Ensign (band)

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Ensign
Origin New Brunswick,
New Jersey, USA
Genres Hardcore punk
Years active 1995–present
Labels Indecision
Nitro
Blackout
Join The Team Player
Website Ensign at Indecision Records
Members Tim Shaw
Dan Brennan
Nate Gluck
Past members Frank Piegaro
Brian ”Pnut” Kozuch
Walt Svekla
Ryan Murphy
Michael Gall
Chris Ross
John Fraunberger
Ryan "Mackenzie" Donoghue
John "Vince Vegas" O'Neill
Chris Oliver
Chris Byrnes

Ensign is a hardcore punk band from New Jersey, USA. It was formed in 1995 and signed to Indecision Records in 1996. They signed to the larger label "next door", Dexter Holland's Nitro Records in 1998 and finally came to rest at Blackout Records in 2003 after a brief sortie back to Indecision in 2000.

History[edit]

The beginning – 1995[edit]

The band was formed in New Brunswick, New Jersey by Chris Ross (drums), Walt Svekla (bass) and John Fraunberger (guitar) in 1995 and self-produced a demo. In the search for a new vocalist, they found Tim Shaw who was a roadie with Sick Of It All, a band in the New York Hardcore scene.

The Indecision years 1996 – 1998[edit]

The band went to California and signed for Indecision Records and in May, 1996 released a self-titled 7" four track EP. After this, Walt Svelka and Chris Ross departed and were replaced by Nate "Edge" Gluck (ex-Strength 691, Vision) and Ryan Murphy (ex-Undertow) respectively. In mid-1997, Fall from Grace, another four track 7" EP, was released. John Fraunberger then left the band to take up a teaching degree, but not before recording material for the first full-length album, Direction of Things to Come which came out in November, 1997. Fraunberger was replaced on guitar by Ryan "Mackenzie" Donoghue as the band took to the road. In 1998, the band decided to cast their net further and sign for Nitro Records which had a larger distribution network. Also in 1998, three live tracks appeared on an Indecision Records 7" Devil's Night, with other artists from the label – the remainder of the live set would later feature on the Three Years Two Months Eleven Days album. [1]

The Nitro years 1998 – 2002[edit]

Although the band had switched labels, they retained the services of the same recording studio (Trax East, South River, New Jersey) and the same producer (Steve Evetts) as their debut on Indecision for the next full-length outing, Cast the First Stone released in March, 1999. While on tour in Ireland, Ryan Murphy decided to leave the band and was replaced by John "Vince Vegas" O'Neill. Before touring Europe in 2000, Ryan Donoghue left the band which, although was on very good terms, left the band with a situation. Nate solved it by employing Chris Oliver for bass duties on the tour (teaching him along the way) while taking up the guitar duties himself.

Meanwhile, back at Indecision – April 2000[edit]

In April, 2000, Indecision Records released a retrospective album of Ensign material, entitled Three Years Two Months Eleven Days - the precise amount of time the band had spent on the label. It consisted of the first 7" plus three tracks from the same recording session, the Fall from Grace 7" plus two more from the same session, two otherwise unreleased tracks, two tracks from just after the release of Direction of Things to Come sessions and, finally, six tracks recorded live in 1998 at the Showcase Theater in Corona, California – three of which had previously appeared on the Indecision Records 7" Devil's Night.

Split the difference – Nitro/Indecision 2000[edit]

In June, 2000, the band recorded four tracks in New York for an EP called For What It's Worth which was released in October 2000. They also recorded two tracks which would end up on a Split 7" EP with Death By Stereo released by Indecision Records in December 2000, and a further two tracks which were released on a split 7" with Reaching Forward on European label, Reflections Records. [2]

The Nitro years (continued)[edit]

In November 2000, the band entered the studio to start recording their third full-length release, The Price of Progression. Chris Byrnes came in December to add some second guitar parts as Nate was performing on bass and guitar, as well as the usual backing vocals. Chris Oliver had played bass on the initial takes as a favor to Nate, and continued to play for a while after. The band were also joined on vocals for guest spots by Russ Rankin of Good Riddance and Andy West of Kill Your Idols. The record was finally released in April, 2001. Also, in February 2001, Indecision Records re-released their split 7" with Death By Stereo on CD as part of their Split Series compilation.

In 2002, they headed out on a Canadian tour supporting metalcore band, Hatebreed. A tour of Europe with Avail followed in 2003.

The Blackout years – 2003 to Present[edit]

The band found a regular guitarist in Frank Piegaro in 2002, while John O'Neill had been replaced by Brian "Pnut" Kozuch in 2001. They took to a studio in Hoboken, New Jersey and in seven days recorded twenty cover versions of artists such as Bad Brains, Descendents, Dag Nasty, Hüsker Dü, Misfits and Discharge, all seminal punk bands who had influenced members of Ensign in their formative years. The record was released in October, 2003, on Blackout Records – they had agreed to do this for label owner, Bill "Blackout" Wilson, with Tim Shaw having worked with and for him during the early Indecision Records days – and it was called Love the Music, Hate the Kids. In Europe, it was released by German label, JoinTheTeamPlayer.

Ensign in the United Kingdom[edit]

In November 2003, UK-based record label, Household Name released a split EP with Ensign and Leeds, UK based hardcore band Fig 4.0. It featured three tracks from Ensign: "A Place", "Circa 1985" and "Three Can Keep A Secret" and was limited to 500 releases on 7" vinyl.

Members[edit]

  • Tim Shaw – vocals
  • Frank Piegaro – guitar
  • Nate "Edge" Gluck – bass, guitar (2000 – 2002)
  • Brian "Pnut" Kozuch – drums

Previous members[edit]

  • Walt Svekla – bass (1995 – 1996)
  • Ryan Murphy – drums (1996 – 1999)
  • Chris Ross – drums (1995 – 1996)
  • John Fraunberger – guitar (1995 – 1997)
  • Ryan "Mackenzie" Donoghue – guitar (1997 – 2000)
  • John "Vince Vegas" O'Neill – drums (1999 – 2001)
  • Chris Oliver – bass (2000 – 2002, live performances and rehearsals)
  • Chris Byrnes – guitar (2001 – 2002)

Temporary members[edit]

The following people are credited as playing with the band temporarily [3]

  • Graham Gardner – vocals in 1995
  • Vin Villanueva – guitar in 1995
  • Steve Cunningham – guitar in 1997
  • Mike Hartsfield – guitar in 1998
  • Dan Palmer – guitar in 1998
  • Brian Melville – guitar in 1998
  • Dan Sobon – guitar between 2002 – 2003
  • Steve Larger – drums in 1999
  • Benny Horowitz – drums in 2001
  • Mikey Erg – drums in 2011
  • Kevin White – guitar in 2011
  • Dan Brennan – guitar between 2011–2012
  • Brian Maguire – drums between 2011–2012

Discography[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]