A are a British alternative rock band from Suffolk, England, that formed in 1993. They have released four albums, and two live mini-albums.
Shortly after releasing their fourth album, Teen Dance Ordinance in 2005, the band took a hiatus. In 2007 'A' reunited for a one-off gig, and have been touring sporadically ever since, most recently with Bowling for Soup, on their October 2010 UK tour.
Formation, How Ace Are Buildings and A vs. Monkey Kong (1993 - 2000):
The band formed in Suffolk, England in the early 90s, as 'Grand Designs'. The band was founded by twins, Jason and Adam Perry, and their friend Mark Chapman, with bassist Stevie Swindon, and the twins' younger brother Giles Perry joining in the early 90s. The members cited their influences as: Rush, The Beach Boys, Van Halen and the Beastie Boys.
After changing their name to 'A' in 1993, and abandoning their early progressive rock-inspired sound for a more punk rock style, they signed a European recording contract with British (Warner Bros. Records) in 1996 and released their debut LP How Ace Are Buildings in 1997. Also in 1997, the band briefly appeared in the music video for "Anthem" by The Wildhearts. The band found a healthy underground reception and even had a couple of low-charting singles in the UK. After the mild success brought to the band by How Ace Are Buildings, bassist Stevie Swindon decided to quit the band. He was replaced by bassist and future BBC Radio 1 Rock Show DJ Daniel P Carter. A licensing agreement for the American music market was reached with the North Carolina-based Mammoth Records. Future releases would be distributed in the U.S. and Canada by Mammoth. A second album 'A' Vs. Monkey Kong followed in 1999. The band then toured the world and enjoyed a small degree of success worldwide, especially in Germany. They released a live album, Exit Stage Right in 2000.
Hi-Fi Serious and commercial success (2002):
Hi-Fi Serious was their third album, released in 2002. It was preceded by their biggest single to date, "Nothing", which saw the band reach the UK top ten for the first time, hitting number 9, and the further top 20 hit "Starbucks", named after the coffee chain. The tour following Hi-Fi Serious saw the band playing their largest venues to date, headlining the 5,000 capacity Brixton Academy as part of their 'Inner-City Sumo' Tour. At the end of the year they won the Kerrang! award for "Best British Band". In 2004, their single "Nothing" was added to Beyblade's Let It Rip! official soundtrack. In 2007, "Something's Going On" and "The Distance" were added to the Surf's Up video game soundtrack.
Teen Dance Ordinance and hiatus (2005):
'A' released their fourth album, Teen Dance Ordinance (TDO), on June 27, 2005. The album had been recorded two years earlier, but was heavily delayed due to Jason Perry's illness and disputes with the record company. It featured a more straight-rock sound and displayed an almost complete absence of the keyboards and sampling that marked the early sound of the band. Unlike their last two albums, Teen Dance Ordinance was not released in the US. Hollywood Records agreed early on to release it in the US, but ultimately did not.
Since the release of Teen Dance Ordinance in 2005, the band had been working on other projects. Jason Perry spent time writing, recording, and touring with Matt Willis, formerly of Busted, and has now become a successful producer, working with the likes of The Blackout, Kids in Glass Houses, and McFly. Adam Perry and Daniel P Carter have become full-time members of The Bloodhound Gang, Adam replacing drummer Willie the New Guy in 2005, and Daniel replacing guitarist Lupus Thunder in 2009. Daniel P Carter has also been hosting BBC Radio 1's Rock Show since 25 September 2006. He continues writing material with Jason Perry, and artists such as McFly, as well as previously playing bass in Matt Willis' band for his first album. He is also playing guitar and lead vocals in new hardcore punk band, Hexes. Mark Chapman is currently teaching, and has played in the bands Malpractice, alongside drum n bass producer Adam F, and MiLLS, fronted by former Cable drummer Richie Mills. Giles Perry currently works for the BBC, and has also produced videos for Hundred Reasons and Biffy Clyro.
When questioned at the Download Festival in 2007, Daniel Carter said the band would be reuniting for a "few shows" at the end of the year. In a 2008 interview, Jason Perry explained the hiatus and expressed how much he had enjoyed being in the band, reiterating the desire to record and tour again in the future.
In August 2008, Adam Perry revealed six tour dates supporting The Wildhearts on the band's forum, noting that: "This is going to be wicked and we are grateful to The Wildhearts for dragging us from our retirement! Plus there are now big plans afoot to start the new record for next year."
Bassist Daniel P Carter did not return to the band, however, and was replaced by John Mitchell, current frontman of It Bites and producer (Enter Shikari, Hexes). Carter posted on the forums:
'A' was some of the greatest times I have ever had playing music and I love those boys. I don't think I am 'too good' to be playing in 'A' and its not because I am too busy with my job at Radio 1. Its simply that when we drew a line in the sand and said we were done, I felt like we were. We played the one off show a while back and though it was fucking great whilst we were playing, as soon as it was finished I felt a bit confused as to what had just happened. So, to cease any speculation and so no one thinks there is any weirdness, I won't be playing the shows because I am trying to sort out my new band and focus on that for a little bit... If there are going to be more 'A' shows in the future, I may play them, I may not, depends if they still want me after John has shown his bass skills, but whatever happens I will be at the London show watching my brothers play some rocking tunes and I will sing along. The end.
John Mitchell played his first show with the band on 3 December 2008 at the Sheffield Carling Academy supporting The Wildhearts.
Possible new album (2009- present):
'A' played a 10-date UK tour in December 2009, supported by This City. On 13 May 2010, 'A' were announced as a support band for the Bowling For Soup Autumn tour by their singer Jaret Reddick on his Twitter account. It was announced via the band's own Twitter on 26 May 2010, that Daniel P. Carter would be returning to the band for this tour.
On 20 June 2011, 'A' announced via their Twitter feed that they would be heading into the studio to record some new tracks. No further details have been released. Later on that year, The Subways released their third studio album Money & Celebrity, in which its fourth track "I Wanna Dance With You" sees Perry and Carter being credited with songwriting duties alongside the band.
'A' played a one-off show at the Kasbah nightclub, Coventry on 1 December 2012.
Jason Perry - lead vocals (1993-present),
Mark Chapman - guitar (1993-present),
Adam Perry - drums (1993-present),
Giles Perry - keyboards (1993-present),
Daniel P. Carter - bass (1997-2007, 2010-present),
Steve Swindon - bass (1993-97),
John Mitchell - bass (2008-09)