Nebula Interview & Full Album Stream Pt. 3: Dos EPs


[Click play above to stream the new reissue of Nebula’s Dos EPs in its entirety. Album is out March 2 via Heavy Psych Sounds.]

Please note: This interview is part three in a series of three. Part one is here. Part two is here.

With its graceful execution of desert psych in “Back to the Dawn,” the full-on fuzz assault of “Fall of Icarus” and the quintessential nodder groove and Rhodes-infused jammy excursion of “Fly On,” Nebula‘s Dos EPs represents the end of an era. It was originally issued in 2002 via MeteorCity, and it’s the last of the band’s releases to feature the trio’s original lineup of guitarist/vocalist Eddie Glass, bassist Mark Abshire and drummer Ruben Romano. That in itself would be enough to earn it a place as a footnote in heavy rock history, but while it was culled together by collecting tracks from two prior short outings and thee previously unreleased cuts, here’s the thing about Dos EPs: it worked really well as a full-length album.

Eerily well.

Better, certainly, than it should have. Credit to the flow in Nebula‘s material generally, I suppose, that the 11 tracks on Dos EPs should just be molten enough generally to ooze together as a cogent single offering despite being captured in different sessions and initially put out separately in 1999 as the Man’s Ruin-released Sun Creature EP — “Rollin’ My Way to Freedom,” “Sun Creature,” “Smokin’ Woman” and “Fly On” — and a split with Sweden’s Lowrider — “Anything from You,” “Full Throttle,” “Back to the Dawn,” “Fall of Icarus.” These plus the new songs “Rocket,” the maddenly infectious “Long Day” and “Bardo Airways” comprise Dos EPs, and in so doing end up summarizing the scope from hard-driving heavy rock à la most-stoned-Motörhead to kraut-inspired layers of acoustic and electric guitar swirl. Though technically speaking, 2001’s Charged was the final Nebula long-player to be recorded with GlassAbshire and Romano, more often it’s Dos EPs marked out as the last full-length work the band did before they jumped from Sub Pop to short-lived Century Media offshoot Liquor and Poker Records and, losing Abshire in the interim, released  Atomic Ritual in 2003.

The new remaster of Dos EPs from Heavy Psych Sounds — aside from sounding fucking fantastic, as you can hear in the player above you stream the album ahead of its official March 2 release date– reorders the songs so that they apprear not mixed together as they originally were, but in the order from their initial releases. That is, you get the Lowrider split tracks, then you get the stuff from Sun Creature, then you get the material that had yet to show up anywhere else. Then of course on this version there are two bonus tracks included. This gives Dos EPs a somewhat more organized and linear feel, though again, the real highlight of the thing is the vibe Nebula are able to bring to bear in these songs. It’s something that, across whatever the band did afterwards and no matter who was involved, would never be quite the same again.

Before I wrap up this series, I’d like to thank Ruben Romano (now of The Freeks) personally for taking the time to discuss these three releases. It’s been great getting his side of the story about what any consider Nebula‘s highlight years. Thanks as well to Claire Bernadet for facilitating. The final Q&A follows here.

Please enjoy:

nebula dos eps

Where did the idea come from to compile Sun Creature and the Lowrider split onto a single disc? What about adding “Rocket,” “Long Day” and “Bardo Airways” to that mix? Do you consider Dos EPs a full-length album?

I think it was recording those three songs that gave us the idea to combine the two EP’s. It was like, we got three kick ass songs! What are we going to do with them? Man’s Ruin was done and the Sun Creature EP reverted back to us. MeteorCity was looking for a second release, whether it was a contractual thing or not I don’t know. Can’t remember everything. But Jadd Shickler was stoked on putting the MeteorCity stamp on it, so yes, we turned it into a full-length that never got released on vinyl until now with these reissues.

How did working with Man’s Ruin come about for Sun Creature? What did you think when you first saw Frank Kozik’s cover art? How about getting paired with Lowrider for that split? How did the two of you get hooked up?

I think that just being on the road a lot at that time, being a band from that era and in that scene is how it really came down to happening. Having the Fu Manchu connection, the Kyuss and QOTSA connection on top of kicking ass is how we got in with Frank and Man’s Ruin.

I have always enjoyed rock art! I have no idea how it happened but all of a sudden, in high school, I started receiving “art rock” catalogs. They were like 10-page pamphlets selling old rock posters from Rick Griffin, Stanley “Mouse” Miller, Victor Moscoso, etc. I would gaze at them for hours. It also featured comic art like Furry Freak Brothers, Wizard of Id, and a lot of Crumb. So when Kozik came around and then started dealing music I was thrilled. I expected more of that Kozik comic book character cover, like the label’s cat logo or his classic bunny rabbits, so when I saw this girl eating a mango I was totally surprised. And I thought to myself, She’s HOT!!!

We had nothing to do with the pairing with Lowrider, Man’s Ruin did all that. However, I remember the first time I met Peder [Bergstrand] from Lowrider, it was at Loppen in Christiania. This was way before that split happened, I believe we were touring with Unida at that time. I feel bad now because at that time he kind of annoyed me because I was trying to eat and he kept asking me questions that I couldn’t answer because I had food in my mouth. But after that, and then with the split, we became friends. Then I once had a random encounter with him in Barcelona, Spain. Ran into him while we were both on holidays, so we got our ladies and went out and had dinner together. I can say I’m totally still friends with him, a cool and funny person for sure.

This was the last release with the original lineup. Looking back on it now, how do you feel about what you, Eddie and Mark were able to accomplish in those early years together? Any specific memories of recording or touring you’d like to share from this time?

They were my brothers, I was completely and totally loyal to Nebula at that time. I mean, I was totally loyal to Fu Manchu as well when I was a part of that. When I’m into something, I’m into it 110 percent. I declined so many invitations and missed opportunities to jam with other people and other bands because I was already in a band that I truly believed in, admired and was devoted to. We were a gang! We did accomplish a lot, there’s no doubt about it. The memories I have could fill a book — how cliché is that? — but it’s true.

From tour managers getting into fistfights with bus drivers to getting teeth knocked out trying to tackle the roadie. From getting left behind in Sweden while the bus is already in Denmark. Hitting every go kart track that we saw on the highway no matter how late we were. Having to save someone from imminent jail time for tossing a cigarette butt on a Spanish tarmac while flipping the bird at the pilot because I was the only one who spoke Spanish. Always looking back and Ninja Luke always being there without fail and on cue ready to torch the gong! Being told “Hey, those aren’t walnuts, those are psychedelic truffles! Did you eat all those?”

All those times and many more were all specific! The places I’ve seen, the people I met and the friends I’ve made. Man, I loved touring and those two were right there beside me.

Anything else you’d like to say about Dos EPs in particular?

Out of all these reissues, I always loved the cover for Dos EPs the best. Taken from a book cover I found in the children section of the public library entitled “LSD” and having Mark superimpose us within it. It came out beautiful! I am so stoked to finally see that one released as a 12”.

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