There are several bands named Calliope. 1) Formed in February 1994 in East Lansing Michigan, CALLIOPE were borne from the remnants of the popular Sixth With Violet. Andy Dryer, Jason Lantrip and Eric Merckling, three fifths of Sixth With (the other two went on to form the ethereal Michigan space rock outfit Fibre Forms and then Kiln) recruited drummer Matt Ellison (who went to high school with Lantrip) and Calliope was set.
1) Formed in February 1994 in East Lansing Michigan, CALLIOPE were borne from the remnants of the popular Sixth With Violet. Andy Dryer, Jason Lantrip and Eric Merckling, three fifths of Sixth With (the other two went on to form the ethereal Michigan space rock outfit Fibre Forms and then Kiln) recruited drummer Matt Ellison (who went to high school with Lantrip) and Calliope was set. The band signed with THICK Records soon after their inception and entered the infamous Chicago Trax studio for a weekend bender. The resulting self titled debut was released in April 1995, to critical acclaim with positive reviews abound. A Taste For Killing, a swirling space-y song was picked up by Coca-Cola for a commercial to run in support of the 1996 Summer Olympics. Lantrip later remixed Train Of Thought from the record with a trip-hop flavor, at home (on 4 track cassette) for a 7" release. This was the beginning of Calliope's home studio Trash180, and their foray into experimental post-rock territory (self actualization?)
Inspired by the free form leanings of bands like Tortoise, Stereolab, and 5ive Style, Calliope recruited Casey Rice to record their next record, and entered Chicago's Idful Studios in December '96. The resulting I can See You With My Eyes Closed took their sound to the next level adding slight electronic elements with samples, Marimba, and Moog to their already ethereal sound. Rice encouraged less structure and more experimentation, making their second full length CD more fun and flowing. Encouraged by the Idful aesthetic, Calliope ended up buying a lot of the same gear (effects, synth, delay) that Casey used on the record, for their own home studio. Trash180 has proven to be the Calliope cornerstone. Opting mostly to play in studio rather than out live, Calliope has spent considerable time experimenting with digital effects, loops, samples, and pro-tools manipulation. Their next release was a 12" only limited edition EP, recorded mostly in pieces and assembled digitally. Released in 1998, The Last Summer was a surprisingly solid collection of studio fuckery with Jason stepping up as the primary "engineer". It was this style of recording that lead to Calliope's next full length record.
Released in 1999 (in)organics is a defining work. Taking a mostly "remix mentality" in the recording process, Calliope added even more diverse sounds and textures (from middle eastern tabla and sitar to techno and DJ beats) to this new effort. Combining Organic instrumentation with digital trickery, the result is a swirling space-rock spectacle. The first track Did You get What You Came For has been used on several compilation CDs and was recently re-recorded for inclusion on a promotional CD for Phillip Morris being direct mailed to 3 million consumers. For their next effort, Lantrip made a concerted effort to revert back to a more traditional "whole band" approach to recording. Calliope would spend much of the next year writing, recording, and perfecting what would become Braille. Released in 2001 Braille is Calliope's fourth full length - a beautiful and airy record with a distinct pop ambiance.
During the recording of Braille, Merckling had begun work on a side project called Crooked Sound and eventually left the band to peruse his own thing in early 2003. Calliope recruited singer / songwriter Carmen paradise to take over on bass and backing vocals. The chemistry worked perfectly and Calliope began work immediately on their fifth full length - Sounds Like Circles Feel - set for release in March 2004.
More on the members...
Jason Lantrip (guitar, vocals) with his wife (photographer Jay Lantrip) own Scavenger Hunt, a vintage clothing store in E. Lansing. Drummer Matt Ellison owns the legendary MAC's Bar in Lansing and has turned the room into a full fledged underground rock venue. Andy Dryer (vocals, winds) manages the Temple Club, an 800 seat venue that hosts live concerts, and a dance club in Lansing Michigan. Carmen Paradise (bass, vocals) recently self released a solo record (recorded in part by Jason at Trash180). She's been voted the "best of the best" in the Lansing State Journal two years running and was recently featured on the cover of Noise Magazine.
2) A psychedelic band from Seattle, the driving force behind this short-lived outfit was singer/songwriter Danny O'Keefe, who later had one or two Top 20 hits (including Magdalena). They made a bit of a splash locally, but like a lot of Seattle bands, they seemed much better live than on record. It seems that bands from Seattle during that period did not get very good support from their record companies... obviously things have changed since then! Calliope's first album is now a very minor collectable, and the second may have remained unissued. The Steamed album includes cover versions of Hello Hello (Lee Michaels), California Dreamin' (with a very good psychedelic guitar solo), Hound Dog, Jimmy Bell (a traditional number), Like A Rolling Stone (Dylan), Nadine (Chuck Berry) and four originals - two by Goldsmith and two by O'Keefe.
John Simpson, who was tragically killed in a plane crash in 1973, had previously played with Scott Strong in The Bumps and may also be the guy who played drums in Christopher. Prior to joining Calliope, Scott Strong also acted as their road manager. Paul Goldsmith had earlier been in Emergency Exit, Clyde Heaton in The Dimensions and Luther Rabb later played with Ballinjack.
2) Formed in February 1994 in East Lansing, Michigan, Calliope were formed by three ex-members of Sixth With Violet. Andy Dryer, Jason Lantrip and Eric Merckling, along with drummer Matt Ellison. Their sound is inspired by the free form leanings of Tortoise, Stereolab, and 5ive Style.
3) A progressive rock band from Italy with one album called Generazioni (Generations) released in 2002.