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The Super Friendz

Like fellow Murderecords bands Eric's Trip, Jale, and the Inbreds, the Super Friendz broke up before they reached success -- if success means big U.S. sales. The group was well-known and respected on Canada's East Coast, with each member writing and singing his own songs, but their many talents ultimately led to the band's demise.

Formed in 1993 by Matt Murphy (guitar), Charles Austin (bass), and Drew Yamada (guitar), the trio was influenced by Television, the Clash, the Kinks, Neil Young, the Beatles, and the Meat Puppets. They played the burgeoning Halifax rock-pop scene with a myriad of stand-in drummers, including Thrush Hermit's Cliff Gibb and Sloan's Chris Murphy (no relation, though they've influenced each other's music). The Super Friendz released their first EP, By Request, in 1993 on the then-local Murderecords label. The cassette-only Sticktoitiveness was released in 1994, and in late 1994 they recorded their full-length debut, Mock Up/Scale Down, in ten days. The album was produced by Brenndan McGuire (Jale, Thrush Hermit, Sloan) without a permanent drummer -- local percussionist Dave Marsh filled in. After Mock Up's release in 1995, Lonnie James signed on as the fourth member of the Super Friendz. The refreshingly pop album had solid reviews and sales, and was nominated for a Best Alternative Album Juno in 1996.

The band's second EP, Play the Game, Not Games, was released in 1996; the full-length gem Slide Show was issued in 1997, as was the U.S. release of Sticktoitiveness, which combined Mock Up and Play the Game. Like other Halifax groups, the bandmembers had many side projects, but soon the Super Friendz project itself was pushed aside. The group disbanded in September 1997, and the old Friendz worked on their other music activities full time. Matt Murphy formed the Flashing Lights, Austin opened his own recording studio and formed Neusiland, Yamada toured with Mike O'Neill (of the Inbreds) and played with Neusiland, and James formed Lonnie James and the High Five Band. Murphy and James later lived and played in Toronto, while Yamada and Austin stayed in Halifax. ~ Gina Boldman, Rovi
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