| ||This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2010)|
The Samples in concert, September 25, 1993
|Origin||Boulder, Colorado, United States|
|Genres||Alternative rock, jam rock, reggae, folk|
|Labels||Arista, What Are?, MCA, Apache|
|Members||Sean Kelly |
|Past members||Andy Sheldon |
Brian "Snowman" Powers
The Samples is a band formed in Boulder, Colorado in early 1987. The band's name came from the members' early sustenance of food samples from the local King Soopers grocery store. The music has been described as "reggae influenced rock/pop" and a cross between The Police and the Grateful Dead. The founding members were Sean Kelly (Guitar/Vocals), Charles Hambleton (Guitar), Andy Sheldon (Bass/Vocals), Jeep MacNichol (Drums/Vocals), and Al Laughlin (Keyboards/Vocals).
Sean Kelly and Charles Hambleton met in 1985 in Burlington, Vermont at an open mic called The Sheik, leading to the formation of the band Secret City in 1986. After playing together in Burlington for a year, the pair moved to Boulder, CO and met up with Andy Sheldon, a friend and member of a prior band with Kelly. Jeep MacNichol joined the band as drummer after responding to an ad posted at the University of Colorado. After playing around the area, Al Laughlin saw the group perform at a frat party and asked if the group needed a keyboardist, an offer the band accepted.
The band gradually gained fame and released their first self-titled album The Samples on their own label. Following the release, they signed with Arista Records and re-released the same album in May 1989. However, the relationship with Arista was short-lived as irreconcilable differences quickly came up from the label's desire to change their sound. Their contract with Arista was terminated and the band continued to tour unsigned. In 1991, Hambleton left the band. He later appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean and was associate producer of the film The Cove.
The Samples continued to tour and released their own self-published album, Underwater People, composed of both studio-recorded and live tracks. The band soon joined the newly-formed independent label, W.A.R.? - What Are Records?. Their records, including Underwater People (1991), No Room (1992), The Last Drag (1993) and Autopilot (1994) blended pop sensibility with a mix of folk, reggae, jazz, and rock to create their own signature sound. Sean Kelly, as the main songwriter, wrote songs about nature and the environment giving the band an "eco-friendly" reputation. Sheldon's thumping bass, MacNichol's Stewart Copeland-inspired beats and Laughlin's off-beat reggae chords supported Kelly's inspired songwriting and Sting-like vocals. They became a success throughout the early 1990s, selling over one million copies of their catalogue based on a genuine grass roots campaign. Their live shows helped them on the college circuit selling out venues in college towns across the country. The band headlined some of the H.O.R.D.E. tour shows in 1993 and 1996 and they shared the bill with big names such as The Allman Brothers Band, Blues Traveler, and Phish. On their own tours, many up and coming bands opened up for them including Dave Matthews Band, Hootie & the Blowfish, and Lisa Loeb. The success included television performances on The Tonight Show and House of Blues.
In 1996, The Samples signed with MCA Records and released Outpost, their fifth studio album. Due to a buyout, MCA was experiencing financial difficulties and significant corporate reshuffling, and, as a result, many small or recently-signed bands were dropped from the label that year. The Samples' contract with MCA was subsequently terminated. Al Laughlin left the band shortly thereafter, along with MacNichol, who left to pursue a solo career. The Samples rejoined What Are Records? and released three more albums, Transmissions from the Sea of Tranquility, The Tan Mule and Here and Somewhere Else. In 2000 the band began to release albums independently. In 2003, Andy Sheldon left the band. Since 1997, there have been numerous member changes with the exception of Sean Kelly as frontman.
The original five-piece lineup reunited for a show at Mile High Music Festival in 2010. The newest lineup played the Denver Day of Rock in 2011 and have continued to tour with many more dates planned for the future. (scroll down on the link)
 Studio albums
- The Samples (May 1989)
- No Room (April 22, 1992)
- The Last Drag (September 24, 1993)
- Autopilot (September 13, 1994)
- Outpost (July 16, 1996)
- The Tan Mule (1998)
- Here and Somewhere Else (July 28, 1998)
- Return to Earth (April 10, 2001)
- Black & White (March 9, 2004)
- Rehearsing for Life (November 29, 2005)
 Live albums
- Live At Deerfield Academy [Official LIVE Bootleg] (1993)
- Transmissions from the Sea of Tranquility [LIVE] (September 23, 1997)
- Seventeen [LIVE] (October 7, 2003)
- Instant Live: The Paradise – Boston, MA, 4/20/03 [LIVE] (October 14, 2003)
- Live in Colorado [LIVE] (May 4, 2004)
- Underwater People (November 30, 1991)
- Still Water EP (1993)
- Sparta (November 7, 2000)
- Landing on the Sidewalk (November 7, 2000)
- Anthology in Motion, Vol. 1 (August 13, 2002)
- Very Best of the Samples 1989–1994 (November 16, 2004)
- Too Many Years assorted artists to benefit Clear Path International (August 2005)
- B Sides and Outtakes (February 22, 2011)
- Lullaby Pond (February 22, 2011)
- The Perks of Being A Wallflower Original Soundtrack (September 18, 2012)
- [dead link]
- Thomas, Stephen. "The Samples". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-06-30.
- "Musical Family Tree! van The Samples op Myspace". Blogs.myspace.com. Retrieved 2012-06-30.
- "The Samples Biography". Sing365.com. 2007-05-27. Retrieved 2012-06-30.
- "The OPS Team". The Cove Movie. Retrieved 2012-06-30.
- The Best Band You've Never Heard[dead link]
- "'Perks Of Being A Wallflower' Soundtrack Tracklist Revealed (EXCLUSIVE)". Huffingtonpost.com. 2012-08-17. Retrieved 2012-10-25.