Stripminers (left to right)—Holland Greco, DJ Bonebrake, Scrote, Brett Anderson, Paul Stinson, Brett Simons. - Photo by Elizabeth Sloan
“OUR SONGS ARE ALL TOTALLY DIFFERENT. SO IF you hate one, you’re in luck, because you’ll never hear one like that again,” states Stripminers vocalist Brett Anderson (who is also a member of the Donnas) on the band’s website. While all the tunes on Frail Hope Ranch impart a haunting Americana vibe, the band members—Anderson, vocalist/guitarist Paul Stinson, guitarist/producer Scrote, keyboardist Holland Greco, bassist Brett Simons, and drummer/vibes player DJ Bonebreak (of X and the Knitters)—fearlessly deploy myriad sonic textures to embellish each work with cinematic impact. The guitar parts, in particular, are alternately beautiful, creepy, mesmerizing, and hostile.
Scrote: We didn’t have a framework—although we talked about the general feel we all wanted for the album. As Brett and Paul’s songs were all over the map, I was very particular about keeping the production system consistent—to use the same studio, session players, engineers, and so on. And then the session players became the band. It was kind of a backwards process.
Stinson: Brett and I might come in with a finished song, or we might leave openings in the structure. But in all cases, the band members would jump in, add their interpretations, and transform the song into something awesome.
Anderson: There was a lot of communication going on in the studio, but very little was in spoken English. One player would throw out a hook, and everyone else would follow along. We tried to touch the songs as little as possible—to let them have a life of their own.