Joined by Joseph and Jason, and later by Dave, they formed a more theatrically oriented group they called The Audience (a nod to Bauhaus). Inspired by such glam and gothic rock luminaries as David Bowie, T. Rex, The Birthday Party, Duran Duran, and The Cure, The Audience sought to inject irreverence and artifice into an indie rock and punk scene that seemed obsessed with sincerity and authenticity. With make-up, teased hair, and glittery clothing, The Audience began putting on live shows throughout Santa Cruz and The Bay Area, usually with old televisions tuned to white noise and static as props.
While the band adopted keyboards and gestured towards the sonic sounds of the early 80s, they kept the screeching guitars and ear-piercing feedback that had marked much emo music of the mid-90s, and their live shows were appropriately chaotic. A full-length album, Das Audience, was released on the Hymnal Sound label. In 1997, tension between members of the band and differences concerning musical direction led to Joseph's departure. A rumor was started that Joseph had actually been kicked out of the band because he had refused to let another member of the band use his hairspray. While the truth of the rumor is in dispute, its spread managed to brilliantly encapsulate the shallowness and artifice the band sought to promote.
With Joseph's departure, Rex took over on vocals and the band moved in a more bluesy, garage-rock direction. Dave Selevan was replaced by Jessica Graves and Rob Petterson on keyboards, and the band relocated to San Francisco. The band recorded one more 7" as The Audience before they encountered legal conflicts with a British band of the same name. In 1998 the band changed its name to Vue. The band subsequently signed with Sub Pop and later with RCA Records.
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