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Shudder to Think's hardcore punk background (courtesy of their affiliation with the D.C.-based label Dischord Records, also the home of Fugazi) doesn't give the best indication of their sound, since the group embraced pop influences and a skewed sense of songwriting as well. Formed in 1986, the band's initial lineup -- vocalist/guitarist Craig Wedren, guitarist Chris Matthews, bassist Stuart Hill, and drummer Mike Russell -- released two singles and one 1989 album (Curse, Spells, Voodoo, Mooses) before signing with the Dischord label. Shudder to Think remained with Dischord for three influential albums -- 1990's Ten-Spot, 1991's Funeral at the Movies, and 1992's Get Your Goat -- while touring alongside the likes of Fugazi and the Smashing Pumpkins. Matthews and Russell had both left the group by 1994, with guitarist Nathan Larson and drummer Adam Wade stepping in to replace them. Additional changes followed as the band inked its first major-label contract. After signing with Epic, Shudder to Think released Pony Express Record in 1994. During the three years that followed, Wedren successfully overcame Hodgkin's Disease, Larson released an album with his side project Mind Science of the Mind, and Wade was replaced with former Dambuilders drummer Kevin March. 50,000 B.C. was released after that period of activity, but it ultimately failed to push the band into the big time. One year later, Shudder to Think focused its attention on soundtrack work for the indie films First Love, Last Rites (which included songs in various musical styles sung by alt-rock notables like Liz Phair, Billy Corgan, and Robin Zander, as well as one of Jeff Buckley's last recorded works) and High Art, the latter featuring Brian Eno-like instrumental soundscapes. Larson left the band that same year, though, and his departure proved to be the final straw. Shudder to Think split up in 1998, with Wedren launching a solo career shortly thereafter. Wedren played shows in the New York City area and appeared on the soundtrack Down to You. He also supplied backup vocals to the Verve Pipe's 1999 self-titled release and continued his soundtrack work for films. Nearly a decade after Shudder to Think's demise, Wedren joined former bandmates Larson and March for a series of reunion shows, including an event that supported presidential candidate Barack Obama. A fall tour followed in 2008 and was later documented on the concert album Live from Home. ~ John Bush & Greg Prato
1986 in Washington D.C.