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U.S. Maple

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Chicago, United States (1995 – present)

U.S. Maple was an American rock band. The group was formed in 1995 at Chicago’s Northern Illinois University by former members of Snailboy aka. Shorty and the Mercury Players. The band consists of Al Johnson (lead singer), Mark Shippy (guitarist), Pat Samson (drummer), and Todd Rittmann (guitarist) — who banded together with the intent of becoming the deconstructionists of rock and roll.

The members from each band met at the corner of Grand and Western Avenues, and as the band would reveal later on their website, began discussing how the group could erase rock and roll from their collective minds. The assembled group set out to devise a working method for reorganizing Rock and Roll, keeping only what they felt were its most important core elements. Recognizing they were kindred spirits, the group decided then and there to join together in an attempt to realize some of their musical ambitions.

U.S. Maple inherited vocalist Al Johnson and guitarist Mark Shippy from Snailboy/Shorty, while drummer Pat Samson and second guitarist Todd Rittman were transplants from the Mercury Players. The band’s first recording came in the form of a two song 7” single produced by Doug Easley and recorded in September 1995 at Easley Studios in Memphis, Tennessee (during these sessions a cover version of AC/DC’s “Sin City” was also recorded, and eventually released on Skin Graft’s “Sides 1-4” 7” compilation).

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