1987 – present (30 years)
- Al Laughlin (1987 – 1997)
- Alex Matson (1997 – 2003)
- Andy Sheldon (1987 – 2003)
- Bill Mutchler (2003 – present)
- Brian Powers
There are at least two bands with this name:
1) an American band formed in Boulder, Colorado, in early 1987
2) a British punk band from Worcester, England, formed in 1978
1. The Samples are an American band formed in Boulder, Colorado, in early 1987. The band's name came from the members' early sustenance of food samples from the local grocery store. The music has been described as "reggae influenced folk and rock/pop". The founding members were Sean Kelly (Guitar/Vocals), Andy Sheldon (Bass/Vocals), Charles Hambleton (guitar), Jeep MacNichol (Drums/Vocals), and Al Laughlin (Keyboards, Vocals). They have not released an album since 2005. Since 2008, they have only performed live sporadically, and sometimes under the name "Sean Kelly and The Samples".
Sean Kelly and Charles Hambleton met in 1985 in Burlington, Vermont at an open mic called The Sheik, leading to the formation of the band Secret City in 1986. After playing together in Burlington for a year, the pair moved to Boulder, CO and met up with Andy Sheldon, a friend and member of a prior band with Kelly. Jeep MacNichol joined the band as drummer after responding to an ad posted at the University of Colorado. After playing around the area, Al Laughlin saw the group perform at a frat party and asked if the group needed a keyboardist, an offer the band accepted.
The band gradually gained fame and released their first self-titled album The Samples on their own label. Following the release, they signed with Arista Records and re-released the same album in May 1989. However, the relationship with Arista was short-lived as irreconcilable differences quickly came up from the label's desire to change their sound. Their contract with Arista was terminated and the band continued to tour unsigned. In 1991, Hambleton left the band to flee to the Caribbean over a heroin charge. He later appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean and was associate producer of the film The Cove.
The Samples continued to tour and released their own self-published album, Underwater People, composed of both studio-recorded and live tracks. The band soon joined the newly-formed independent label, W.A.R.? - What Are Records?. Their records, including "Underwater People" (1992), "No Room" (1992), "The Last Drag" (1993) and "Autopilot" (1994) blended pop sensibility with a mix of folk, reggae, jazz, and rock to create their own signature sound. Sean Kelly, as the main songwriter, wrote songs about nature and the environment giving the band an "eco-friendly" reputation. Sheldon's thumping bass, MacNichol's Stewart Copeland-inspired beats and Laughlin's off-beat reggae chords supported Kelly's inspired songwriting and Sting-like vocals. They became a success throughout the early 1990s, selling over one million copies of their catalogue based on a genuine grass roots campaign. Their live shows helped them on the college circuit selling out venues in college towns across the country. The band headlined some of the H.O.R.D.E. tour shows in 1993 and 1996 and they shared the bill with big names such as The Allman Brothers Band, Blues Traveler, and Phish. On their own tours, many up and coming bands opened up for them including Dave Matthews Band, Hootie & the Blowfish, and Lisa Loeb. The success included television performances on The Tonight Show and House of Blues.
In 1996, The Samples signed with MCA Records and released "Outpost", their 5th studio album. Due to a buyout, MCA was experiencing financial difficulties and significant corporate reshuffling, and, as a result, many small or recently-signed bands were dropped from the label that year. The Samples' contract with MCA was subsequently terminated. The following year, The Samples often toured as a three-piece while Laughlin stayed in Colorado to address his heroin abuse and a robbery charge. He would leave the band shortly thereafter, along with MacNichol who left to pursue a solo career. The Samples rejoined What Are Records? and released three more albums, Transmissions from the Sea of Tranquility, The Tan Mule and Here and Somewhere Else. In 2000 the band began to release albums independently. Since 1997, there have been numerous member changes with the exception of Sean Kelly as frontman.
In April 2008, The Samples came to an end, as Sean Kelly wrote: "The long and winding road for The Samples has ended. Outside of possibly playing a few rumored dates with the original line up next fall, The Samples will be no longer." However, the band continued to play a few shows through 2009. The original five-piece lineup reunited for a show at Mile High Music Festival in 2010 and formed a new lineup and played the Denver Day of Rock. They continued to tour the spring and summer of 2011.
2. The Samples were a UK punk band from Worcester England, formed in 1978.
Sean 'Badger' Taylor - Vocals
Dave Evans - Ld Guitar
Dave Saunders - Rh Guitar
Pascal 'Pecker' Smith - Bass
Tony Allen - Drums
Rick 'Vividhead' Mayhew - Drums
Worcester's finest for nearly 12 years, The Samples played, danced and got very pissed at some 200+ live dates. They played with the likes of The Fall, Blitz, Vice Squad, Discharge etc..and most of the Oi! period Punk bands; anyone who was anybody promised The Samples dates or support slots - only a few came up with the goods. They played at The Lyceum in London, the 100 Club on several occasions and most of the London club venues - always for crap money and flat beer, but that was the fun of it - The Samples always did it for fun, they didn't wantto be trendy or Garry Bushell's favourite 'dish of the week', it wasn't important. Signing to No Future gave The Samples a world-wide audience with letters coming from all over the globe. Dead Hero sold 7,500 and reached the Independent top 10 and 104 in the national chart. Oh what fame! Without a second single or LP, The Samples carried on regardless and played many CND, Anti-Hunt and Animal Liberation gigs. Although not an Anarchist band, The Samples belief was a true Left Wing approach to the world's problems.
As the eighties approached its end, The Samples became 'semi-retired', coming out to play now and again, still managing to attract 200-300 in their home town. The last London gig was supporting Broken Bones. The whole Punk thing became far too pretentious and fashionable - I believe it was someone called Johnny Rotten who said it became 'No Fun' - and how right he was…
Their only single for No Future, "Dead Hero", was coincidently released a week before the Falklands War. A couple of music papers refused to print promotions for the single until a press release was issued explaining that the song was written about the First World War. It went on to sell 7,500 copies. A follow-up single entitled "Nobody Cares" was recorded for No Future, but the label folded before its release.
This is also the incorrect tag for the electronic/glitch-hop artist Samples: http://www.bensamples.com/
Artist descriptions on Last.fm are editable by everyone. Feel free to contribute!
All user-contributed text on this page is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.