The Chills

Biography

Over the years the Chills have released a number of brilliant pop songs, right from the outset their material has been catchy and melodic, and have a certain eerie quality to them that separates them from most mainstream pop outfits. All their brilliant early material such as the Dunedin Double split EP (shared with the Verlaines, Sneaky Feelings and the Stones), and the Rolling Moon and Pink Frost singles were compiled in the mid 80s on the Kaledeiscope World album, which was later reissued with bonus tracks once released as a CD. Probably the best example of the Chills vast catalog, it must be considered a vital purpose, unless you can get your hands on the very rare original New Zealand-only Flying Nun vinyl copies releases.

The Chill’s brilliant young drummer Martyn Bull became ill with leukemia in 1982, passing away in early 1983. Band leader Martin Phillips almost brought the band to an end, but after a hiatus of sorts he decided to carry on, replacing a number of band members (which became a habit for the Chills – over 20 years, Phillips is the only surviving member out of over 40 musicians).

By this time they had developed a rather large fan base in the UK thanks to the signature hit ‘I love my leather jacket’, and Phillips decided to write their first full-length album Brave Worlds in Britain, after picking up a record deal with rough trade to release the (now dedicated to Martyn Bull) compilation album Kaleidescope World. Brave Worlds was a great success – being one of the Chills most consistent yet dynamic releases, the simple beauty of ‘Wet Blanket’ showed that Phillips had nearly reached a level of pop perfection in his song writing.

In the succeeding years the chills continued their trend of recycling contributing members, and producing quality pop tunes. After the brilliant follow up albums Submarine Bells and Soft Bomb (which saw considerable success, especially with the aptly named single ‘Heavenly Pop Hit’) the Chills went into somewhat of a decline, with Phillips working through a number of emotional and dependency problems. Most of the later nineties dragged for the Chills, as only the somewhat lukewarm Sunburnt was produced in the later half of the decade.

Around the turn of the century Phillips formed a new band, with new members Todd Knudson (drums), Rodney Haworth (bass) and James Dickson (keyboards) going on to become Phillips’ long-serving accompanists. This line-up has continued to tour and produce new songs, even unleashing lost material from his plentiful songbook (through several rarity compilations, and the intriguing Sketchbook album) in a solo capacity [see Phillips solo entry].

In 2004 the ‘Stand By’ EP was released – 8 songs the now established Chills touring group had been performing alongside their classic repertoire. This remained the last original material the group would release for almost a decade until new single ‘Melted Gold’ appeared as a streaming song on the popular Pitchfork magazine.

Members

  • Martin Phillips (Vocals/Guitar, 1980 -)
  • Peter Gutteridge (Bass, 1980)
  • Martyn Bull (Drums, 1980 – 1983)

Discography

  • Dunedin Double 4xEP [1982 W/ Sneaky Feelings, The Stones, The Verlaines on Flying Nun DUN1/2]
  • ‘Rolling Moon’/’Bite’/’Flame Thrower’ 7″ Single [1982, Flying Nun, COLD001]
  • ‘Pink Frost’/’Purple Girl’ 7″ Single [1984, Flying Nun, COLD002]
  • ‘Doledrums’/’The Hidden Bay’ 7″ Single [1984, Flying Nun, COLD003]
  • The ‘Lost’ 12″ EP [1985, Flying Nun, COLD004]
  • Kaleidescope World Mini-LP [1985/6, Flying Nun, COLD005 / FnE13]
  • ‘Green Eyed Owl’/’I’ll Only See You Again’ 7″ Single [1986 Bonus With FNE13, Flying Nun, FN47 1/2]
  • ‘The Great Escape’/’I Love My Leather Jacket’ 7/12″ Single [1986, Flying Nun, COLD006/7 / FNUK]
  • ‘House With A Hundred Rooms’/’Party In My Heart’/’Living In The Jungle’ 12″ Single [1986, Flying Nun, FNUK11]
  • Kaleidescope World [1986, Flying Nun, FNE13]
  • Brave Worlds [1987, Flying Nun, FN090 / FNE12 / FNUK12]
  • ‘Wet Blanket’/’I Think I Thought Of Nothing Else To Think About’ 7″ Single [1988, Flying Nun, FN097]
  • Submarine Bells [1990 Flying Nun / Slash/Liberation 30342]
  • ‘Heavenly Pop Hit’/’Part Past, Part Fiction’/’Water Wolves’ 7″ Single [1990 Flying Nun / Slash/Liberation
  • Soft Bomb [1992 Slash/Liberation L30782]
  • ‘Male Monster From The Id’/’Double Summer’ Single [1992 Flying Nun]
  • Heavenly Pop Hits [Compilation 1994, Flying Nun, FN306]
  • ‘Come Home’ Single [1995 Flying Nun]
  • ‘Surrounded’ Single [1995 Flying Nun]
  • Sunburnt [1996, Flying Nun, FN303]
  • Secret Box – The Chills’ Rarities, 1980-2000 [Compilation 2000 Definitive Music Dm001]
  • Stand By EP [2004 Flying Nun MPM001]
  • ‘Melted Gold’ digital single [2013]

Links

 

Martin Phillips

Although Martin Phillips can essentially be regarded as the heart and soul of his two-decade old troop the Chills (and the only surviving member of some 20+ line-up changes), Phillips has released material in a solo capacity which he clarified as being a seperate entity from his long-standing band.

2000’s ‘Sketchbook Vol. 1’ was a finely compiled and represented anthology of some of Phillips lost material – as over the years he has taken it upon himself to record several hundred hours of song-fragments that failed to make it to release.

Phillips originally debuted back in the late 70s with the unrecorded The Same – a punky troup who shared the same characteristics of the early Clean, though a little greener-still behind the ears. The Same were born into the same scene that spawned Shayne Carters’ high school gang Bored Games, and were inspired to action by witnessing small-town heros the Clean and (primarily) the Enemy in their formulative stages.
Discography (picks in bold)

  • Sunburnt [1996 As Martin Phillips And The Chills Flying Nun Fn303]

  • ‘Come Home’/’How Much This Place Has Changed’/’Lies, Lies, Lies’/’The Streets Of Forgotten Cool’ Cd Single [1996 As Martin Phillips And The Chills Flying Nun Fn340]

  • ‘Come Home’/’The Streets Of Forgotten Cool’ 7″ Single [1996 As Martin Phillips And The Chills Flying Nun Fn340]

  • ‘Surrounded’/’Friends Again’/’Stupid Way To Go’/’Yabba Dabba Doo’ Cd Single [1996 As Martin Phillips And The Chills Flying Nun Fn365]

  • ‘Surrounded’/’Yabba Dabba Doo’ 7″ Single [1996 As Martin Phillips And The Chills Flying Nun Fn365]

  • Sketch Book Vol. 1 [2000 Flying Nun Fn415]

See-Also