The Mean Red Spiders came together in 1993 in Toronto, Canada. After a series of lineup changes, the group recorded and released their debut album Places You Call Home in 1998. They followed that effort with the full-length LP Starsandsons in 2000.
David Humphreys, Greg Chambers, and Lisa Nighswander met during the late 1980s while working at a record store in downtown Toronto. Humphreys, who had already done a lot of home recording of his guitar soundscapes, and Chambers, who learned how to play his six-string by cutting his teeth on albums by the Velvet Underground and the Feelies, decided that they would form a band. They recruited their mutual friend Nick Andrews to play bass and sing his original songs. Andrews auditioned drummers for the band and chose a man named Don Goldrick to beat the skins. Upon Goldrick's entrance into the group, he dubbed the band Mean Red Spiders in reference to an old Muddy Waters song. After many frustrating rehearsals due to the fact that Goldrick couldn't keep time, the Mean Red Spiders made their debut appearance in Toronto in 1993. Andrews grew frustrated shortly thereafter and exited the band, leaving all of the songwriting duties up to Humphreys and Chambers. Nighswander joined the group on bass following Andrews' departure, and it wasn't long before she took over vocal duties. Following disputes with Goldrick, the Mean Red Spiders released him from his duties in 1995. They immediately hired fill-in drummer Paul Boddum for some shows. At one of these performances, 122 Griege drummer Adam Rosen was so impressed that he approached the group about being their full-time drummer. In late 1995, the quartet, which now included Rosen, cut a self-released tape titled El Diablo, which contained cover versions of Devo's "Mongaloid" and the 13th Floor Elevators' "Reverberations." After playing Toronto for the next two years and founding the KIMfests music festival, the band began recording their debut full-length CD in 1997. After developing a swirling sonic assault for the past four years, they found it difficult to relay their live sound to tape. This caused the band to scrap many of their first attempts until they met David Newfeld, who had helped produce many avant-garde and dance groups in Canada. With the addition of Newfeld, the Mean Red Spiders recorded Places You Call Home. During the recording process, the band added keyboardist/effects manipulator Minesh Mandoda. Upon hearing the CD, local zine and Skullgeek record label owner Phil Klygo met the band. Klygo had a friend named Mark Dipetro who released the CD on his label Teenage USA Recordings in June 1998. Following the release, the Mean Red Spiders set off to tour Halifax, Canada; play at the New York CMJ conference; and perform at the North-by-Northeast festival. They also supported such acts as Blonde Redhead, Sam Prekop, Super Furry Animals, Bardo Pond, Low, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Ida, and Mojave 3 during this time. These tours were followed by the band's early 2000 release of their second full-length album Starsandsons on Teenage USA Recordings. ~ Stephen Howell