Scheer have been at least an idea since 1990, and a proper, full-time, living, fire-breathing rock 'n' roll group since early 1993. They hail from the unlikely birthplaces of Maghera and Magherafelt, County Derry, Northern Ireland. They have previously unkindly described these places as "One horse towns...and somebody's eaten the horse".
Their chances of being immortalised in statue form in either are now regarded as slim. Most other accolades available to fierce and unfeasibly exciting new bands, however, look well within their grasp. One distinguished commentator, indeed, has already predicted a headline slot at Reading before the turn of the millennium; nobody who has seen or heard Scheer has been willing to bet against it.
Take it that Scheer are an original, a first and very likely a foremost, they have been compared to Afghan Whigs, AC/DC, Hüsker Dü, Shudder to Think, Björk fronting Fugazi and Pantera in bedroom slippers. Somewhere amid these diverse parameters is what Scheer do, an almighty yet exquisitely tuneful racket that is the result, they say, of working as hard as possible not to bring influences to bear on it.
Following a year which saw them play the U.S. with Lush and Mojave 3 as part of the 'Shaving The Pavement' tour, Scheer released the 'Demon' EP. They spent February and March touring Ireland on the 'Rollercoaster' tour.
In April 1997 Scheer spent an exciting weekend in Moscow, Russia performing at an anti-drugs festival. The shows were great and Scheer played a set of virtually new material. Guitarist Neal was later interviewed live on Russian television to an estimated TV audience of 100 million!
Scheer are still hard at work in the studio working with producer Clif Norrel on their follow-up to last year's debut "Infliction". Clif has worked with diverse names such as R.E.M., Henry Rollins, and the recently reformed Echo & The Bunnymen.
Scheer are five people who grew up in small country towns bang in the heart of Northern Ireland. Brought together by a shared interest in music, they've spent a lot of formative years around each other and therefore know each other well, very well. The band as it stands now was first mooted in 1990, when Joe (drums), Peter (bass), and Paddy (rhythm guitar), came together. Neal (lead guitar) was added at the end of that year, after Peter spotted him playing at University with another band, in a talent competition! and Audrey (vocals), who had worked with Peter in another band, completed the line-up early in 1992. They spent considerable time practicing and writing songs before embarking on a few gigs around Ireland, where they've built up a loyal following.
This activity led to interest from Dublin's tiny and eclectic SON records and in the summer of 1993 their debut single 'Wish You Were Dead' came out. In August 1993 Scheer played the Feile festival, Ireland's biggest music festival, where they wooed among others Jim Rose of the Jim Rose Circus Side-show!. This was followed up by the release of a four-track E.P. 'Psychobabble' ,an extensive Irish tour (150 gigs!) and a place on the bill at the Sunstroke festival in Dublin, alongside Ice Cube, Helmet and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
By this time Scheer had received interest from international labels. One major label in particular offered an all expenses paid trip to New York for a showcase. So in Dec 1994 Scheer played a showcase in New York. Among the audience was Colin Wallace (A&R) and Ivo Watts-Russell (founder of 4AD)from the record label 4AD. The band were immediately smitten by their attitude, enthusiasm and down right humanity. In April 1995, Scheer said an amicable good bye to SON and accepted a place on the 4AD roster.
The results of the happy union to date have been a promo-only single called 'Demon' (Single of the Week, MM; Single of the Fortnight, Hot Press; Single of the Month, Deadline), an EP called 'Psychobabble', a single called 'Shéa', followed by 'Wish you were dead' and their debut album called "Infliction" in May 1996, after which they toured America with labelmates Lush and Mojave 3. A second, limited edition Scheer album, 2000's ...And Finally, came out after the band had split up on their own Schism Records imprint.
In the early 2000s, Audrey and Neal briefly worked on a
project called Lima. They have now launched a project called
Other things you probably don't know about Scheer are; they've toured America as part of 4AD's 'Shaving The Pavement' extravaganza with Lush and Mojave 3 plus also played or toured with Bush, Placebo, Jesus & Mary Chain, Belly, Throwing Muses and Ash, they still rehearse in Peter's shed, they once played in front of U2 manager Paul McGuiness, who left early (his loss- though Audrey claims that she too would have left early that night if she hadn't had to sing), they've supped beer with Michael Stipe and Helena Christensen and their ambition is the knowledge that people they've never met are going out and buying tickets to see them.
Comprising Audrey Gallagher (vocals), Neal Calderwood (guitar), Paddy Leyden (guitar), Peter Fleming (bass) and John Bates (drums), Scheer were formed in the small towns of Maghera and Magherafelt in County Derry, Northern Ireland. Their name was taken from the Dutch word for "shave", which they found on a can of shaving foam, though they only really coalesced when the members were attending the University of Ulster. They played over 250 dates in two years before the release of their debut single, "I Wish You Were Dead', in summer 1993. The Psychobabble EP followed, part of a development contract with U2"s Mother/Son Records. With a sound close in proximity to the Pixies circa Surfer Rosa, they were then signed by that band's former label, 4AD Records.
Their 1996 debut for 4AD, "Shéa", received strong reviews not only in the indie but also the hard rock music press, Gallagher's vocals and obtuse lyrics winning particular praise. It was followed by the release of the band's debut album, Infliction, which showcased their eclectic but guitar-dominated songwriting. In keeping with comparisons with artists as diverse as Thin White Rope, Fatima Mansions and Black Sabbath, the record proved consistently capable of surprising listeners with its lyrical and musical twists. It was promoted in the USA by a label package tour alongside Lush and Mojave 3.
The band finished recording a second album but ongoing wrangles with 4AD meant they were sidelined for a couple of years during which time the various members drifted off to work on solo projects. The band decided to call it a day in October 1998 when these projects began to blossom. The infamous ... And Finally was subsequently released on the Internet and through Fleming's Schism Records.