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The Suede Chain - the Band

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The Suede Chain is a band whose music is difficult to describe, but 'alternative rock meets classical music' comes fairly close.

Although the band originally came from St Louis, Missouri, USA, they all attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While attending Illinois they became one of the more popular bands to hit the Champaign music scene (which at various times has included such nationally-known bands as Poster Children, Hum, and Sarge). Although they never reached the big time, The Suede Chain performed with Sheryl Crow, Oasis, Matthew Sweet, and De La Soul.

The Suede Chain was formed in the mid-'80s by brothers Matt Docter on vocals and guitar, and Jason Docter on vocals and drums. Along with Brian Krumm (guitar/vocals) and Brian Hunt (bass guitar), they released the full-length cassette Dry Gulch in 1992. All but one of the 11 songs were recorded live, at a log cabin in Collinsville, Illinois. Only 500 copies were produced, and all were eventually sold.

With Mary Weingartner on vocals and violin, and Jake Brookman on cello, combined with a traditional four-piece rock band, The Suede Chain came up with a sound that was all their own. In 1994 they released their debut CD, Ripplemark, produced and engineered by Champaign legend, Adam Schmitt. Ripplemark is an eight-song masterpiece, intertwining the rock/strings sound with additional instruments such as saxophone, flute, clarinet, electric piano, accordion, and even an autoharp.

In 1995, The Suede Chain returned to Collinsville to record their second CD, Piloted by Ghosts. Once again Adam Schmitt produced and engineered the album, and this time the recording was done live at the historic Miner's Theater. Piloted by Ghosts does not immediately satisfy, the way that Ripplemark does, but repeated listenings reveal a new range and depth to the band's music.

Unfortunately, Piloted by Ghosts was to be The Suede Chain's final album, although they continued playing packed-out, high-energy shows until their breakup in mid-1997. Matt and Jason moved out to Los Angeles, where they play in a band called 'Docter'. Brian and Brian relocated to Chicago and formed the band The Great Crusades. Although they did help out with The Great Crusades, Mary and Jake are otherwise unaccounted for.

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