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Formed in Washington, D.C., in 1990, Chisel was one of the first revivalist bands of the denim-clad mod/punk movement that would inspire the likes of the Mooney Suzuki and the Delta 72. Under the indomitably energetic songwriting of singer/guitarist Ted Leo, the trio included bassist Chris Norborg and drummer John Dugan.
Chisel built a strong fan base before they had a sizable discography by touring with a host of popular indie bands — including Blonde Redhead, Karate, and Fugazi — through the early '90s. Their first official single releases — "Sunburn," "Nothing New," "The Guns of Meridian Hill" — were released on Gern Blandsten records and were critical successes, combining the legendary garage sound of the '60s with Ted Leo's complex, melodic ideas. In 1996, Chisel's debut full-length, 8 A.M. All Day, took these combinations further and solidified their underground cult following. Following the 1997 release of Set You Free (also on Gern Blandsten), Chisel disbanded.