The Chills - Fits and Starts - but so far, so good.

Todd Knudsen And The Chills – In Session – 2014 – Past Daily Soundbooth.

The Chills – Fits and Starts – but so far, so good.

Todd Knudsen And The Chills – Marc Riley – BBC 6 Music – July 22, 2014 – BBC 6 Music –

Todd Knudsen and The Chills tonight – in session for Marc Riley at BBC 6 Music in London and broadcast live on July 22, 2014.

The Chills formed in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1980. The band is essentially the continuing project of singer/songwriter Martin Phillipps, who is the group’s sole constant member. For a time in the 1990s, the act was billed as Martin Phillipps & The Chills. In the 1980s and 1990s, The Chills had some significant chart success in their homeland, and were a cult band in other parts of the world as one of the earliest proponents of the Dunedin sound.

Between then and 2014 (the year of this session), the band went through no less than four breakups or periods of hiatus – this last incarnation got started in 1999 and seems to be the longest run so far.

This seemingly constant turnover of personnel is often cited as one of several reasons for the band’s lack of consistent “saleability”, and is referred to by the local music scene as “the curse of the Chills”. The “curse” struck again with the recording of the album Sunburnt in England, in the summer of 1995. Two band members were refused entry into the UK, so session musicians had to be recruited at the last moment. Dave Mattacks of Fairport Convention and XTC’s Dave Gregory provided drum and bass work for the album, with Phillipps the only other credited musician (aside from guest keyboards played by producer Craig Leon). This album was issued in early 1996 under the group name Martin Phillipps and The Chills.

After that the band again split, with Phillipps appearing in another one of David Kilgour’s bands, the Heavy Eights. Nevertheless, Phillipps continued to recruit new Chills members for live shows, and played at least a few shows as The Chills every year from 1997 on. For much of the late 1990s, though, Phillipps was laid low with hepatitis C, a side effect of drug addiction problems. He released an album of solo home demos (Sketch Book: Volume One) in 1999; the demos themselves dated from between 1988 and 1995. In 2000, a 3-CD box set of Chills live tracks, demos, radio sessions and rarities appeared, entitled Secret Box.

In May 2010, the band played two shows in Australia, their first shows outside New Zealand since 1996. Three years later, after another 9-year hiatus from the recording studio, a single newly recorded Chills track called “Molten Gold” was issued. The track was a non-album 7” single with the re-recorded ‘Pink Frost 13’ as a B-Side, and was released on Martin Phillipps’ 50th birthday (July 2, 2013).

This session, from 2014 puts us right smack in the middle of this latest incarnation – it would be a good idea to just crank this one up to get an idea what you’ve been missing and who to look for, should they be hitting the road again anytime soon.

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