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Martin Phillipps


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The Chills’ frontman Martin Phillipps (vocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion) has written more than 500 songs. However, in the ’80s and ’90s none of them managed to corral listeners in the U.S. and England except for a devout cult. Nevertheless, Phillipps is one of the world’s most influential indie pop songwriters, accumulating an acclaimed body of work that stretches back to the New Zealand punk scene of the late ’70s. Born in Dunedin, New Zealand, Phillipps discovered punk rock in 1978 at the age of 15; awed by the New Zealand punk band the Enemy, Phillipps started his own group, the Same. His initial role in the Same was as a guitarist, but he eventually became the band’s vocalist, too. In 1980, Phillipps formed the Chills after the Same’s demise. Phillipps asked Peter Gutteridge of the Clean, one of the groups he idolized, to join the Chills; however, Gutteridge left before the band even recorded its first single. After Gutteridge’s departure, the group’s other members quit to travel or attend college, and Phillipps suddenly found himself without a band. In 1981, Phillipps toured with the Clean and then created a new lineup for the Chills when he returned, acquiring a contract from the independent label Flying Nun Records a year later. After drummer Martyn Bull died from leukemia in 1983, Phillipps put the Chills on hiatus and briefly went solo. Phillipps recruited different musicians for the next version of the Chills, temporarily naming themselves A Wrinkle In Time, in December 1983.

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