Simply put, Spilling Poetry was the best band to come out of West Texas in the '90s, and that, really, in itself is somewhat of an understatement; they should have been much, much more. While most other…
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Artist Biography

by Matthias Sheaks

Simply put, Spilling Poetry was the best band to come out of West Texas in the '90s, and that, really, in itself is somewhat of an understatement; they should have been much, much more. While most other rock bands were content to grind out the standard classic rock/blues rock fare or merely recreate the sonant imprints of either Nirvana or Green Day in their respective heydays of the decade, Spilling Poetry broke through the glass ceilings of expectations with a blindingly bright amalgamation of influences. Initially borrowing their guitar textures and heroics from the Seattle sound, but adding in enough of the jangle pop melody of bands like R.E.M. and an unusually talented and heartfelt lyrical prowess to differentiate between the two, they quickly took the then-languishing Lubbock, TX, music scene by storm. Though they went on to face much regional competition toward the end of the decade in the growing scene they literally helped to create, they soldiered on. Their popularity never waned or lulled, even after two albums, an EP, and seven years of pouring their hearts out to both empty seats and packed houses alike; in fact, it only grew. By the beginnings of the new millennium, they were hard at work on a new album and seemed to finally be on the verge of making their rightful breakthrough to the mainstream. And then, just like that, it was over.

Spilling Poetry was actually born from the ashes of Bone Flower Elegy, another popular local band around the Lubbock music scene. When the bass player for Bone Flower Elegy quit in early 1994, the remaining members -- Brian Enderson (vocals, guitar), Lynn Holdridge (drums), and Jamie (guitar) -- joined up with Ryan Muff (bass) and changed their name to Spilling Poetry. The new band quickly set about playing around town and soon recorded their debut album, Invisible, which came out later in the spring of 1994. While Invisible went on to sell out the initial 1,000 copies the band had made, they continued to play regionally and build themselves a strong following over the next two years. By the mid-'90s, Spilling Poetry had become known as the band to see in West Texas and were widely heralded as the ones most likely to break into the big time.

In mid-1996, the band continued their reign of popularity with the release of the Microphonic EP, but had a lineup change when Jamie left the band and was replaced by Michael Mayer (guitar, vocals). With Mayer's skills newly arranged under their belt, they decided to step further out of Lubbock and go on tour around various parts of Texas and New Mexico. They played everywhere they possibly could for the next year and a half, from all the back-alley bars and dives territorial of a traveling band, to several choice opening slots for larger acts. They followed this up with the auspicious release of Telepathetic in March of 1998, which showcased a tighter, more muscular Spilling Poetry forged in all those many hard nights on the road.

In late 1999 to early 2000, the band regrouped back in Lubbock to begin recording what was going to be their third full-length album. By this time, they had added the talents of ex-Flywater Washington member Scott Crader (guitar, vocals, organ) to the fold. In early 2001, songs like "Human Trampoline" and "Freeway" were leaked on the band's website for fans to hear, and solely on the hit-making strength of these compositions alone, it seemed obvious that the new Spilling Poetry album would be the one to finally take them to the top. Then, in May of 2001, at the height of what was supposed to be the final mixing of the new album, the band suddenly shocked everyone by announcing they were breaking up under ambiguous, but apparently amicable circumstances. No sooner than that, the story of Spilling Poetry just sort of bowed out and came to an end. Luckily, though the band may have called it quits and their first two releases -- Invisible and Microphonic -- have gone out of print, all Spilling Poetry's previous music is still available on their website in one form or another, and the band has continued to release new songs off their unfinished last album from time to time.