The Lawrence Arms are an American punk rock band from Chicago, Illinois, formed in 1999 and currently recording for Fat Wreck Chords. They have released five full-length albums and toured extensively. Their music and lyrics juxtapose references from history and literature with American pop culture.
The band's next two releases were split EPs with other bands. The first, a split with Shady View Terrace, was released in 2000 and was their first release to be recorded by Matt Allison, who would continue to record and produce all of their subsequent releases. A second EP, Present Day Memories, was released in 2001 and was a split with the band The Chinkees.
Their next album was 2003's The Greatest Story Ever Told. Their most ambitious album to date, it demonstrated the band members' continued growth as musicians and songwriters and included extensive footnotes to the lyrics detailing their many references to history, literature and pop culture. It also showed an evolution in the band's vocal style. Kelly had sung most of the vocals on their first album, while on subsequent releases he and McCaughan had split vocal duties almost equally from one song to the next, with Kelly's voice tending to sound more harsh and urgent while McCaughan's sounds more relaxed and melodic. With this release, however, the two began to move towards more of a duet style of singing which would feature prominently on their next album. Extensive touring following the album's release saw the band on the road for much of 2003 and 2004. They also contributed a song to the Fat Wreck Chords Rock Against Bush, Vol. 2 compilation, leading up to the 2004 presidential election and became involved with the Punk Voter campaign.
The Lawrence Arms also played a portion of the 2004 Warped Tour, but the band's attitude towards the tour resulted in controversy. In a 2006 interview, Kelly claimed that the band "did like seven days of it and we got kicked off it, banned for life" for "pointing out the obvious flaws of the Warped Tour, on stage while the people running the Warped Tour were watching us." When asked his opinion of the tour, Kelly responded:
Warped Tour, it’s destroying the economy of DIY; and it’s doing it very methodically and very successfully in that [the] summer touring season used to involve a bunch of bands, like Alkaline Trio for example, jumping on buses and taking smaller bands, like us and The Black Maria for example, on tour. There would be all these bands that would do that, so all these support bands would have great tours to go on. Kids in every town would have a bunch of different shows to go see, like over the summer. Small clubs would have big, good shows at least once a week if not twice a week, three times a week; and kids would have stuff to do. Now, all those big bands go on the Warped Tour. When they come to town, it’s for one day. It’s in a band shell, small clubs all across the US are closing down, they can’t afford to be open. Bands like us have to tour against the Warped Tour, which sucks; or tour on the Warped Tour, which sucks even more.
He further likened the experience of Warped Tour to "going to a band shell and buying twelve dollar bottles of water and standing there watching your favorite band play from like a million feet away." He also criticized the tour's effect on punk rock and independent music as a whole: "Now people talk about the Warped Tour like it’s the greatest thing to ever happen to punk rock, it’s not the greatest thing to ever happen to punk rock - it’s single handedly dismantling the whole thing we’ve been fucking building for all this time and nobody gives a fuck...And that’s why it’s the worst thing to ever happen to punk rock, or DIY music in general." Their next album, 2006's Oh! Calcutta!, included a hidden track entitled "Warped Summer Extravaganza (Major Excellent)" referencing their attitude towards the tour.
The Lawrence Arms re-entered the studio in October and November of 2005 and recorded the album Oh! Calcutta!, which was released on Fat Wreck Chords in March of 2006. It had an overall faster and more urgent feel to it than their previous album, and demonstrated another step in the development of their singing as Kelly and McCaughan shared vocals in a duet style on nearly every song. They filmed a music video for the song "The Devil's Takin' Names" and toured, first with NOFX and then with the Alkaline Trio and the Draft.
The band toured again in the fall of 2007, with their side projects The Falcon and Sundowner as openers along with the recently reunited American Steel. McCaughan also toured as Sundowner in Europe with Mike Park. Hennessy is currently touring with the Smoking Popes in support of their new album Stay Down.
|1999||A Guided Tour of Chicago||Asian Man||First album.|
|2002||Apathy and Exhaustion||Fat Wreck Chords|
|2003||The Greatest Story Ever Told|
|2005||Cocktails & Dreams||Asian Man||Collection of b-sides and rare tracks.|
|2006||Oh! Calcutta!||Fat Wreck Chords|
|2000||Shady View Terrace / The Lawrence Arms split EP||Castaway/Asian Man||Out of print. All songs reissued on Cocktails & Dreams.|
|2001||Present Day Memories||Asian Man Records||Split CD with The Chinkees. Out of print. All songs reissued on Cocktails & Dreams.|
|2002||Fat Club 7"||Fat Wreck Chords||Out of print. The band's first release on Fat Wreck Chords.|
|2002||1157 Wheeler Avenue||Failed Experiment||"Nebraska" (live)|
|2002||Fat Music, Vol. 6: Uncontrollable Fatulence||Fat Wreck Chords||"Presenting: The Dancing Machine (Il Robot Con la Testa di Scimmia)"||Track reissued on Cocktails & Dreams as "Presenting: The Dancing Machine (The Robot With the Monkey Head)"|
|2003||Oil: Chicago Punk Refined||Thick||"Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been"||Track reissued on Cocktails & Dreams as "Joyce Carol Oates is a Boring Old Biddy"|
|2003||Experiments in Audio Rocketry||1-2-3-4 Go||"Traditional"|
|2004||Rock Against Bush, Vol. 2||Fat Wreck Chords||"Necrotism: Decanting the Insalubrious (Cyborg Midnight), Part 7"||Track reissued on Cocktails & Dreams|
|2004||MySpace download||none||"Criminal"||offered as a download on the band's official MySpace page, recorded in November 2004|
|2006||Oh! Calcutta!||iTunes download||"The Rabbit and the Rooster"||Bonus track included with the iTunes download version of the album only. Later reissued as a track on a free Fat Wreck Chords digital holiday sampler.|
|1998||"An Evening of Extraordinary Circumstance"||A Guided Tour of Chicago|
|2002||"Porno and Snuff Films"||Apathy and Exhaustion|
|2006||"The Devil's Takin' Names"||Oh! Calcutta!|
CALLING someone an "old biddy" is not usually recommended but one Biddy, who celebrated her 104th birthday yesterday, is proud of her 'seniority'.
Oct 21, 2009; Biddy celebrates 104 years in style, but her name is slowly disappearing Grainne Cunningham CALLING someone an "old biddy" is not...