|Origin||Champaign, Illinois, USA|
Grand Theft Autumn Records
Hobbledehoy Record Co
Glue Factory Records
City at Night Records
New Granada Records
Braid is an influential emo/post-hardcore band from Illinois that formed in 1993. After forming, the band went through several early line-up changes but eventually settled on Bob Nanna on guitar and vocals, Todd Bell on bass, Chris Broach on guitar and vocals, and Roy Ewing on drums. Roy was replaced in 1997 by Damon Atkinson.
The band reformed for a comprehensive US/Canada tour from June–August 2004 & a brief Japanese tour in August 2004. Braid became active once again in 2011, releasing an EP and playing a few shows, including their 600th show. They have signed with Topshelf records and have confirmed that they will begin work on a new album, set for a 2014 release.
Formation & early years
In fall 1993, Bob Nanna was playing drums in a Chicago band called Friction. Friction toured locally and opened for a few national acts like Jawbreaker. As Friction prepared to record their first album, Nanna left for college at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. The distance put a strain on the band-members, and Nanna was soon looking for another band as a side project.
Nanna met drummer Roy Ewing when he placed an ad in "Maximumrocknroll", looking for someone to trade live concert tapes with. Ewing also played with Nanna's high school friend, guitarist Pete Havranek. Nanna became their singer and guitarist, Jay Ryan joined them on bass, and Kate Reuss sang lead vocals. Nanna suggested the name Braid, and a new band was born. However, shortly after forming, Ryan left the band for various reasons. Todd Bell, who had played with Ewing in a band called Lowercase N, replaced him on bass. Braid played their first show December 10, 1993, in Danville, Illinois. Two months later, Reuss left the band after they played their second show. Braid decided not to replace her, leaving Nanna as the lead singer.
Nanna's other band, Friction, broke up in July 1994 after a short tour, turning Braid from a side project into the band members' main focus. With Nanna wary about his singing, Braid started looking for a new singer. They met Chris Broach at a show and invited him to sing with the band. By this time, relations with Havranek had started to thin. Citing creative differences, the rest of the band fired Havranek in August. As Broach was also a guitarist, he joined the band on guitar and second vocals.
First recordings & national tour
In September, Braid recorded three songs for their first release. The "Rainsnowmatch" 7-inch came out in December on Enclave Records. While Rainsnowmatch was being released, the band began recording their debut album. "Frankie Welfare Boy Age Five" was released in June 1995 on Divot Records. With a huge backlog of written material, Braid continued to write and record songs for various compilation appearances and 7-inch releases.
Starting in July 1995, Braid began their first national tour. They played traditional venues, such as bars and clubs, but also booked shows in the homes of fans and VFW halls. Whenever there was a break in touring, Braid booked recording sessions and began work on their second album. In July 1996, "The Age of Octeen' was released on Mud Records. Also in 1996, the "I'm Afraid of Everything" 7-inch was released on the band's own label, Grand Theft Autumn.
Departure of Ewing
By 1997, touring schedules had begun to take their toll on Ewing. In March, he decided to leave the band. With Ewing's blessing, Damon Atkinson of Figurehead, joined Braid's spring tour and became the band's drummer. That spring also saw Nanna graduate from college. This meant that Braid was free to be a band full-time.
Braid celebrated their new freedom by going on a headlining tour of Europe with their friends, The Get Up Kids opening. However, after the first night, the two bands decided to switch the playing order because of the popularity of The Get Up Kids in Europe. After the European tour, Braid returned to the states for another tour of the U.S. and Canada.
"Frame & Canvas"
In 1998, Braid recorded their third album at Inner Ear Studios with producer J. Robbins. "Frame & Canvas" was released by Polyvinyl Records in April 1998. Upon its release, the record impressed critics and brought Braid a larger fanbase and greater exposure. With a new record, they embarked on a new tour of the East Coast with Compound Red, and a Midwest/West Coast tour with The Get Up Kids.
Final recordings & breakup
Unfortunately, nonstop touring and recording was pulling the band members apart. Stress over money, poor conditions on the road, and disagreements over the bands direction all contributed to raw nerves within the band. In mid-1999, Braid entered the studio to record a new demo. After the recording session, Nanna, Broach, Bell, and Atkinson decided to call it quits.
Braid decided to hold four final concerts in August to say goodbye to their fans. They scheduled one show in Milwaukee, two in Chicago at The Metro, and the final concert was held in their home town of Champaign. For their final show, Roy Ewing played a few songs with his old band.
After their final show, Braid had several post-breakup releases in 2000. A recording of their final four shows called "Killing a Camera" was released on VHS. A live album, from the final show at The Metro called "Lucky to Be Alive" was also released. Polyvinyl released a double-disc collection of non-album tracks called Movie Music, Vol. 1 and 2
Following the breakup, Bob Nanna started a solo project called The City on Film. Later, he reunited with Bell and Atkinson to form Hey Mercedes with Mark Dawursk on guitar. Chris Broach worked with his brother Riley in The Firebird Band. In 2001, he would also play with L'Spaerow and start Lucid Records.
In 2004, Hey Mercedes had problems with tour cancellations and Chris Broach was in between projects. With the summer open, Braid decided to reunite for another tour of the U.S. from June to August, followed by a short tour of Japan.
On May 4, 2011, the band announced a comeback show at the Metro on August 27, 2011 and at Pygmalion Music Festival on September 24, 2011, part of the Polyvinyl Records fifteenth anniversary celebration.
On June 10, 2011, the band released the first song off of their new EP Closer To Closed titled The Right Time, and gave the entire EP to people who pre-ordered the EP on the Polyvinyl web store.
December 22, 2011 was Braid's 600th show. The event was held at Turner Hall Ballroom in Milwaukee. As a Toys for Tots benefit show, event-goers who brought a new, unwrapped toy will receive a commemorative poster. Braid shared the night with Smoking Popes and in addition to announcing further touring a new release was announced. Frontman Bob Nanna threatened coyly to a "double" or "triple" album.
On April 6, 2012, the band announced that they were going to play at the Gainesville, Florida acclaimed festival, The Fest
On August 10, 2012, Braid played at Union Transfer in Philadelphia, PA with polyvinyl label mate Owen.
- Bob Nanna - vocals/guitar - (1993–2004, 2011-)
- Todd Bell - bass guitar - (1993–2004, 2011-)
- Chris Broach - vocals/guitar - (1994–2004, 2011-)
- Damon Atkinson - drums - (1997–2004, 2011-)
- Roy Ewing - drums - (1993–1997)
- Pete Havranek - guitar - (1993–1994)
- Jay Ryan - bass guitar - (1993)
- Kate Reuss - vocals - (1993–1994)
- Frankie Welfare Boy Age Five (1995)
- The Age of Octeen (1996)
- Frame and Canvas (1998)
- Movie Music, Vol. 1 (2000)
- Movie Music, Vol. 2 (2000)
- Lucky to Be Alive (2000)
- Closer to Closed (2011)
- Wolf, Erin. "Concert Review :: Braid / Smoking Popes @Turner Hall Ballroom". Shepherd Express. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
- Official site & Official Facebook & Official Twitter
- Braid artist page at Polyvinyl
- Braid at AllMusic
- Braid Interview – History, Reunion, Re-Issues and Braid Interview – New EP with Chris Broach - both by Kevin Corazza
- Bob Nanna's Website
- Individual Twitters: Chris Broach, Todd Bell, Bob Nanna, Damon Atkinson