Hailing from Santa Barbara, CA, Headless Household achieved regional cult status by the late '90s, thanks to their quirky and eclectic kind of new music, their relentless live shows, and a string of albums all released on the band's own label, Household Ink.
Headless Household was formed in Santa Barbara in 1983 by Dick Dunlap (keyboards), Tom Lackner (percussion), Chris Symer (bass), and Joe Woodard (guitars), four friends sharing a taste for the unusual. Their first album (on LP), Headless Household, was released in 1987, but things didn't pick up until their third album, Items (1996), still the band's best achievement. Items showcased all the eclecticism and creativity Headless Household is capable of. By that time, the four core members were regularly joined by a cast of guests including jazz trumpeter Jeff Kaiser, violinist Gilles Apap, and ex-Toad the Wet Sprocket Glen Phillips. Free Associations (1999) saw the band heading into more commercial territory, but if this change of direction raised a few questions, they were quickly answered by the release of Mockhausen (2000), their most abstract and experimental record to date.
The fact that Headless Household releases albums on its own record label, Household Ink, surely didn't help them get attention. But by 2000, they were starting to get exposure outside the regional press.