Superbean is a power pop/punk/mod/rock ‘n roll band from Los Angeles, California and the brainchild of Steve Moramarco. It consists of Steve on guitar and vocals, Freddie Oliva on bass, and Rick Woodard on drums.
But what is Superbean? Where did the name come from? And why? Relax, my child, and we’ll tell you the tale…
Origins of Superbean
The beginnings of Superbean can be traced back to 1988 when Steve formed a folk duo called Hill of Beans with fellow UCLA student David Markowitz. In 1990, Hill of Beans released a 6-song CD and sent it to college radio stations. The album was an instant hit and included the song “Satan, Lend Me a Dollar,” recorded with acoustic guitar and accordion.
The band was fairly short-lived. When David left in 1991 to study abroad in Spain, Steve decided to go “solo” – hence, the name Bean.
The first incarnation of Bean featured Gwynne Kahn (Pandoras) on bass and Greg Mora on drums. They released their first 7″ on Flipside records, a split with pre-Loser Beck.
Bean became a four-piece when the multi-talented Mora switched to 2nd guitar and Jeff Kaminsky took over the drums. They released their own 7-inch on Dionysius Records entitled Fa Fa Ha Ha La.
This version of Bean would also be short-lived. Greg was already in two other bands (Lutefisk and Spindle) and wanted to start his own project, Fluorescein. Steve was feeling constricted by the pop format and was starting to write music that featured more elaborate instrumentation.
On Dec 31, 1993, Bean played its last show. Almost immediately Steve formed what would be his musical obsession for nearly 20 years, The Abe Lincoln Story. (Gwynne went on to play bass for the Negro Problem.)
The Abe Lincoln Story released three albums in a style Steve called “Soul Punk Swing” – the full band consisted of guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, backup singers and a horn section. The band went through phases of popularity, playing notable shows with Cake, Beck, and The Presidents of the USA.
Superbean came into existence after Steve returned from a stint living in New York (1999-2004). The band was originally dubbed “Super Bean: the Ultimate Tribute to Bean” and consisted of Gwynne, Greg, and original Abe Lincoln Story drummer Peter Fullerton. They did a one-off show as a benefit for a short film Steve was directing starring “America’s Funnyman” Neil Hamburger.
Super Bean didn’t perform again until 2011 at a backyard party, this time as a trio with Greg and Peter.
Other gigs followed sporadically, but Steve was still committed to the ALS and Greg and Peter had essentially retired from performing.
After the ALS’ performance at Festival Supreme, Steve decided to re-assess his musical situation. Although enjoyable, The Abe Lincoln Story was never profitable and incredibly difficult to maintain. He decided to put the band on “double secret probation” until further notice and go back to his roots.
For the updated version of Super Bean, he turned to drummer Rick Woodard and Fred Oliva, friends from the 90s who played in Silverlake pop group Velouria. They decided to shorten the name to Superbean (secretly pronounced “superb-ian”).
The first Superbean show in this lineup was August 17, 2013 at the Buccaneer in Sierra Madre. It was a short set in honor of Rick’s dad Richard’s 80th birthday (he is the old man yelling “get off my lawn!” in the video for “Fuck Youth.”
The band immediately began working on new material. Steve produced their first recordings in his home studio. Their first release was entitled “Let’s Hear It for Superbean,” and featured 10 original songs. Instead of pressing CDs, the band did the first pressing on a coaster that included a QR code to download.
The second album entitled “Shit Show” was recorded at Trend Coma in Echo Park by Marc Doten over a period of months in 2017. The first video single “Shit Show” was released on Nov. 8.
But it wasn’t until January 8, 2018 when the video for “Fuck Youth” was uploaded to Facebook that things really took off for the lads.
The song registered over half a million views on Facebook in less than a month. Now the band has fans all around the world. Punk blog Louder Than War called it the anthem every ‘Old Age Punk’ has been waiting for and said the tune was as “catchy as the flu.”
Steve, Fred, and Rick continue to make music and are hoping to go on tour soon. Stay tuned to this page as the saga continues….