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OriginColumbus, Ohio, United States
GenresIndie rock
Years active1985–1998
Past membersMarcy Mays
Sue Harshe
Carolyn O'Leary
Dana Marshall

Scrawl was an American indie rock trio based in Columbus, Ohio, and active from the mid-1980s.


The band formed in 1985, originally under the name Skull.[1] The founding members were Marcy Mays (lead vocals, guitar, songwriting), Sue Harshe (bass guitar, backing vocals, songwriting), and Carolyn O'Leary (drums).[2] Their first show, in the summer of 1985, was a 20-minute opening spot for the Meat Puppets, and inspired the band to find a new name, "Scrawl", that sounded a bit like Skull.[3] Their first album, Plus, Also, Too, was self-produced (with Andy Izold) and released in 1987 on the local label No Other Records. The following year the band was signed to the ill-fated Rough Trade Records U.S., for whom they released two albums, He's Drunk (produced by Jim Rondinelli) and Smallmouth (produced by Gary Smith).[4]

When Rough Trade U.S. filed for bankruptcy in 1990, the band placed a successful bid to purchase back their master recordings during an auction held during the label's Chapter 11 proceedings. Their next release, a seven-track EP called Bloodsucker, was released on the Chicago-based Feel Good All Over label (then reissued on Simple Machines Records).

Drummer O'Leary left the group in May 1992, and was replaced by Dana Marshall.[1]

They recorded their next album, Velvet Hammer, in 1993. It was engineered by Steve Albini[5][1] (around the time he produced Nirvana's In Utero), and released on the Simple Machines label. The band was then signed their first major label deal with Elektra, for whom they released two albums, Travel On, Rider,[6] and Nature Film.[7] Only six weeks after Nature Film came out Elektra dropped Scrawl.[8]

Marcy Mays appeared as lead singer on "My Curse" from the album Gentlemen by the Afghan Whigs. The Whigs also recorded a cover of "Ready" from Scrawl's He's Drunk with Mays sharing vocals with Greg Dulli. The recording was released as a B-side on the Afghan Whigs' Debonair single, and later appeared on a promotional CD The B-Sides/The Conversation and on the remastered 'Gentlemen' At 21. Mays performed live with the Afghan Whigs at the Reading Festival 1994 and, more recently, with the reunited Whigs at All Tomorrow's Parties I'll Be Your Mirror USA 2012.


Release Date Album Label Notes
May 1987 Plus, Also, Too No Other Records Debut album
November 1988 He's Drunk Rough Trade -
November 1989 Smallmouth Rough Trade Produced by Gary Smith (Throwing Muses, Pixies, The Chills, Walkabouts)
October 1991 Bloodsucker Feel Good All Over Records Followed by tours with the Afghan Whigs, Meat Puppets, Fugazi and My Bloody Valentine
January 1993 Velvet Hammer Simple Machines -
1996 Travel On, Scrawl Elektra EP
September 1996 Travel On, Rider Elektra -
April 1998 Nature Film Elektra Scrawl's final release is a combination of new material and re-recordings of Rough Trade/Simple Machines era material.


  1. ^ a b c Robbins, Ira. "Scrawl". Trouser Press. Retrieved 2022-11-17.
  2. ^ "Scrawl - Biography & History". AllMusic.
  3. ^ Burt, Stephen. "At Length » Scrawl–Punk Rock for Grown-Ups: A Retrospective". At Length magazine. Retrieved 2022-11-17.
  4. ^ "Smallmouth - Scrawl - Credits". AllMusic.
  5. ^ "Scrawl - Velvet Hammer". AllMusic.
  6. ^ "Travel On, Rider - Scrawl - Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic.
  7. ^ "Nature Film - Scrawl - Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic.
  8. ^ Meyer, Bill (1999-02-11). "Scrawl". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2022-11-17.

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