Friday, June 13, 2008

Chisel - Swamp Fox/Spike 7"

What better way to start things off than to go all the way back to 1991... The first official release by the young boys of Chisel sounded, well, not so much anything like the later sound that would garner them more acclaim than pretty much any other band to come out of the Bend at the time. The A-side certainly hinted at things to come, but B-side "Listen" has a darker, more aggressive vibe that would soon fade away in favor of Chisel's trademark mod-pop melodies. Ted Leo once described this song as "solid thrash."

Here's a little background on the early days of Chisel from their Wikipedia page:
Chisel began in 1990 on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, when classmates Ted Leo (guitar/vocals), Chris Infante (bass), and John Dugan (drums) began practicing in the basement of a campus dormitory. Leo had played punk shows with bands such as Animal Crackers in New York's all-ages scene and Dugan had drummed with the Washington, D.C. area punk act Indian Summer from the age of fifteen. The band quickly went from playing a covers set (Wire, Misfits, Buzzcocks, Mission of Burma) to playing original songs written by Leo. Chisel began to perform at various college venues in the Midwest and Northeast, visiting clubs such as D.C. Space in Washington and ABC No Rio in New York City.

In 1991, the band released its first single, Swamp Fox/Spike b/w Listen, on Assembly Records, and followed it up with appearances on compilations released by college radio stations WVFI in Notre Dame, Indiana and WPRB in Princeton, New Jersey. In 1992, Infante graduated from college and was replaced on bass by Chris Norborg, who also provided the backing vocal harmonies that soon became integral to Chisel's sound. It was during this period that the band began to change its style from traditional emo-influenced pop punk that was inspired by contemporaries in Washington, D.C., to more of a mod-influenced band in the vein of the Small Faces and The Jam.
After only having a cassette dub for the longest time, I eventually found this 7" at a used record store in TX for a buck. Enjoy.

Chisel - Swamp Fox/Spike b/w Listen


Anonymous said...

I only know the version that wound up on the campus band CD The Jericho Sessions that my sister gave me while I was in high school. Rock, rock, rock.

Doug said...

The version on Jericho Sessions is the same recording as the 7-inch, I believe.

getBent said...

the entire Jericho Sessions CD will make it here eventually, i'm sure.

blend77 said...

wow... old Chisel... pretty crazy.

one of the best shows I ever saw was in VT in a snowstorm at a bowling alley, with Chisel and Tugboat Annie and two awesome local bands, My Own Sweet and Never Only Once

senatorhatty said...

I just gave this 7" to a friend of mine who lives in SF because I was about to move to Pittsburgh, have no turntable, and she LOVES Chisel!

Vinny said...

Chisel did so much rocking at Notre Dame, you can still hear echoes of Ted's guitar screams in the winds as they whip through and between buildings on the quads. They played with so much passion, the mural of Jesus on Hesburgh Library actually raised his arms in approval, and stayed that way. Anyone who has never heard of Chisel knows it as "Touchdown Jesus".