Washington, D.C.-based Chainsaw Jazz was formed in 1989 by Paul Sears and Mark Smoot. Sears is best known as the drummer of the Muffins from 1976 through 1981. He has worked with such musicians as Fred Frith, Peter Blegvad, Bill Laswell, Yochk'o Seffer, and John Greaves. Bassist Mark Smoot has played with Clockhammer, Clutch, Jaws of Life, and Theresa Gunn, and has produced and released a solo album, The Attic. Smoot also worked as an independent record producer and ran his own recording studio.
Mark Gilbert (saxophone and clarinet) is a session player who has toured and/or recorded with the Temptations, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight, Cab Calloway, Root Boy Slim, the Windmill Sax Quartet, and Trouble Funk. Ed Maguire (violin and electric mandolin) studied composition at Columbia University. He periodically toured Asia with Jack Lee and Chico Freeman. A former student of Jaco Pastorius, Maguire is also an accomplished bassist. Christian Nagle (guitar) was the leader of the group Harvest, and performed with the alternative rock band Clockhammer. Mark Stanley (guitar) attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, and played with Clutch and Jaws of Life.