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About American Wrestlers

A lo-fi indie pop project that seemingly burst out of nowhere in late 2014, American Wrestlers was a one-man studio band that managed to rise above the fray thanks to inventive songwriting, clever low-budget production, and the support of the indie music blogosphere. American Wrestlers was the creation of Gary McClure, a musician born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland who, by the late '90s, had settled in Manchester, England and teamed up with producer and multi-instrumentalist Phil Kay to form the group Working for a Nuclear Free City. WFANFC were a favorite with critics and released three albums between 2006 and 2010, but the group's commercial reception wasn't as impressive as its reviews, and by 2013, McClure and Kay were drifting apart as collaborators, and McClure released a solo album, Wreaths. The album was a modest success but no more, and McClure was pondering the next step in his career when he met a woman named Bridgette Imperial, who was attending college in the U.K. McClure and Imperial hit it off, and when she returned to her home in St. Louis, Missouri, McClure flew to America to visit her, and the two decided to get married.

McClure got a job loading trucks for UPS as he settled into his new life in St. Louis, but he began coming up with fresh song ideas even though his instruments and recording gear were still in storage in the U.K. Eager to document his new tunes, McClure borrowed his wife's guitar and portable keyboard, bought a bass guitar and an eight-track tape machine at a pawn shop, and began recording rough but tuneful demos that made creative use of the primitive instrumentation and the flaws of the recording equipment. Naming his new project American Wrestlers, and coyly not identifying himself while hinting at his musical past, McClure posted an eight-song album on Bandcamp in late 2014, and sent links to a handful of bloggers and critics. Soon word began to spread, and some serious buzz built up behind the band, especially for the track "I Can Do No Wrong." Fat Possum Records stepped in to sign American Wrestlers, and they gave the Bandcamp album a physical release in April 2015. With the support of a label, McClure added Imperial to the official lineup on keyboards, Ian Reitz on bass, and Josh Van Hoorebeke on drums for a more expansive sound, and also invested in some improved recording equipment. Sleeker but still adorned with fuzz, Goodbye Terrible Youth arrived in 2016. ~ Mark Deming

  • ORIGIN
    St. Louis, MO
  • FORMED
    2014

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