On paper, The Sunbirds were a band more interesting for what the members did before and after the group's brief lifetime that what they accomplished while they were together; only after their recordings received a belated release did it become obvious that this was group whose gifts far outstripped their public recognition. In 1986, after 28th Day had broken up following the departure of Barbara Manning, guitarist and singer Cole Marquis and drummer Mike Cloward decided to form a new band, and joined forces with Lawrence Crane, who'd been playing bass with Vomit Launch. Adopting the name The Sunbirds, the band started playing around their hometown of Chico, California and recorded a six-song demo tape. However, the band attracted little notice, and by the end of the year The Sunbirds were history. Marquis and Cloward went on to form The Downsiders, and Marquis later won a cult following with his solo work; Crane continued to perform with Vomit Launch, and later moved into the control room, working as a recording engineer and founding the acclaimed independent recording magazine TapeOp. The Sunbirds briefly reunited in 1997, recording another six-song demo; Paisley Pop Records combined the 1986 and 1997 sessions and released them as a 2003 album entitled No Sun No Shadow. In 2002, Crane reassembled the band to perform at a TapeOp magazine convention, and while all three members continue to make their own music, they have not ruled out working together again in the future.
by Mark Deming