Run On formed as the members' other projects slowly disintegrated. Drummer Rick Brown and vocalist/guitarist Sue Garner played in groups together for over a decade, including the seminal art band Fish Roses. Brown also played in several no wave/art punk bands in New York, including V-Effect and Information, while Garner sang in the vocal trio the Shams and was a member of Vietnam and the country-tinged Last Roundup.
As Fish Roses broke up, Brown and Garner began playing with guitarist Alan Licht, formerly of Love Child, forming Run On's creative nucleus. The trio recorded their debut 7" Days Away in 1994 with Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan, and added a fourth member, trumpet player David Newgarden, later that year. A Fish Roses and Love Child fan, Newgarden was also a DJ at underground radio station WFMU, a writer at CMJ, a former member of the indie rock band Mad Scene, and an employee of John Zorn's Tzadik record label.
After Newgarden joined Run On, the group began playing live and recorded their first EP, On/Off, this time with ex Yo La Tengo bassist Gene Holder at the controls. As with their future releases, On/Off came out on Matador Records; while Fish Roses were signed to Homestead Records, they became friends with label employee Gerard Cosloy, who founded Matador.
On/Off also featured the mix of challenging and accessible musical ideas that became the group's signature approach with their 1996 full-length debut Start Packing. The group's talent and heritage helped secure tours with like-minded bands such as Yo La Tengo, Tortoise, and the Dirty Three, with whom they played local and national gigs. By 1997, Newgarden left the band; violinist Katie Gentile joined in time for the recording of the group's second album, No Way, in 1997. Later that year, Run On also released the Scoot and Sit Down EPs.
1998 saw Brown and Garner retire the Run On name as Gentile returned to academic pursuits and her other band, Special Pillow. Licht recorded and toured with other improv instrumentalists and had an installation, Today I am a Fountain Pen, at a gallery in New York City. Garner released a solo album, To Run More Smoothly, and Brown recorded his third album with Les Batteries, a percussion-based project with Guigou Chenevier. Garner and Brown continued to play and record together, in their Peach Cobbler project and other settings. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi
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