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Slapstick was a seminal Chicago ska-punk band formed in 1993 and officially broke up in 1996 and is known for being the root of the "Slapstick Family Tree", a group of musical projects which spawned from members of Slapstick, many of which are still active. Despite the fact that they were only officially together for less than four years, and only released one LP, Lookit on Dill Records (originally the Skankin' Pickle label) in early of 1996; recorded in late 1995, (re-released on Asian Man - the label that Dill Records became), their influence is immeasurable. Their influences included Operation Ivy and vocally Crimpshrine.

After suddenly breaking up in 1996, they reunited once on November 23, 1997 for a one night only sold out benefit show at Chicago's Fireside Bowl. Due to the reunion's overwhelming turnout, they played one more show in succession. Asian Man issued a compilation record in 1997 simply called Slapstick containing all of the band's recorded songs, eight of which had previously been unreleased. Much later two DVDs were released by Asian Man as well - one in 2001 - Live from the Fireside Bowl and another in 2006 titled Reunion Show.

Despite their shortly lived existence, Slapstick acted as a segue to many bands that were to highlight the mid 90's scene into the new millennium. Their have been other various reunion shows for Riot Fest and benefits.

Slapstick Family Tree

Members also went on to play with Smoking Popes (a third degree Slapstick Family Tree band - not created directly by members of Slapstick but had crucial members of Family Tree bands play with them) and Less Than Jake, another reason they are considered one of the most important but often unsung Chicago punk bands of the 90s.

Slapstick Members

  • Brendan Kelly: vocals
  • Dan Andriano: bass, backing vocals
  • Dan Hanaway: trumpet, backing vocals
  • Matt Stamps: guitar
  • Rob Kellenberger: drums, backing vocals
  • Peter Anna: trombone


Slapstick formed out of Elgin and often played at the popular venue in Homewood on the southeast side, Off the Alley, and eventually moved up to larger venues in Chicago, such as The Fireside Bowl after it began showcasing bands in 1994.

Slapstick was incredibly important to Chicago's continuing punk rock scene because (as stated above) although they took their influences from Op Ivy and Crimpshrine, their sound was unlike any of the ska-punk bands at the time from the east or west coast, and, as mentioned, they spawned so many side projects, especially the likes of Alkaline Trio and Lawrence Arms and others that acted as the burgeoning force behind the continuing scene in the 1990s. They inspired a decade of kids with a Squire electric guitar and a 10 watt amp to start a garage band. It is worth saying that they may have even been part of revitalizing the Chicago punk scene, acting as a juncture between the 80's and 90's. Without Slapstick and its members, the 90s to current punk scene in Chicago would not be what it is.

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