At the moment, Ollie Stone — a.k.a. Ollie Tamale, super-spastic, ultra-perky frontwoman of Los Angeles pop-rockers the Oohlas — has a daily schedule that could best be described as, well, relaxed.
“Right now I’m walking down to the Wilshire/Western Metro station in Koreatown. I’m going to go have a drink with some friends of mine,” she told MTV News via cell phone. “This has pretty much been my routine for the past few weeks, which is kind of insane and a little weird.”
That’s putting it mildly, especially considering that this conversation took place at roughly 11:30 a.m. On a Monday. Which means that while the rest of us are working, Stone is drinking.
“I’m only having a Bloody Mary!” she laughed. “Besides, I’m trying to relax for a few days, because I’m sure things are about to get batsh– crazy.”
She’s probably right. On September 26, the Oohlas — Stone, former Everclear drummer Greg Eklund on guitar and his brother Mark on bass (plus a revolving door of drummers) — will release their debut album, the fizzy and buzzy Best Stop Pop, on Island Records’ incubator label Stolen Transmission. They’re in the process of sifting through video treatments for the first single, “Small Parts,” and will be hitting the road for a full U.S. tour tentatively scheduled for early October.
It’s enough to make anyone’s head spin. But for Stone — who moved to L.A. less than three years ago from the suburbs of Phoenix — fame is something she’s been gearing for her entire life.
“It’s an honor to be on Island Records,” she said. “I remember being a kid and looking on the back of Cranberries albums and seeing the [label's] logo and thinking how cool it would be to be signed to Island. Not a lot of bands get a chance, so we’re incredibly lucky. And it’s something I’ve been thinking about ever since I had braces and was singing ska songs in some terrible band.”
Her string of terrible bands continued until she met Mark Eklund two years ago. He was working for Stone’s aunt, doing post-production work on “Dinner and a Movie,” the long-running TBS cooking/chat show. Mark introduced her to his brother, Greg, who had recently split from Portland, Oregon, alterna-rockers Everclear. The three hit it off almost immediately, thanks to some similar influences (“We talked about Nirvana and Warren G,” Stone laughed) and were soon jamming out in Greg’s garage-turned-studio, a tiny sweatbox affectionately known as Baby Bulldog Studios.
“I was really surprised that we hit it off so quickly — I thought I was going to move out to L.A. and find myself playing with guitarists with long hair and huge bellies and bad taste,” Stone said. “But we just got in there, in that little studio, and played and played. And it was like, ‘This is it. I’ve found my niche.’ ”
Soon the Oohs were gigging around L.A., earning a dedicated and enthusiastic fanbase. Within a year, they had an EP released on Stolen Transmission. But to this day, they’ve yet to launch a full-scale tour. And with an album due in less than a month, Stone is a bit concerned that their lack of touring may hamper their shot at success.
So for the benefit of those who haven’t yet gotten the chance to catch the Oohlas’ perky, punky live set — which is the vast majority of the population — Stone has offered to describe it. And she hopes it’s enough to draw fans out whenever the band does hit the road.
“Live, we’re sort of spastic and nervous and excited and loud and fuzzy and happy and reverb-y and glittery and feathery,” she laughed. “So come on down and check us out. Please.”
Track list for the Oohlas’ Best Stop Pop, according to Stolen Transmission:
- “Across the Stars in Blue”
- “Small Parts”
- “Rupert Krikor Chang”
- “TV Dinner”
- “Cahuenga Shuffle”
- “From Me to You”
- “Snow Shoes”
- “The Rapid”