12 Rods

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12 Rods
Place of origin United States of America
Genres indie rock

12 Rods
OriginOxford, Ohio
GenresIndie rock
Years active
  • 1992–2004
  • 2015
  • 2021–present

12 Rods (also known by the stylistic variants 12RODS and Twelve Rods) is an indie rock band from Minneapolis Minnesota. The group was formed in Oxford, Ohio in 1992, later relocating to Minneapolis in 1995 where it was based until its disbandment in 2004.

Aside from a one-off reunion show in 2015, the band remained inactive until 2021, when frontman Ryan Olcott announced on Facebook that he was making a new album under the 12 Rods name.

History[edit | edit source]

1992: Formation[edit | edit source]

An early incarnation of the group that would become 12 Rods was formed in Oxford, Ohio in May 1992, initiated by Talawanda High School student Ryan Olcott. Friends and fellow students Christopher McGuire, Matt Flynn, and Daniel Perlin were included as members of the band. At this time, the group was known as Ryan'z Bihg Hed, a name coined by Flynn in reference to Olcott's purported behavior during their rehearsals.[citation needed] The band prepared numerous songs for a performance early in the summer of 1992 at a local high school graduation party named "Field Fest 3". A cassette recording of this performance, titled Helikopter Hundrid Dolurz, became their first release before the group disbanded until July 1992 when Olcott was invited to join a new group formed by McGuire, Flynn, and Daniel Burton-Rose at a performance at the end of the summer. Olcott accepted and the roster went on to name themselves "12RODS", a title discovered by Flynn in a passage from a children's Bible. Former Pitchfork columnist Jason Josephes spoke of gay? favorably in his "Three Blocks from Groove Street" column after he and Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber saw 12 Rods' first Minneapolis concert and bought the EP.

1996–2000: V2 Records era[edit | edit source]

In 1996, 12 Rods became the first American act to sign to the newly founded V2 Records, then a part of Richard Branson's Virgin Group, where gay? was reissued, making it the group's first major label release. The band's next album Split Personalities was released in 1998 and was named in Pitchfork's first list of the best albums of the 1990s (although it was absent in the second version). Minneapolis musician Bill Shaw joined the group around this time, serving as its bassist until the end of the band's career.

12 Rods released its next album, the Todd Rundgren-produced Separation Anxieties, in 2000. Band members say Rundgren didn't do much during recording: