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Peter Searcy

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Biography

Best known as the frontman of cult favorite teen punk combo Squirrel Bait, singer/songwriter Peter Searcy was born and raised in Louisville, KY, where as a child he studied cello and violin. Profoundly influenced by the music of Hüsker Dü and Minor Threat, in 1984 he co-founded Squirrel Bait with guitarists David Grubbs and Brian McMahan, bassist Clark Johnson, and drummer Britt Walford; despite an average age of 15, the group soon landed a contract with indie label Homestead, issuing their self-titled 1985 debut EP to much critical acclaim. Distinguished by Searcy's raw, Paul Westerberg-like wail, Squirrel Bait issued only one proper LP (1987's Skag Heaven) before disintegrating, but their influence proved enormous: not only did the band's thrash-pop approach anticipate the rise of grunge by a half-decade, but its members all went on to play key roles in independent circles — McMahan and Walford teamed in the groundbreaking Slint, while Grubbs and Johnson reunited in Bastro (with the former subsequently founding Gastr del Sol). Searcy, meanwhile, formed Big Wheel, which issued its debut, East End, in 1989; after two more albums, 1992's Holiday Manor and 1993's Slowtown, the group dissolved, and when his next project, Starbilly, fell apart after just one LP (1995's Master Vibrator), he relocated to Atlanta and took a job waiting tables while playing the occasional live date. Searcy's solo debut, Could You Please and Thank You, followed on Time Bomb in early 2000. 2004's Couch Songs was a more labored affair, recorded back in Louisville (with Butch Walker), and was his only album during his brief stint on Initial. Looking to snatch back some of his early rock gusto and sincerity, Searcy got a real band together and started work on his next batch of songs during 2006. His resulting 2007 effort Spark was recorded (largely) live in the studio, with the prior year's worth of full-band rehearsals providing the core of what would be his biggest return to the workman-like rock ethic of his first recordings.

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