In 1995 Jennifer Finch (aka Precious) and Xander Smith, both looking to start something “different” than what they had been doing musically in the past, found each other one day while walking on the Santa Monica Promenade. Although the two had met some years earlier while co-promoting a Rock for Choice event, they had never stayed in touch. The chance meeting inspired them to discuss a possible side-project together.
Finch explained to Smith her vision of a boy/girl, guitar/vocal team, and Smith played Finch 4 track demos he had recorded in his garage apartment of what is In 1995 Jennifer Precious Finch and Xander Smith, both looking to start something “different” than what they had been doing musically in the past, found each other one day while walking on the Santa Monica Promenade. Although the two had met some years earlier while co-promoting a Rock for Choice event, they had never stayed in touch. The chance meeting inspired them to discuss a possible side-project together. Finch explained to Smith her vision of a boy/girl, guitar/vocal team, and Smith played Finch 4 track demos he had recorded in his garage apartment of what is now “Drip”, “GoTo” and “Lust”. Originally wanting to do a dance project, something totally different than what they were known for, the equipment needed turned out to be too costly. So, they quickly changed gears to what they knew best; song-driven rock/pop. The two added Junko Ito, a bass player Smith also had met on the Promenade, and Chris Bratton, a drummer friend of Finch’s. Bratton and Finch had become good friends when her band L7 and his band Wool had done extensive touring together the previous year in both Europe and America.
The addition of the live instrumentation to the dance concept with the combination of both Smith’s and Finch’s diverse influences and personal style created a cool sound described by the press as both Dark Wave and Heavy Wave and described by OSP fans as the CaliPhonic Sound.
Originally called “Lyme” the band had to change their name in order to avoid any conflict as it was already being used by a heavy metal band in Florida. After they struggled to pick a new name that did not already exist somewhere in the world, and that would please at least 3 of the 4 members, the band decided to let Ito decide what they were to be called. The reasoning here was that, since Ito’s native language was not English (it’s Japanese), she just might come up with a name that was either so simple no one would have ever thought of it, or something so unique, that it just may work. Junko delivered “OtherStarPeople.”
Before this name change, Lyme (soon to be OSP) caught the attention of A&R guru Jeff Suhy of A&M Records. Although Finch and Bratton were still playing full time in their other bands, Suhy arranged a deal with A&M they could sign as long as they promoted the group as a “side project.” He and the band also painstakingly put together a timeline that would not conflict with L7’s or Wool’s recording and touring schedules.
OtherStarPeople immediately began to play many local shows and set out on short regional tours. This new band loved to play live, as often as they could, and found that all these early gigs would prepare them to record their first full-length record. Some of the earliest bills they jumped on were with the iconic bands Beastie Boys, Rancid, Redd Kross, and Foo Fighters. One of their live performances was witnessed by mega-producer Roy Thomas Baker of Devo, Cars, Queen, and Local H fame. He promptly signed on to produce their debut album on A&M records.
By the time Roy Thomas Baker was in place, Finch had already quit L7 In July of 96’ due to creative differences and to go back to school. Bratton left Wool a few months later. As the band began the recording process, Bratton announced that he wanted to leave the group to pursue a career as a guitarist (his first love).
Bratton recorded most of the album tracks as to not leave the band high and dry. Todd “Player” Philips then replaced him. Finch and Philips had met in the late 80s in a Hollywood nightclub while Philip’s band, Bullet Lavolta, was recording in LA. Similar to the situation with Smith, they never kept in touch, but eventually, destiny brought them back together just in time to replace Bratton. Philips had just quit playing with Juliana Hatfield, whom he had been with for ten years. So, the timing was perfect.
With all members in place, the band was set to release their Roy Thomas Baker produced the album, Diamonds in the Belly of the Dog (Interscope/ A&M Records), and launch their extensive touring of the World (and beyond!)