Rural Rock & Roll


Jensen Rufe's been a singer/songwriter/recording artist/guitarist/bass player/producer for more than 20 years.

He spent most of his UCLA years in the electric/acoustic experimental group Puddletown Tom, then formed or joined literally dozens of bands while getting his master's degree from Humboldt State University:

Tigerbomb (originally called the ex-Supermodels) was a Guided by Voices coverband that was oddly very popular at taverns and parties around Humboldt County in 1998 and 1999. They continue to reunite annually (twice in 2010 with more planned in 2011).

View a sample of Tigerbomb's (and ex-Supermodels') show flyers here:

After Tigerbomb, Rufe joined several projects, not the least of which was Hasslehoff - hard rock polka led by Trevor Creel on accordion. Here's a couple of tracks from Hasselhoff:

"Put Your Finger Down" (MP3, 3.26MB)

"Superman" (MP3, 4.21MB)

Rufe made a video in the summer of 1998 for his friends The Sin Men--a band Jensen had begun to admire. Shortly after making the video, after some personnel changes, much to his delight, they invited Rufe to become their permanent bass player. The Sin Men went on to play dozens of successful shows over the next year with bands like L7, The Grouvie Ghoulies and local faves such as Crimewave!, Scopac (from Scotia), Audio Wreck, The Hitch, and the Cutters (for which Rufe made a music video in 2001). In 1999, The Sin Men released a full-length CD and toured the West Coast numerous times. In addition, a half dozen bootlegged Sin Men shows were released locally by an anonymous source - complete with full and oftentimes extravagant artwork.

View a sample of The Sin Men's show flyers and band photos here:

Later, in 2000, Rufe become part of a combination of Tigerbomb and The Sin Men in the punk rock outfit, The Foster Kids. Although The Foster Kids didn't have an official release, they played dozens of shows in California, Oregon and Washington, and became a house favorite during Eureka's Shanty's glory years - back when they hosted rock shows nearly every weekend. Here's a couple of Foster Kids tunes:

"Foster Kids" (MP3, 6.07MB)

"This Girl Is The Goat" (MP3, 2.60MB)

And here's a sample of The Foster Kids' show flyers and band photos:

In 2000 Rufe collaborated with Steve Love to form The Steve Love Jensen Rufe quartet; they released an experimental 4-track concept album, "Rock and Roll Enema." Rufe also played with three more coverbands: Loaded - a Velvet Underground tribute, The Watermelon Guns - a Flaming Lips Tribute, and The Beatles - a Beatles tribute. In 2001, The Steve Love Jensen Rufe Quartet followed up their debut effort with a concept E.P., "Space Needle Excavator," and in 2002, they re-released "Rock and Roll Enema - Now With Less Music!"

View a sample of flyers for some of these projects here:

In 2001, Rufe moved to Los Angeles and formed The Natural Lights with two old friends. They've been writing and recording songs for three years and have toured the West Coast several times.

View a sample of Natural Lights flyers and band photos here:

Listen to a Natural Light recording here:

"Bright Spot" (MP3, 2.45MB)

In 2004 Rufe revisited a 5 year-old box of abandoned Sin Men cassette tape recordings and after recording some additional music in Los Angeles and Eureka, using his computer, he re-mixed and mastered the old recordings onto a brand new, fresh 12-song L.P. released on vinyl in a limited edition of 100 (on the Renderville Records label): "The Sin Men Are Dead."

View an ad for "The Sin Men Are Dead" here:

Listen to a sampling of a couple of tracks from "The Sin Men Are Dead" here:

"Gazpacho" (MP3, 3.17MB)

"Everyone's Flying Now" (MP3, 4.91MB)

"Glamazon Halo" (MP3, 7.07MB)

Through the years, Rufe has continued to write and record songs on a solo basis. Here's a sampling of a couple of Rufe's recent homemade 4-track demos:

"Ladidadida" (MP3, 2.21MB)

"Maybe" (a Harry Nillson cover, MP3, 3.14MB)

"Girls Are On Fire" (MP3, 3.73MB)

"Over and Under (Exploding Softly)" (MP3, 2.08MB)

"Not a Friend" (a Sebadoh cover, MP3, 3.79MB)

Finally, here are a couple of tunes that Jensen recorded with his old friend Bobby Lee under the moniker of Mexico:

"Assmouth Kind of Things" (MP3, 1.47MB)

"Gazpacho" (MP3, 2.27MB)