AMG All Music Guide
The Squires of the Subterrain
The Squires of the Subterrain springs from the do-it-yourself, lo-fi (but certainly not low-quality) pop ingenuity of a single man, Christopher Earl (born Christopher Earl Zajkowski), a fixture on the 1990s underground pop scene of Rochester, NY. Throughout the decade, while playing in numerous combos and side projects, Earl was creating some quirky and brilliant pop informed by the most far-out '60s work of the Beatles, Zombies, Kinks, and particularly Brian Wilson, on the sly in his basement (hence the derivation on "subterranean") lair and releasing it on a series of acclaimed cassettes as the Squires of the Subterrain.
Earl began playing drums in 1979 with a group of high school friends that eventually morphed over the course of the next decade into the Essentials, and then, by 1992, into five-piece dance-rock band the Salamanders; the other primary members were guitarist Gregory Townson and bassist Todd Bradley, with Earl's younger brother and two of Bradley's siblings joining at various times. The Salamanders developed a sizable local following and even had the opportunity to play with some members of James Brown's great '60s band. They released a debut full-length, Livestock in the Living Room, in 1992 on After Hours before ultimately dissolving in 1997 when a couple of members quit.
In 1998 Townson returned and the trio reformed as rootsy rock & roll trio the Hi-Risers. On the side Earl was playing in the '60s garage-type outfit the Riviera Playboys. In 1998 he emerged relatively aboveground for
the first time with the release of his first Squires CD, Pop in a CD, culled from a decade's worth of underground cassette releases. A year later he left both the Playboys and the Hi-Risers to focus on his work as the Squires of the Subterrain.
In 2000 Earl was approached by fellow pop eccentric and British psychedelic legend Pete Miller (aka Big Boy Pete) with a tape of songs that Miller had originally demoed back in 1966. Miller suggested the Squires do the songs up full-blown and also expressed an interest in collaborating and reworking lyrics. The project was recorded at the end of 2000 with the help of The Hi-Risers and The Quitters. Since then the Big Boy Pete/Squire collaboration has continued with the co-produced Strawberries on Sunday, Lemon Malarkey,
and the new split CD Rock It Racket, brand new Spring 2007.
The Squires' latest disc, Sandbox, will be released in spring of 2012, just in time for summer sun and surf.