Archers of Loaf was an American indie-rock band originally from Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
History of the band
Singer/guitarist Eric Bachmann, guitarist Eric Johnson, bassist Matt Gentling, and drummer Mark Price, all originally from Asheville, NC, formed Archers of Loaf in the early 1990s. Eric Bachmann was a saxophone major at Appalachian State before dropping out because he "didn't want to be a high school band director."
Their initial release in 1992 was a 45 single, with the A-Side "Wrong" (B-Side "South Carolina") given away free with issue 1 of Stay Free! magazine. Following the success of their independently released single "Wrong," the band signed with Alias records and released their second single "Web in Front," which garnered moderate college radio airplay. For a number of months in 1994, the video for "Web In Front" was the lone video played in between movies on the network USA's "Up All Night" feature on weekends. They released their debut full-length album, Icky Mettle, in 1994. It was critically well received, and is considered one of the landmark albums of 1990s alternative rock. In the 2008 book The Pitchfork 500, the prominent music website Pitchfork Media named "Web in Front" one of the top 500 songs of recent decades.
In 1994, the Archers released the EP Vs. The Greatest of All Time. However, the song "The Greatest of All Time" does not appear on this release but rather the second full-length, Vee Vee.
They released their second full-length, Vee Vee, in 1995. Vee Vee followed a similar template as their previous recordings and featured the track "Harnessed in Slums," which became popular on college radio.
The Maverick offer
The album also garnered significant attention outside the independent music scene, culminating in the band being courted by Maverick Records, a division of Warner Music Group, which the band rejected. Bachmann later stated that he and the band did not really consider the offer. The band was still under contract with Alias, and changing labels would put them into considerable debt to Maverick.
According to Bachmann, "We already signed a deal and it costs lots of money to get out of these things. If we would have had Maverick buy out our contract, we'd be however many thousands of dollars in debt to them. It's really complex that way and it really didn't make sense to do that."
And the band had another reason for rejecting the Maverick offer: They did not want to be associated with the other high-profile bands on Maverick. "The other bands were that bad," said Price at the time. "There are other bands on major labels that are associated with a lot of shit but it's big enough that there are a least a few bands that you like. For us on Maverick, it'd be us and Candlebox and Alanis ...."
In 1995 the band had its highest-profile tour opening for Weezer. The band's sometimes brash sound did not go over all that well with the Weezer crowd, and Gentling later said of the tour, "It wasn't as much that we didn't like the Weezer guys, but the opening bands get treated like crap by the people who work (at the venues). And as far as our music is concerned, I don't really know if we're all that compatible, at least live."
The Speed of Cattle LP
In 1996 the band released The Speed of Cattle, a collection of B-sides, singles, and John Peel session tracks.
All the Nation's Airports
Their third studio album, 1996's All the Nation's Airports, was considered far more accessible than their previous releases, and was the first to be distributed by a major label, Elektra Records (the band was still signed to Alias Records, though). The album was recorded in Seattle and took three weeks to complete, which was the most time the band had been in the studio to complete an album up to that point.
Gentling said of the experience, "We knew we wanted to take a long time on this album. We specifically wanted not to do tracks over and over and over again, but more to work on tone and get all of our instruments down right. We took over a day (just) to get the drums sounding right."
The band toured extensively in support of the record, to limited mass commercial success. Of the tour, Bachmann said, "We got back and we were not real happy with the way that went. Usually when you finish a tour you have a general idea of a song or two you can start working on, but we got back and were like 'geez, what are we going to do?'"
The band almost broke up at this point, due to a general lack of enthusiasm for the continuation of the project. However, after some soul searching, they decided to continue on for the time being. "We thought we'd had too good a time with it, so let's make another record, do another tour, and if there's not another spark, we'll split up after that," said Bachmann of the episode.
White Trash Heroes
Their final LP, White Trash Heroes, was released in 1998. The album's style deviated drastically from their first three albums, and received mixed reviews from critics.
The album's creative break from the band's previous work may have stemmed from the different writing process used for White Trash Heroes. According to Bachmann, "Things were laid down one at a time, though we did play a lot of it live, too, but pieced together more perfectly so we could hear when one sound was beginning to get in the way of something else."
This approach made playing songs from the album on the last tour more difficult. "Certain songs we don't even play yet," Bachmann stated in an interview during the White Trash Heroes tour. "We haven't even learned them that well due to the way the record was pieced together. They're not impossible to play, we just haven't pulled them out yet...as time goes on we learn more of the new ones, and they've been coming across fine."
The band went to great lengths in the studio in an attempt to keep the writing from turning stale. For example, on the song "Banging on a Dead Drum," the band members all switched instruments to try to liven up the feel of the song. Johnson plays drums, Gentling plays slide guitar, Price plays bass, and Bachmann still plays guitar, as he was the one who knew the song.
During the tour supporting the album, Eric Johnson missed several dates due to his day job's work schedule. Brian Causey, guitarist for Man or Astro-man? and friend of the band, filled in for the missing Johnson.
Breakup and post-Loaf
In late 1998, after Price was diagnosed with, and subsequently had surgery for, carpal tunnel syndrome, the band decided to call it quits for good.
Bachmann moved on to multiple solo projects and the band Crooked Fingers. Gentling went on to provide extra instrumentation on tour with another North Carolina-bred band, Superchunk. He has also continued to work with Bachmann as a contributor in Crooked Fingers. Johnson self-released one EP and one full-length under the moniker "Spookie" (originally Spookie J) and attended law school in North Carolina. He continues to play and record (see www.myspace.com/spookie).
Seconds Before the Accident
In 2000, Alias released Seconds Before the Accident. This project was the band's first official live album and was recorded during their final show at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro. It was the last album released by the band.
All Archers Of Loaf lyrics
- After The Last Laugh
- All The Nations Airports
- Assassination On Christmas Eve
- Bones Of Her Hands
- Chumming The Ocean
- Chumming The Oceans
- Dead Read Eyes
- Dead Red Eyes
- Death In The Park
- Distance Comes In Droves
- Fashion Bleeds
- Floating Friends
- Form And File
- Form & File
- Freezing Point
- Greatest Of All Time
- Harnessed In Slums
- Hate Paste
- Last Word
- Learo, You�re A Hole
- Let The Loser Melt
- Lowest Part Is Free
- Nevermind The Enemy
- One Slight Wrong Move
- Perfect Time
- Rental Sting
- Scenic Pastures
- Slick Tricks And Bright Lights
- Slick Tricks & Bright Lights
- Slow Worm
- South Carolina
- Step Into The Light
- Strangled By The Stereowire
- The Worst Defense
- The Worst Has Yet To Come
- Underachievers March And Fight Song
- Underachievers March & Fight Song
- Underdogs Of Nipomo
- Vocal Sharpnel
All lyrics are property of their respective owners and are strictly for non-commercial use only.