Alison Chesley

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Alison Chesley
Also known as Helen Money
Born (1960-01-04) January 4, 1960 (age 55)
Los Angeles, California United States
Occupation(s) Musician, composer
Instruments Cello
Years active 1995 – current
Labels Epic, Table of the Elements, Temporary Residence, Victory, Warner Bros., Minty Fresh, Invisible, Temporary Residence, Suicide Squeeze, Naïve, Arts & Crafts, Plate-Tec-Tonic, Premonition Records, Whitehouse Records
Associated acts Verbow, Poi Dog Pondering
Website Helen Money Website

Alison Chesley (born January 4, 1960), known also by her stage name as Helen Money, is a Los Angeles-based cellist and composer.

Chesley was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She moved to Chicago to attend Northwestern University, where she received a master's degree in cello performance in 1994. While at Northwestern, Chesley met Jason Narducy. Chesley and Narducy performed as an acoustic rock duo that was renamed Verbow, and went on to release two albums for Epic RecordsChronicles, produced by Bob Mould and White Out produced by Brad Wood.[1][2] Opening for such bands as Frank Black, Bob Mould, Counting Crows, Live, Morrissey, Liz Phair and Brad with Stone Gossard, Verbow toured nationally for seven years. Meeting and working with Bob Mould was a big influence on Alison Chesley forming the Helen Money project for aggressive, amplified cello.[3]

Verbow broke up in 2001. Since then, Chesley has fashioned a busy career in Chicago as a composer/performer and session musician in the studio. She most often records for two of Chicago's busiest recording studios; Steve Albini's Electrical Audio and Soma Studios. Some of the artists with whom she has worked include albums by Mono, Anthrax, Broken Social Scene, Russian Circles, Chris Connelly, Poi Dog Pondering and Disturbed, among many others. She also appears on albums by Bob Mould. As Helen Money, Chesley performs regularly around Chicago and across the U.S. She has opened for acts such as Shellac, Earth and Nina Nastasia and completed a Canadian tour opening for Joe Lally. In 2011, she toured American opening for Joe Lally and as part of his ensemble.

In addition to Helen Money, Chesley has also composed music for film, theater and dance, including two major works [clarification needed] for Chicago-based Mordine and Company Dance Theater, Quest and Time Stilled. Chesley was honored in 2007 by being granted a full scholarship to study composition with guitarist/composer Fred Frith at San Francisco's esteemed Mills College. She opted out from the offer, and instead decided against the move to concentrate on expanding her role as Helen Money.[citation needed]

The release of Chesley's first solo album, with the eponymous title, Helen Money, was released on Cellobird Records in September 2007. Her second album as Helen Money, In Tune, was released on the Table of the Elements label. In Tune was recorded at Electrical Audio by Greg Norman and mixed by Sanford Parker at Semaphore Studios in Chicago.

Alison was chosen by Portishead to perform a Helen Money performance at the ATP I'll Be Your Mirror festival that they curates in July 2011 at London's Alexandra Palace,[4] and was chosen by Shellac to appear at the ATP Nightmare Before Christmas that they will curate in December 2012.[5]

Selected discography[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Williams, Kevin M. (July 11, 1997). "Always room for cello; Verbow stings with its strings". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 5. 
  2. ^ Newman, Melinda (May 6, 1995). "Continental Drift". Billboard. 
  3. ^ "Alison Chesley interview 23-September 2007". Outsight Radio Hours. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  4. ^ ATP: I'll Be Your Mirror London
  5. ^ [1]

External links[edit]