painting stating "Greetings from the Blink-182 Dude Ranch," which was intended to be a pastiche of both "cheesy postcards" and a parody of Bruce Springsteen's Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J..[11] Art direction for the album was headed by Tim Stedman, with Stedman and graphic designer Ashley Pigford designing the package.[8] The disc art, a revolver chamber, was designed by artist Victor Gastelum, while the band photography was done by Steven Shea.[8]

Release and promotion

Dude Ranch was officially released on June 17, 1997 through Cargo Music. Upon the release of Dude Ranch in June 1997, the album peaked at number 67 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and initially, the album passed without much notice.[12] The record hit stores in June 1997, just as Blink-182 was heading out on the nationwide Warped Tour.[10] With fans spreading the news and the trio touring nonstop, the album's sales began to improve.[10] However, when "Dammit" began gaining popularity at rock radio stations around the nations, the album's sales improved considerably.[13] Thanks to increased recognition, the band signed with MCA in 1998 to handle increased distribution. Hardcore punk purists asserted the band were betraying their indie roots by even considering major label proposals and began to address the band as "sell-outs".[13] The popularity of the trio in Australia has been cited as the sign that alerted major record companies of Dude Ranch's commercial potential; at the time, Dude Ranch had spent five months on the charts and the band became famous for their staged show while on the 1997 Warped Tour.[13]

The record's lead single, "Dammit", was released in the summer of 1997, and instantly began growing in popularity.[10] The song was added to the playlist of influential alternative Los Angeles-based radio station KROQ, and soon, the song began to played across the country.[10] With "Dammit" still attracting an audience, "Josie" was released as the second single.[14] Two more tracks from Dude Ranch, "Apple Shampoo" and "Dick Lips" were released in support of the album as promo singles. Although music videos for both "Dammit" and "Josie" were shot, none received extensive MTV play, but were viewed as incredible successes for the upstart band.[15] "I Won't Be Home for Christmas" was released as a promotional single in 1998. It was re-released as an international single in 2001, only charting in Canada, but becoming a major success there.

In January 1998, Dude Ranch was certified gold for 500,000 copies sold in the United States.[10][16] "When I heard that we had gone gold, I was like, cool. It was a big thing, but it didn't really hit me," said DeLonge in 2001. "We we went to MCA, and they actually handed us a gold record, then I understood what was going on and it blew me away. It was a totally acknowledgement for all of our hard work. It was awesome."[14] Dude Ranch was certified platinum for the first time in 1999.[17]

In 2010, two different rereleases of the album occurred on vinyl. Independent record label Mightier Than Sword Records released various copies of the album in different colors, while a translucent orange-colored LP was available from Geffen / Universal Music Special Markets.[18]

Reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[19]
IGN 7/10 stars [20]
Sputnikmusic 4/5 stars[21]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[22]

The album received positive reviews. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic believed Dude Ranch to be an improvement over Cheshire Cat, commenting that their "songwriting is still a little uneven," but praising the "catchy hooks."[19] IGN reviewed the album positively, however, complained that "My biggest gripe with Dude Ranch, is that even though, embedded into each song, has something that makes it different from the rest, in the end, the music seems to sound the same."[20] In 2007, Channing Freeman of Sputnikmusic attributed the album's unique sound to the band's young age at the time, commenting "Ten years ago, blink-182 were just breaking through as a young band whose sound was a bit rough around the edges, not too polished or refined yet. […] On Dude Ranch, blink-182 were kids being kids, and that’s precisely what they should have been doing."[21] Rolling Stone reviewed the album positively, saying that it was the first time the band refined their sound.[22] AbsolutePunk placed the album on their "Absolute Classics" list in February 2009, calling it a "classic mix" that was successful due to timing.[23] It is mentioned in the song "1000 Times A Day" by The Early November on their triple release, The Mother, the Mechanic, and the Path.

