Opiate for the Masses (OFM) was formed in mid-July 1999. Jim Kaufman (19), writer and guitarist of popular Phoenix band “Projex,” invited drummer Elias Mallin (19) and vocalist Ron Underwood (20) of the group “5 on 1” (voted best unsigned band on Rolling Stone.com) to join him in creating a new sound and style of intelligent music. Kaufman, who attended a performing arts school with Mallin and Underwood, knew the three of them had such similar eclectic musical tastes that their union would form a most powerful fusion. After experimenting with song ideas on a computer in their basement studio, they decided to expand. Dustin Lyon (20), former member of local band “Nerdicus” and lifelong friend of Jim’s, was tapped for the position of lead guitarist and became a permanent member and contributing writer. Recently, the group added high school friend Ryan Head (20) to the roster as their bassist.
OFM’s musical medium is a balanced hybrid of fury and beauty. Influences range from David Bowie, Tool and Ween to DJ Shadow, Cannibal Corpse and Depeche Mode. The song “New Machines and the Wasted Life” and hardcore ballad “Half-Intelligent” demonstrate their serious-yet-sometimes-hallucinogenic arsenal of sounds. The dark, percussive groove of “Another Day” and the goth-industrial/hip-hop/thrash tune “Illusions” add to the listener’s assortment of high-test ear candy.
2000 saw Opiate for the Masses drawing some of the largest crowds to date for local Arizona bands. Now in 2001 with the Arizona Infusion Music Awards OFM was nominated for 6 awards and came home with Most Likely to Make it Big as well as Best Live Performance. Currently OFM is in the studio laying down some new tracks for their upcoming show at the Web Theatre.