Name Of Band: Arcwelder
Hometown: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Year Formed: 1987
Bio: We're all from Minneapolis.
The band started out in 1988 under the name tiltawhirl. Rob and Scott had been playing together in bands for a couple of years before that (not that anyone has/had heard of them). Basically, at the first practice was the first time Bill had ever played electric guitar.
Our first single (Pint of Blood b/w Define My Life) came out in 1988. It was self produced, self-packaged and self-distributed. I think 500 copies were pressed.
We then put out two records on the Minneapolis label Big Money Inc. The first was 'This' in 1990. As it was being released, we were sued by the manufacturer of the Tilt-a-Whirl carnival ride and we were forced to change our name. Under time pressure (14 days or we would be taken to court), we decided on Arcwelder, which was/is the title of an instrumental on the record. The initial release of 'This' contains a disclaimer sticker written up by the lawyers about the lack of affiliation between the manufacturer and the band, etc.
'This' was followed by 'Jacket Made In Canada' in 1991. The CD version of 'Jacket' also contained all of the songs from 'This'. 24 songs in all. Jacket represented our first major radio exposure in the Twin Cities area, the song 'Favor' received fairly substantial airplay on the local radio station KJJO 104. In fact, 'Favor' remains probably our most popular song in the Mpls/St Paul. Favor also garnered some international attention, from Douphonic in England. They did a one time 7" pressing of 'Favor' backed with 'Plastic', another song off of 'Jacket'. That single was picked in NME as the "Punk Rock Single of the Week" (or something like that) by none other the New Order.
In 1992 we were asked to open a tour for our friend and fellow Minneapolitan, Flour. Flour was already on the Touch and Go label at the time. When the tour passed through Chicago, Corey Rusk, the president of T+G, came out to see the show. He liked us well enough to get a demo tape to listen to and subsequently we joined the Touch and Go roster.
Prior to switching to T+G we put out one more single on Big Money: 'More Popular Than Cheeses: I am the Walrus b/w Sign-of-the-Times'. The A side is obviously the John Lennon classic, the B side is a Prince song. The single was pressed on multi-colored red/clear "flame-ball" vinyl.
Our first T+G release was a single of the song 'Raleigh' taken from 4 track demos of what was to become our third record 'Pull'. 'Pull' itself was released in the spring of 1993.
In 1994 we released our fourth record 'Xerxes'.
In 1995 we released the 'Captain Allen/White Elephant' single (White Elephant being a cover of the Volcano Suns tune).
Then 'Entropy', our 5th full length, and 3rd on T&G was released in April of 1996.
Along the way we have been fortunate enough to tour/play with some pretty amazing bands.
In late 1992 we toured for several weeks with the Jesus Lizard on their "Liar" tour. They were the best live band on the planet. Plain and simple.
Following the release of Pull we toured with another fellow T+G band: Tar. We hit it off amazingly well with Tar and they remain good friends. Unfortunately, the last time we played with them (Nov 1995 at Lounge Axe in Chicago) , was their last ever show. (sigh..).
In 1996, in support of "Entropy", we played the midwestern leg of Jawbox's summer tour. A splendid time was had by all. Sad to say that Jawbox has since broken up (not cause and effect I hope). If you never saw them, you missed a great band and a great show.
1999 saw our return to the studio after 3 years of verrry slooowly writing new material. We recorded our 6th album, "Everest", in March/April. Again at Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls. It was released on Sept 28th, 1999.
So, life goes on. Non-band commitments continue to take up most of our time. We do still play regionally several times a year. In 2002 (and again in 2004) we were honored to be asked by Shellac to play at the "All Tomorrows Parties" festival in Camber Sands, England. It was a truly amazing experience. In 2008 we played at the in Sant Feliu Fest in Catalonia and in the summer fo 2009 we finally toured the US west coast with Shellac.
Thanks to everyone who still remembers us and wants us to play in their town. It is very satisfying/gratifying to have people enjoy what we do.
Never say never - who knows we may hit the road again one of these months.
Do your best to describe the sound of your band in one sentence:
We play rock music.
What are the most recent activities of your band?
Since Bill is now living in Singapore it has been difficult to get together and play. We played a few shows in Minneapolis last year, including one with Wire, but certainly not as much as we have in the past.
How excited are you to play this event?
We are always excited to play. If we are not excited about a show we do not do it. This is one of the advantages of not having the band be our only source of income. Having said that, ATP is a pretty amazing event for us.
Do you have a connection with Shellac / an idea why you were chosen to play?
We have pictures. Actually, we have been friends with the members of Shellac for many years.In the early days we played many shows with Todd's previous band Rifle Sport, and we have known Steve and Bob since the early 90's. Bob engineered our last three records.
Which of your releases do you feel ATP attendees should check out first?
Most people seem to think "Pull" is the best record. (listen on Spotify) It is very hard for us to pick, but that is as good a place to start as any.
Is there one of your tracks you think specifically represents you best?
Wow - not really. Do any bands answer this? [Editor: Yes.]
Are there any other currently confirmed bands you're excited about seeing?
Pretty much all of them. Scott is especially excited to see The Ex and intrigued by seeing the Membranes live. We always enjoy seeing Wire and Mission of Burma and, of course, Shellac.
If you were curating, name three bands you'd want to play your event...
The Magic Band
If you could pick one record release in the last year which would you recommend?
Scott again: Za! - Megaflow. They have the right amount of weirdness combined with their ability to rock out.
What have your previous experiences at ATP been like? Any favourite memories?
We played both 2002 and 2004 at Camber Sands and both were among the best experiences we have had as a band.
Rob: Mission of Burma, the Fall, Wire, Melt Banana, Oxes, and having members of Rachel's play with us in 2002.
Scott: My favorite memories include seeing The Fall from the side of the stage, seeing great sets from Blonde Redhead, Melt Banana and the Danielson Famile, seeing Mogwai for the first time, rehearsing with Rachel's in their chalet, and snickering at cans of Spotted Dick at the Convenience Store. And as a spectator at ATP LA, seeing amazing sets by The Magic Band, The Stooges and The Contortions