"Voyeur" can be found on the soundtrack to the 1998 film Godmoney. "Enthused" can be found on the compilation albums Digital Snow (1997), SB1: Skiboarding Journey (1999), and the soundtrack to the film Idle Hands, although the song is not used in the film. A rare live version of "Apple Shampoo" from the 1997 Warped Tour can be found on the compilation album A Compilation of Warped Music II.

Dude Ranch touring

Beginning in the summer of 1997, Blink-182 would enter an extended period of touring that the hard realities of living on the road for so long would eventually change the face of the band. The group had played a handful of dates on the Vans Warped Tour 1996, a lifestyle tour promoting skateboarding and punk rock music. However, upon Dude Ranch's release and popularity, Blink-182 would play every date of the 1997 tour worldwide with influences NOFX and Social Distortion. "The Warped Tour is really more of a traveling-band barbecue," commented DeLonge. "You hang out with the other bands all day, you play your set, and then hang out again."[24] In late 1997 and early 1998, the band would be on the road for nine months straight, only coming home to San Diego for days at a time before striking out on the next tour.[25] "When we did our longest tour stretch, it was right when I started dating my fiancee," recalled DeLonge. "We were all new and in love, and I had to leave. It was just, 'Hey, I'll see you in nine months.' It was really hard."[26]

Desperate for a break, the overworked band began to argue and tensions formed.[26] The tension came to a head in February 1998 as the band embarked on SnoCore, described as "a winter version of the Warped Tour." Sharing the stage with Primus and The Aquabats, the band was enjoying more success than ever before, but the drama between the musicians had grown substantially.[27] However, there were many moments on the tours in support of the album that the band felt proud. Shortly after the conclusion of SnoCore was a short minitour along the western coast, most notably Southern California, the band's favorite place to play. The tour, described as "an undeniable success," ended with the band headlining a sold-out show at the Palladium in Hollywood, California, where the band had dreamed of performing at for years.[28]

Raynor left the short minitour that would follow SnoCore, only to return for the band's Hollywood Palladium performance.[29] Travis Barker, drummer of opening band The Aquabats, would fill in for Raynor in the remainder of the tour, learning the drum tracks before his first show in less than 45 minutes.[29] Upon Raynor's return, the band became increasingly uneasy and arguments grew worse.[30] Following a largely successful Australian tour in the spring, Hoppus and DeLonge fired Raynor through a phone call under mysterious circumstances that have never been fully explained.[30] Barker joined Blink-182 full-time in summer 1998 and toured with the band for the remainder of 1998, playing sold-out shows across America on the humorously named Poo-Poo Pee-Pee tour.[31]

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge and Scott Raynor

Dude Ranch
No. Title Length
1. "Pathetic"   2:27
2. "Voyeur"   2:43
3. "Dammit"   2:45
4. "Boring"   1:41
5. "Dick Lips"   2:57
6. "Waggy"   3:16
7. "Enthused"   2:48
8. "Untitled"   2:46
9. "Apple Shampoo"   2:52
10. "Emo"   2:50
11. "Josie"   3:20
12. "A New Hope"   3:45
13. "Degenerate"   2:28
14. "Lemmings"   2:38
15. "I'm Sorry"   4:27
Total length:
44:53

Bonus tracks

Personnel

Blink-182
Production

Chart history

Album

Year Chart Position
1997 Top Heatseekers 1
U.S. Billboard 200 67

Singles

Year Single Chart Position
1997 "Dammit" Modern Rock Tracks 11
Mainstream Rock Tracks 26
1998 Josie Australian Singles Chart 31

Certifications

Country Certification Sales
Australia Platinum 70,000 Units+
Canada Platinum 100,000 Units+
United States Platinum 1,000,000 Units+

Release history

Region Date Label Format Catalog Ref.
United States June 17, 1997 Cargo Music CD CRGSD-11624 [18]
Cargo Music / MCA CRGD-11624
CD (Promo) CRG3P-90054
Grilled Cheese LP GRL-004
MCA CD 111 624-2
United Kingdom
Europe
Argentina Universal Music Argentina
Australia Rapido RAP025
United States January 12, 2010 Mightier Than Sword LP MTS.016
Geffen / Universal Music Special Markets B0013811-01  ?

