BACKSTORY: the anti-meteoric rise of It’s OK!
It's OK!’s roots travel pretty far back. It is probably fair to say that the seeds for the band were planted in 1982, when Robert Hecker and Ellen Rooney first met while they were students at Mira Costa High School, the spawning ground for such seminal L.A. bands as Black Flag and Descendents. At this early juncture, they performed together as a folk duo. In 1984, Robert joined Redd Kross to tour in support of Teen Babes From Monsanto, and in 1987 he recorded the perennial critical favorite Neurotica with them. Ultimately, Ellen joined the Redd Kross camp as well, as backing vocalist on tour in support of their 1991 Atlantic release Third Eye.
Robert took leave from Redd Kross after the Third Eye tours, and assembled a veritable L.A. supergroup with Victor Indrizzo on drums, Abby Travis on bass, and the late Greg White on vocals. They selected the moniker It’s OK!. “It is a very warm, positive, supportive, and constructive statement” explains Robert. This quartet recorded the band's eponymous debut, a lyrically emotional, starkly arranged album that showcased their dazzling musicianship across sixteen songs in a mixture of frenetic pop and gargantuan rock.
It's OK!'s debut was met with considerable critical praise, drawing comparisons ranging from Guided By Voices to Queen, but Robert left the sunny beaches of Southern California to live in the green mountains of Vermont for two years. He returned with a batch of new songs, and he asked Dave Naz (friends since their teenage years) if he would play drums with the band. Ellen was the clear choice to sing with the group, and Dennis McGarry was invited to play bass. Dennis took a sabbatical to finish school at Villanova, so St. Louis transplant Matt Smith filled the bassist position. This line-up recorded It's OK!’s sophomore release, Dream, an astonishing collection of sixteen songs of love and wonder.
After a second seven-year go-round with Redd Kross, which saw Robert in top flight on the Got Live If You Must! live DVD and on the album Researching The Blues, It's OK! reconvened in full-force. Dennis McGarry rejoined the fold, and It's OK! welcomed Joey Mancaruso, a third-generation drumming phenom. The power and the fury of this monstrous rhythm section (newly anointed as The V16) completed the band's current line-up with an unprecedented heft. Working at a pace that only Tom Schultz, Lindsey Buckingham, and Axel Rose can fully understand, they have finally completed their third sixteen-song album, Cubed. Cubed portends to be It's OK!'s most impressive collection to date. Listeners' minds will be blown when they experience the wonder, beauty, and might of Cubed.
It's OK! have played California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington (including a Pacific Northwest tour with Frightwig), and look to cover more territory in 2018; meanwhile, work is now well underway on It's OK! album #4...
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Robert Hecker - guitar / voice
Ellen Rooney - voice / factotum
Dennis McGarry - bass / voice
Joey Mancaruso - drums / voice