Born in Dunedin, New Zealand, Phillipps discovered punk rock in 1978 at the age of 15; awed by the New Zealand punk band the Enemy, Phillipps started his own group, the Same. His initial role in the Same was as a guitarist, but he eventually became the band's vocalist, too. In 1980, Phillipps formed the Chills after the Same's demise. Phillipps asked Peter Gutteridge of the Clean, one of the groups he idolized, to join the Chills; however, Gutteridge left before the band even recorded its first single.
After Gutteridge's departure, the group's other members quit to travel or attend college, and Phillipps suddenly found himself without a band. In 1981, Phillipps toured with the Clean and then created a new lineup for the Chills when he returned, acquiring a contract from the independent label Flying Nun Records a year later. After drummer Martyn Bull died from leukemia in 1983, Phillipps put the Chills on hiatus and briefly went solo. Phillipps recruited different musicians for the next version of the Chills, temporarily naming themselves A Wrinkle In Time, in December 1983.
Throughout the '80s, the Chills juggled various lineups and released numerous singles that displayed Phillipps' affection for psychedelia and '60s garage rock. In 1987, the Chills finally released their first album, Brave Words. (Its predecessor, 1986's Kaleidoscope World, merely collected the group's singles.) In 1993, the Chills broke up after being dropped by their U.S. label.
Phillipps then collaborated with the Clean's David Kilgour (guitar, vocals) as the Pop Art Toasters, recording an EP of '60s covers. Phillipps revived the Chills in 1995 as Martin Phillipps and the Chills, releasing Sunburnt in 1996 on Flying Nun. ~ Michael Sutton, All Music Guide Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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