Song information

  • "A New Hope" is a reference to A New Hope, the subtitle of the original Star Wars film, as it contains numerous references to the Star Wars universe such as Han Solo, Lando, and Princess Leia.
  • "Boring", "Untitled", and "I'm Sorry" are all followed by brief spoken word skits.
  • "Lemmings" features a reference to the film Pulp Fiction with the line "..feeling that sting of pride, it's fucking with me, it's fucking with you." It is a reference to the Ving Rhames quote in the film, "You feel that sting big boy, huh? That's pride fucking with you. You gotta fight through that shit..."
  • "Dick Lips" is about an incident that occurred when Tom DeLonge was expelled from high school for showing up drunk to a basketball game.

References

  • Hoppus, Anne (October 1, 2001). Blink-182: Tales from Beneath Your Mom. MTV Books / Pocket Books. ISBN  0-7434-2207-4. 
  • Footman, Tim (September 1, 2002). Blink-182: The Unauthorised Biography in Words and Pictures. Chrome Dreams. ISBN 9781842401682. 

Notes

  1. ^ a b Hoppus, 2001. p. 61
  2. ^ Hoppus, 2001. p. 62
  3. ^ Hoppus, 2001. p. 64
  4. ^ Hoppus, 2001. p. 65
  5. ^ a b c Hoppus, 2001. p. 70
  6. ^ Hoppus, 2001. p. 69
  7. ^ a b Hoppus, 2001. p. 71
  8. ^ a b c d e (1997) Album notes for Dude Ranch by Blink-182 [liner notes]. US: Cargo Music / MCA Records (CRGD-11624).
  9. ^ a b c Hoppus, 2001. p. 72
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Hoppus, 2001. p. 74
  11. ^ a b Footman, 2002. p. 42
  12. ^ Footman, 2002. p. 43
  13. ^ a b c Footman, 2002. p. 44
  14. ^ a b Hoppus, 2001. p. 75
  15. ^ Hoppus, 2001. p. 77
  16. ^ 182&terminclude=&termexact= RIAA News Room - The Titanic Hits Eight Million Sales in RIAA Awards - Feb 27, 1998
  17. ^ http://www.riaa.com/goldandplatinumdata.php?content_selector=gold-platinum-searchable-database&artist=Blink+182 This is based on a search for "Blink 182" in the RIAA database. Such a result will bring forth at least one (as of 2011) result that is not by Blink-182.
  18. ^ a b "Blink-182 - Dude Ranch - Versions". Discogs. http://www.discogs.com/Blink-182-Dude-Ranch/master/38017. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  19. ^ a b Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Dude Ranch - Review". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/album/r281833. Retrieved March 6, 2011. 
  20. ^ a b C., Kody (July 10, 2003). "Dude Ranch - Review". IGN. http://music.ign.com/articles/428/428176p1.html. Retrieved May 16, 2010. 
  21. ^ a b Channing Freeman (June 20, 2007). "Dude Ranch - Review". Sputnikmusic. http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/12483/blink-182-Dude-Ranch/. Retrieved March 6, 2011. 
  22. ^ a b "Dude Ranch - Review". Rolling Stone. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/artists/blink-182/albumguide. Retrieved March 6, 2011. 
  23. ^ Absolute Classics (Feb. 2009) - Article - AbsolutePunk.net
  24. ^ Hoppus, 2001. p. 79
  25. ^ Hoppus, 2001. p. 80
  26. ^ a b Hoppus, 2001. p. 81
  27. ^ Hoppus, 2001. p. 83
  28. ^ Hoppus, 2001. p. 84
  29. ^ a b Hoppus, 2001. p. 85
  30. ^ a b Hoppus, 2001. p. 86
  31. ^ Hoppus, 2001. p. 88

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