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Reopening the Self-Styled Sing-Along Super Buffet

Longtime North County band finally drops debut album

Super Buffet at Black Cat
Super Buffet at Black Cat

Super Buffet smorgasbord: After teasing two songs as a single on Big Stir Records this past spring, North County’s Super Buffet self-released their debut full-length, Self Styled, in July. The majority of the recording was accomplished pre-pandemic at Emerald Age Recording in Vista, with James Page manning the boards. Once the studio shut down, scattered remaining parts were completed by members of the band working individually from home. Some elements, such as an unexpected onslaught of backing vocals on “Tall Boy Can Girl,” even surprised the band’s mastermind/songwriter Pete Bayard.

“When the studio closed due to Covid, we hadn’t really tracked a lot of the backing vocals yet,” explained Bayard (formerly of Inigo and Rookie Card). “Marie [Haddad] and Chris [Silva] had the equipment at home to send it in to James, who would mix it in. That’s what they started doing. Every time I got a new mix from James, there was a whole new vocal part added to it that I had never heard before. I think Marie and Chris just started vibing off each other, several days apart, and just built it into this big, colossal thing. I think it’s hysterical. I have to laugh at it every time; it’s just so elaborate at this point for what is basically a really easy song.”

The album is bookended by two different takes on the band’s “Super Buffet Theme Song.” The original plan was to blend an audience sing-along version that was recorded live at Bar Pink (RIP), but Page couldn’t seamlessly mesh it together with their newly recorded studio version. At the last minute, Bayard decided to tack it onto the beginning of the album. “It’s fun for me to have people singing along to that,” Bayard explained. “That’s kind of the point, involvement and reaching out to everybody. So, being able to include some element of that on a studio-produced album was more true to the experience.”

The new album is available on streaming platforms, CD, and in a super-limited run (only 25 copies available) on lathe-cut vinyl. Bayard, who also plays in Steve Rosenbaum’s band Mess Of Fun, even contacted Dead Media Tapes, the company that recently released a vintage collection of Rosenbaum’s songs from 1979-1989 on 8-track tape, about creating a Self Styled run in the same vintage format. It proved too costly to be a worthwhile venture, due to the boutique production process.

“It’s a one-man show over there,” Bayard said. “I guess he’s not making the 8-track, he’s taping over one. So, he has to find something about the right length. There’s a hunting process. He found the one for Steve [Rosenbaum]. He was very happy about that. Jesus Touched Me, I believe, is the one that he is going to record over, and he’s got a box of them. The cover is something special.”

When the Self Styled release party went down July 16 at the newly reopened Black Cat Bar, Bayard seemed pleased by the improved stage monitors in the venue, and the fact that everybody “just seemed happy to see each other. A lot of people that I’ve known from shows for sometimes a decade plus...all of the sudden, I just didn’t see them for a couple years. It was great to reconnect with people and be able to look around the room and say ‘There’s this guy, and there’s that guy.’ I can’t tell whether they’re happy to see us, but they showed up, so that was nice,” he said with a laugh. “The whole thing was festive. It was happy.”

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Super Buffet at Black Cat
Super Buffet at Black Cat

Super Buffet smorgasbord: After teasing two songs as a single on Big Stir Records this past spring, North County’s Super Buffet self-released their debut full-length, Self Styled, in July. The majority of the recording was accomplished pre-pandemic at Emerald Age Recording in Vista, with James Page manning the boards. Once the studio shut down, scattered remaining parts were completed by members of the band working individually from home. Some elements, such as an unexpected onslaught of backing vocals on “Tall Boy Can Girl,” even surprised the band’s mastermind/songwriter Pete Bayard.

“When the studio closed due to Covid, we hadn’t really tracked a lot of the backing vocals yet,” explained Bayard (formerly of Inigo and Rookie Card). “Marie [Haddad] and Chris [Silva] had the equipment at home to send it in to James, who would mix it in. That’s what they started doing. Every time I got a new mix from James, there was a whole new vocal part added to it that I had never heard before. I think Marie and Chris just started vibing off each other, several days apart, and just built it into this big, colossal thing. I think it’s hysterical. I have to laugh at it every time; it’s just so elaborate at this point for what is basically a really easy song.”

The album is bookended by two different takes on the band’s “Super Buffet Theme Song.” The original plan was to blend an audience sing-along version that was recorded live at Bar Pink (RIP), but Page couldn’t seamlessly mesh it together with their newly recorded studio version. At the last minute, Bayard decided to tack it onto the beginning of the album. “It’s fun for me to have people singing along to that,” Bayard explained. “That’s kind of the point, involvement and reaching out to everybody. So, being able to include some element of that on a studio-produced album was more true to the experience.”

The new album is available on streaming platforms, CD, and in a super-limited run (only 25 copies available) on lathe-cut vinyl. Bayard, who also plays in Steve Rosenbaum’s band Mess Of Fun, even contacted Dead Media Tapes, the company that recently released a vintage collection of Rosenbaum’s songs from 1979-1989 on 8-track tape, about creating a Self Styled run in the same vintage format. It proved too costly to be a worthwhile venture, due to the boutique production process.

“It’s a one-man show over there,” Bayard said. “I guess he’s not making the 8-track, he’s taping over one. So, he has to find something about the right length. There’s a hunting process. He found the one for Steve [Rosenbaum]. He was very happy about that. Jesus Touched Me, I believe, is the one that he is going to record over, and he’s got a box of them. The cover is something special.”

When the Self Styled release party went down July 16 at the newly reopened Black Cat Bar, Bayard seemed pleased by the improved stage monitors in the venue, and the fact that everybody “just seemed happy to see each other. A lot of people that I’ve known from shows for sometimes a decade plus...all of the sudden, I just didn’t see them for a couple years. It was great to reconnect with people and be able to look around the room and say ‘There’s this guy, and there’s that guy.’ I can’t tell whether they’re happy to see us, but they showed up, so that was nice,” he said with a laugh. “The whole thing was festive. It was happy.”

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