The Lawrence Arms
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The Lawrence Arms are an American punk rock band from Chicago, Illinois, formed in 1999 and currently recording for Fat Wreck Chords. They have released five full-length albums and toured extensively. Their music and lyrics juxtapose references from history and literature with American pop culture.
Prior to forming the Lawrence Arms, the three band members were active in other Chicago-area bands. Brendan Kelly had played in the ska punk band Slapstick alongside Dan Andriano, who would later join Alkaline Trio (the two would reunite in 2004 to form The Falcon). Chris McCaughan had played in Tricky Dick before joining Kelly in The Broadways. McCaughan and Kelly also shared an apartment together on Chicago's north side. Neil Hennessy, meanwhile, had played in a band called Baxter. Both Slapstick and the Broadways released albums on Asian Man Records, a small record label based in Monte Sereno, California that would later release albums by the Lawrence Arms.
The three musicians came together to form the Lawrence Arms in 1999, taking their name from the apartment complex in which Kelly and McCaughan had lived before being evicted in the middle of the night. Although punk rock bands in their infancy generally start out by releasing EPs and 7" vinyl singles, the band members used their existing relationship with Asian Man Records to immediately begin recording a full-length album, A Guided Tour of Chicago, which was released later that year. A second album, Ghost Stories, followed in 2000. Both albums focused heavily on the members' own stories of growing up and living in Chicago.
The band's next two releases were split EPs with other bands. The first, a split with Shady View Terrace, was released in 2000 and was their first release to be recorded by Matt Allison, who would continue to record and produce all of their subsequent releases. A second EP, Present Day Memories, was released in 2001 and was a split with The Chinkees.