El Paso’s Secret Stash: Artists Who Unleashed Masterpieces Here
One thing that's always been a curiosity factor for me was where certain albums were recorded. You may not know it but there a handful of artists that indeed recorded albums in El Paso, Texas. You might know some these, some you might not. But all these records WERE recorded in the Sun City.
Let's start with a band that have become honorably local legends. Al Jorgensen is the mastermind behind Ministry & they've recorded multiple albums in El Paso:
- 2006's Houses of The Mole was recorded at Sonic Ranch (and that will NOT be the last time we see Sonic Ranch appear on this list)
- A few albums were recorded at Al's El Paso home called 13th Planet Studios: Including 2005's Rio Grande Blood, 2008's Cover Up, & 2013's From Blood to Eternity.
If you're a hardcore metal fan, or an Ace Ventura lover, you know Cannibal Corpse. They've actually recorded 3 albums in El Paso, all thanks to Sonic Ranch studios:
- 2002's Gore Obsessed,
- 2004's The Wretched Spawn,
- and 2012's Torture
It's been a while since they've recorded so maybe they should make a come back...
Portugal. The Man:
They might be HUGE pop stars now but Alaska's Portugal. The Man were a cult classic before they got famous. They were a big deal when they came back in 2017 to perform for an El Paso crowd. But before they were HUGE, back in 2013, they even came here to record their 7th album Evil Friends. It definitely had a couple of hits that are songs the band performs to this day.
Sublime With Rome:
Speaking of bands that have performed in El Paso, We've seen Sublime With Rome both perform & record albums here. Sadly we never got to have Bradley in town but Rome HAS recorded ALL the albums he's done with Sublime at Sonic Ranch:
- 2011's Yours Truly
- 2015's Sirens,
- & 2019's Blessings
Maybe they'll continue the tradition by recording a 4th album here in town?
One of the biggest names in the emo rock world, Gerard Way HAS been to El Paso before. Now even though My Chemical Romance has YET to do a concert here, Gerard at least recorded his debut (and so far only) solo album Hesitant Alien in 2014. So with that, we can forgive him for not bringing the band to town... for now. You can also read about the heartwarming story he had with a fan at Sonic Ranch here.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs:
Certainly a big name in the alternative/indie rock world, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are no stranger to being here in El Paso: they performed here once back in 2009 & recorded two albums:
- 2009 It's Blitz!
- 2013's Mosquito
If you've heard of I'm Shipping Up To Boston, you've heard of the Dropkick Murphys. But did you know they... shipped up to El Paso back in 2016? They recorded their album 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory that was released a year later in 2017.
A band that SCREAMS metal, DevilDriver has become a force to be reckoned with since 2002. Not only have they performed for screaming El Paso fans many times, they've recorded 3 albums here. One of which had possibly their biggest hit to date:
- 2005's The Fury of Our Makers Hand
- 2011's Beast
- and 2007's The Last Kind Words. Which you might know for THIS song:
Bullet For My Valentine:
Possibly the most well known album that was recorded in El Paso & it's certainly one of BFMV's most successful. Their 2008 record Scream Aim Fire so far is the only album Bullet For My Valentine recorded in El Paso & it was at our buddies at Sonic Ranch who helped make it happen.
Nine Inch Nails:
One of the biggest industrial bands of the 90s did indeed record an album in El Paso. A LIVE album called Beside You In Time back in 2006 (at the El Paso County Coliseum). The video/live album used footage that was recorded in El Paso & Oklahoma. If you want to know more about the album, I wrote an article all about it here.
Last but not least we have The KING, Elvis Presley: Just like with Nine Inch Nails, Elvis also recorded at the Coliseum, 30 years earlier. The album was even called... El Goes El Paso.
Honorable Mention 1: Taking Back Sunday
In 2010, when working on songs for their self-titled album (Taking Back Sunday), they were on a retreat at Sonic Ranch & one of the first songs that came out was literally called... El Paso. In an interview with The Prospector, the band even confirmed that El Paso was the first song written & described the time as "crazy & awesome". While most of the album was finalized in California, El Paso had A HUGE part in helping the band record. So in my opinion, with the band taking SO MUCH inspiration from El Paso & since a good number of the songs were WRITTEN in El Paso... it counts as an honorable mention
Honorable Mention 2: Starbomb
Yes they're a comedy band that probably only a few people know. But this is MY list & I love comedy bands that do parody songs about cartoons. Their 3rd album, The TryForce, was recorded at Sonic Ranch & I wouldn't have many chances to write about them so I'm including them here.
Honorable Mention 3: Nothing More
We know Nothing More HAS recorded in El Paso before; in 2020 they posted photos of them tracking at Sonic Ranch. Now we have YET to know if all the songs on their upcoming album Spirits are the ones they recorded in El Paso. But until then, they're here as an honorable mention.
I hope to see more bands record more records here; regardless if their studio OR live albums.