While Adam Merrin is best known as the pianist for L.A. power-poppers the 88, his multi-instrumental expertise and production experience have allowed him to manage a solo career simultaneously. Merrin was raised in Calabasas, CA, where he met future bandmate Keith Slettedahl while attending high school. Following graduation, the two musicians formed the Freeloaders, later changing their name to the 88 after the arrival of bandmembers Brandon Jay, Mark Vasapolli, and Carlos Torres. The 88's style was heavily indebted to sunny power pop -- a perpetually popular genre in their native L.A. -- and the band quickly found a regional following. Two full-length albums followed, one of which was produced, engineered, and mixed by Merrin himself, but the band remained unsigned. To heighten their profile (and, presumably, pay their bills), Merrin and company turned to licensing, netting placement deals with [RoviLink="VW"]Grey's Anatomy, [RoviLink="VW"]The O.C., [RoviLink="VW"]The Real World, [RoviLink="VW"]Laguna Beach, Target, Microsoft, Sears, and several films. The move worked, spreading the 88's music far beyond their West Coast home and attracting the attention of Island/Def Jam Records, who signed the band in the spring of 2007. The 88 then entered the studio to record several tracks with producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, with the release of their major-label debut slated for the following year.
Merrin released his first solo EP, Have One, in January 2007, having found enough downtime between the 88's gigs and studio sessions to focus on his own material. Recorded entirely in the pianist's home studio, Have One differed from the 88's material in that all instruments were performed by Merrin himself. In keeping with the 88's good fortune, tracks from the EP were selected for inclusion in the television shows [RoviLink="VW"]Grey's Anatomy, [RoviLink="VW"]Kyle XY, and [RoviLink="VW"]MTV's Newport Beach: The Real Orange County. A full-length album, Have Another One, was issued at the end of the year. ~ Andrew Leahey
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