Growing up in a working class family on Indianapolis' Southside, I always dreamed that there was something more to adolescence than the mind-numbing sense gratification of drugs and alcohol, the false coolness of smoking cigarettes, the comfortable security of apathy towards world events and the ridiculous posturing of cock rock heavy metal bands like Bon Jovi. In 1988 - at fourteen - I stumbled upon what I believed that "something more" to be - straight-edge hardcore. I had already become well versed in thrash metal and old-school West Coast punk rock like the Dead Kennedys. But, when a spiky-haired, leather jacket-wearing friend of mine since elementary school stumbled upon Revelation Records' New York City Hardcore / The Way It Is compilation, I found my light in the darkness.
I quickly turned a friend of ours onto this exciting new scene. When he answered a classified in Maximum Rock n' Roll from a kid on the Northside of town looking for straight-edge pen pals, we could not have had any idea what we were starting. The kid who placed the ad was named Steve Dujinske. He was a year or two younger than us and lived in Carmel, a wealthy suburb right above the Circle City. He was forming a straight-edge band with two neighbors of his based around the ideology and music of bands like Pushed Aside, Brotherhood (whose members went on to form Sunny Day Real Estate), and Youth of Today. In the coming years, many kids would hear conflicting versions of how and why the band was named. The real story goes like this…
Shortly after finishing up an early band practice, Clay Snider (guitar), Charlie Walker (drums), Curtis Mead (bass) and Stevie D (vocals) let off some steam by bouncing on a trampoline in somebody's backyard. Charlie fell and busted his mouth, and a moniker was decided upon then and there - SPLIT LIP.
Split Lip began playing around town and quickly amassed a small following. But, it wasn't until the addition of 13-year old guitar wizard, Adam Rubenstein, new vocalist Dave Moore, and the recording of a couple of demos that the band really started to take off, garnering the attention of surrounding big-city hardcore scenes in Chicago, Louisville and St. Louis, and earning them an agreement with the then-budding Doghouse Records.
The band's first recording for Doghouse, the now highly sought-after Soulkill 7-inch single, showed promising signs of what would soon become the band's staples: introverted and deeply thoughtful lyrics, innovative guitar signatures and impeccable drumming. Each unique element of their sound endeared them to a hardcore scene long burdened with cookie-cutter clones, while shifting them gradually away from that very same scene…
Written by Ryan Downey
Publisher / Editor - Prophet Fanzine (Issue #3)
Not long after the release of Fate's got a Driver in 1995 the band renamed itself Chamberlain. The vocals on Fate's Got a Driver were re-recorded and the album re-released in 96. Many have attributed the name change to a shift of values, from straight edge to religion, which would explain references to Christianity in future lyrics and the bands movement toward less aggressive, slower, more melodic compositions.
They went on to record a split EP with Old Pike, a single "Go Down Believing", and two further albums, “The Moon My Saddle” and “Exit 263”. Obvious comparisons were made to early Bruce Springsteen and many of the early fans expressed disappointment in their change of direction, nevertheless Chamberlain maintained a large fan base and received positive reviews for their recordings and live shows. They disbanded in 2000.
Written by Dan Morgan
Lost at E-Minor
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