A basement concert on July 26, 2006, from left to right: Munson, Wilson, and Slichter
|Origin||Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States|
|Genres||Alternative rock, post-grunge, power pop|
|Years active||1995–2001 (hiatus)|
|Associated acts||Trip Shakespeare|
Semisonic is an American alternative rock band formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1995. The band has three members: Dan Wilson (lead vocals, guitar), John Munson (bass guitar, backing vocals, keyboard), and Jacob Slichter (drums, percussion, keyboard). They are perhaps best known for their 1998 single "Closing Time". Vocalist Dan Wilson made it known in a 2008 performance at Dat Harvard's Sanders Theatre The song was originally written with the birth of the songwriters first born child. The lyrics came from different sources all relating to him in someway. One line in the refrain makes complete sense and all of the others just seem to fill in. That line says"every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end." Listen to the song carefully and you will understand the lyrics involving birth and being parents.
Formation and debut album
After the breakup of Trip Shakespeare, Dan Wilson and John Munson joined up with drummer Jacob Slichter to form Semisonic in 1995. An EP, Pleasure, was released that year on Boston indie label CherryDisc, and the studio full-length Great Divide in 1996 on MCA.
Breakthrough and international success
Semisonic's breakthrough came two years later in 1998 when their second album, Feeling Strangely Fine, reached the Top 50 chart on the strength of the hit single "Closing Time", their biggest hit in the United States.
Their international career also blossomed when another song from the album, "Secret Smile", quickly became a UK radio favorite in the summer of 1999, eventually peaking at No. 13 on the UK Singles Chart.
Third album and future
In early 2001, the band released its third album, All About Chemistry. The single "Chemistry" was a mainstay overseas; however, the album did not fare as well in the United States. Another song, "Over My Head", was used in the 2001 teen flick Summer Catch, and Semisonic rode the wave of various tours in and around the UK.
Wilson has spoken of doing more Semisonic music in the future but said "The busy day-to-day life keeps pushing it further into the future." All About Chemistry remains their last studio album.
- Pleasure (demo) (1993)
- Pleasure EP (1995, EP)
- One Night at First Avenue (2003)
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions||Album|
|1996||"Down in Flames"||—||—||—||—||—||—||Great Divide|
|"If I Run"||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1998||"Closing Time"||11 [A]||1||13||25||—||2||Feeling Strangely Fine|
|"Singing in My Sleep"||—||11||31||39||—||—|
|2001||"Chemistry"||—||39||—||35||—||—||All About Chemistry|
|"Get a Grip"||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Over My Head"||—||—||—||—||—||—||Summer Catch soundtrack|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
Soundtracks and compilations
- Semisonic performed "Sugar, Sugar" with Mary Lou Lord on the 1995 tribute album Saturday Morning: Cartoons' Greatest Hits, produced by Ralph Sall for MCA Records.
- They contributed the title song for the 1999 Kevin Costner movie For Love of the Game.
- "Over My Head", a bonus track on some editions of All About Chemistry was used in the 2001 teen flick Summer Catch.
- In the fall of 2001, Semisonic contributed their cover of the Wings song, "Jet", for the Paul McCartney tribute CD, Listen to What the Man Said.
- Wilson with Bic Runga contributed "Good Morning Baby" to the American Pie soundtrack in 1999.
- "F.N.T." featured in the 1996 movie The Long Kiss Goodnight and the 1999 movie 10 Things I Hate About You.
- "Closing Time" featured on the Soundtrack to the 2011 Justin Timberlake film, "Friends With Benefits".
Other projects by members
Wilson took time out to do some solo projects and play tour dates around the Midwest in December. Munson joined up with Wilson's brother and former Trip Shakespeare frontman Matt Wilson to form a side project, The Flops, in 2001, though they were expected to make a final performance in early 2005. In 2009, John Munson and Matt Wilson reunited to form a new band The Twilight Hours. They have since released an album, Stereo Night, and been touring.
In 2004, Slichter's book So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star (ISBN 0-7679-1470-8) was published, detailing some of the experiences the group had while touring and attempting to get airplay on radio stations across the US.
On October 16, 2007, Rick Rubin's label American Recordings released Wilson's solo album, Free Life, featuring collaborations with numerous artists including Munson and Slichter. The song "Cry" was the album's single.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 488. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Billboard (1998-08-08). "Hot 100 Airplay Closing Time". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 2008-10-17.[dead link]
- Billboard (1997–2001). "Artist Chart History - Semisonic". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 2008-10-16.[dead link]
- Editors from EveryHit.com. "UK Top 40 Hit Database". EveryHit.com. Retrieved 2008-10-16.
- "Semisonic Top Singles positions". RPM. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
- "Semisonic Rock/Alternative positions". RPM. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
- Per search of Billboard.biz
- Official website
- MTV.com artists biography
- NPR: Drummer's Book Takes Shine off Rock-Star Life – interview with Jacob Slichter about his book on the music industry
- City Pages: Radio Killed the Rock & Roll Stars – book excerpt
- Semisonic's Dan Wilson on creativity and the creative process, an interview with about-creativity.com November 1, 2007