The Story So Far…
1994…was the year these four youngsters from San Diego started playing punk music together. Four Friends: Mark Smith on bass, Nick Lennen on drums, Gavin Kelly played guitar, and Daniel Sant sang. They were bad, having just learned to play their instruments and pulling from influences such as: Minor Threat, Sex Pistols, Operation Ivy, Rancid, Blitz, Beastie Boys, plus more, they threw some songs together and started playing shows. The more they played the better they got and earned a loyal following. Some sucker thought they were good and paid for them to record their demo at Nestor Studios in El Cajon-Nestor himself was going through a bad divorce at the time and was not too interested w/ these 4 punks, so he left some stoner guy in charge of recording and mixing. The combination of bad engineering, poor musicianship and songwriting, came to be known as the "Phat Bastards EP"-The 1st Swindle Demo, which surprisingly sold 500 copies rather quickly.
1995…Daniel was pressured to join the Navy to get money for college and left. Meanwhile, the boys played consistently as a 3 piece and the Swindle machine got bigger and now opened for national acts, such as 7seconds, Total Chaos, The Vandals, Suicide Machines, Swingin Utters, AFI, Bouncing Souls, The Queers…in San Diego as well as in LA, Redlands, and Corona. They wrote new songs w/o Daniel and recorded their 1st seven inch, a Split w/ another local Openfast, on a local label w/ 2 songs that showed a harder, faster Swindle. They were also featured on various national comps. that helped w/ some bigger exposure. The 3 made a hard decision to continue w/o Daniel for good because of their new sound and his absence.
1996…Being one of the bigger local punk bands in San Diego, Swindle were accosted by local indie label Cargo Records, the 3, then teenagers, signed immediately and put out 2 seven inches: a Split w/ Blink 182(then local pop punk heros, now mega-superstars(this record now sells on E-bay regularly for $30)) and their own "In the Red" receiving good reviews from MRR and Punk Planet. The 3 started writing and added long time friend and bass player Shaun McCutcheon, moving Mark to rhythm guitar, for their debut full-length, "Within These Walls" that incorporated a more emotion/angst-filled straight forward punk style. Produced by O from Fluf in just 4 days and was released right after the boys graduated from High School. The 4 left home for their first U.S. tour for a month to promote the album and had the time of their lives. The album received good reviews, some radio air play, and has sold over 6,000 copies.
1998…Continued success at home and throughout SoCal led to the release of their 2nd full-length Better Off Dead. This release explored a mix of hardcore and early punk as well as a newer style, w/ influences from Born Against, Avail, Bouncing Souls, Misfits... This album showed a more mature band that has gained skills in songwriting and ability. Lack of steady distribution hurt the national sales of this album and they were unable to tour because of school constraints. Also released earlier this year was a split 7 inch w/ The Finders(political punk from Redlands on Slowgun Records). During this time Mark and Nick formed a side project hardcore band, Palpatine w/ Daniel Sant on vocals and released an album and a 7 inch.
1999…A summer tour was thrown together that left Gavin behind because of school and work and that he was a new father and included Mehran(Nightmare Syndicate) on lead guitar. The tour included multiple shows supporting The Ataris, which was beneficial because of the size of the crowds despite the genre difference.
2000…Shaun and Gavin graduate from college and decide move on. Before they go they record 4 songs: A Skid Row cover for Fearless Records comp Punk Goes Metal (AFI, The Ataris, Death By Stereo,…), and 3 others for various comps. Gavin goes to LA for film school and Shaun moves to Japan to teach English. Gavin is replaced by friend Keith Divel(Roswell Project, Stick Figure Carousel), but occasionally plays. Shaun is replaced by friend Kenny Laubacher(Drats) temporarily.
2001…They release a split 7 inch w/ Daniel's new hardcore sxe band Over My Dead Body (featuring members of Unbroken, Built To Last). This release received very good reviews and has almost sold out of it's first and second pressing of 1200. Keith is added permanently on lead guitar as well as new comer and friend Dave Rierson on bass. With a solid line up Swindle continue to write new songs for upcoming releases as well as play shows throughout California. .