Back in 1993, Jeff Elbel and art-rock/Americana hybrid Farewell to Juliet made an indie-scene splash with the release of Echoes of Laughter. The highlight of a busy year was a performance on the Cornerstone Festival's New Band Showcase stage. Though the Big Record Deal proved elusive, the band won consistently fabulous reviews and a loyal underground fan base for its literate, heartfelt pop. Exactly five years later, FTJ celebrated Marathon Records' release of Grace and Dire Circumstances with even stronger critical support and an unprecedented second performance on the same Cornerstone Festival stage. "We were the oldest 'new band' around. If we're lucky, they'll have us play again when we release our third album," Jeff laughs. "That group isn't quite finished yet. We're separated by state lines, but we remain close friends, and there's always been a three-album vision for the band. Pop culture must have programmed our brains for trilogies," he muses, "though we're not exactly rushing it."

In the intervening years, Jeff has done a great deal of extracurricular work, writing and releasing albums with groups as diverse as the world-beat/jazz influenced funk-pop of Sunny Day Roses and the hard-edged, street smart EDL. Jeff also recorded albums with Blackball and LSU as a session player, and began producing other artists. Jeff's production clients include younger bands such as Thee Spivies, Officer Negative, and the Hopescope, as well as established artists like Michael Knott and Brian Healy.

Jeff's creative activity currently centers upon what he calls "pseudo-solo work" with a collective dubbed Ping. "I prefer not to cut people out of the picture who are quite talented and could certainly be spending time elsewhere," he says, "so I hesitate to call it solo material. It's all covered by the Ping umbrella. Ping is more along the lines of what I'd do with FTJ if I were band autocrat, though I'm glad I'm not. Ping lets me rock a little harder, and bring out some of the King's X, Seventy-Sevens, and Adam Again influences that were tucked further into FTJ or Sunny Day Roses' sounds. Ping allows me to explore trip-hop and ambient textures if that seems interesting at the time, which we've done on a couple of compilation project singles. Since our first full-length release, No Outlet, is all acoustic, we were able to work in the rootsy stuff I love about bands like Vigilantes of Love, too."

Some No Outlet tracks were debuted in September 2000 at a benefit show in Ontario, California for the Gene Eugene Memorial Fund. Gene Eugene was the frontman for Adam Again and resident producer at the Green Room studio in Huntington Beach, CA. Like many working musicians, Gene died without insurance. "The original idea was to bring a new EP, sell it at the event, and help raise funds," Jeff explains. "When our original four songs missed the deadline, we kept going." No Outlet's ten tracks are split between brand new material and acoustically rendered previews of songs from Ping's forthcoming concept album, Meet Your Maker. That should not imply that No Outlet is a cast-off. "These are fully realized, full band treatments of our songs," Jeff enthuses. "We were able to go for different textures than what we'll get on the fully-amped album."

Furthermore, "No Outlet is still a benefit for Gene's memorial fund," says Jeff. "When the fund meets its goal, we'll donate any additional proceeds to Habitat for Humanity. Hopefully, people will enjoy the music, and we can add valuable support to the causes at the same time."

Contact Jeff Elbel:
PO Box 1222 * El Segundo, CA USA * 90245-6222
(310) 525-5518 day * 355-0533 eve

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