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Mischief Brew

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Title: Mischief Brew  
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Subject: Cowpunk, List of anarcho-punk bands, List of anarchist musicians, Folk punk, Cutting the Stone, Stza, The Mary Ellen Carter, Joseph Genaro, Bread and Roses (band), Hallowed Be Thy Name
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Mischief Brew

Mischief Brew
Origin Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Genres Anarcho-punk, folk punk
Years active 2000-Present
Labels Fistolo Records, Gunner Records, Art Of The Underground
Associated acts The Orphans, Kettle Rebellion, Meisce, Red Devil, Guignol, Mohawktown
Members Erik Petersen
Shawn St. Clair
Chris "Doc" Kulp
Christopher Petersen
Tom Swafford
Past members Sean Yantz
Julian Tomas Buchanan
Gregory Taylor
Franz Nicolay
Peter Hess
Kevin Holland

Mischief Brew is a band from Philadelphia which plays DIY anarcho-punk music, also incorporating a variety of styles including American folk, swing, Gypsy-punk and country. It was started by Erik Petersen as a solo project, but eventually grew into a band. Petersen draws inspiration from the protest movements of the 1960s,[1] "the idea that rebellion in music didn't originate in punk rock" (Profane Existence No. 54, 2007), and anti-establishment artists like Woody Guthrie and Crass.[1] Petersen's lyrics often pay homage to American labor radicalism of the early 20th century. Mischief Brew has released albums and EPs on many different labels, notably Art of the Underground, Gunner Records, and Fistolo Records.[2] In support of these records, Mischief Brew has toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe.[3] When playing live, they have performed with four to five people, incorporating such instruments as junk/found percussion, trumpet, accordion, violin, mandolin, and vibraphone into their set.


Mischief Brew started after Erik Petersen's previous band, The Orphans, broke up in 2000. At first, the band consisted of only Erik on an acoustic guitar or mandolin, playing songs off of the Mirth demo. In 2003, Erik released the Bellingham & Philadelphia split with Robert Blake, and the Bakenal CDEP. After extensive acoustic touring in support of the first two releases, Petersen assembled the first full-band incarnation of Mischief Brew, featuring Chris "Doc" Kulp (of Red Devil) on drums and Sean "Shantz" Yantz (of Evil Robot Us' and Abusing the Word) on bass. In 2005, he released his first full-length, Smash The Windows, featuring guest spots by artists from Leftöver Crack, World/Inferno Friendship Society, and Guignol.[4] This release saw him experiment more musically, with styles ranging from gypsy-folk to swing.

The second full-length was Songs From Under the Sink, a collection of songs written between 1997 and 2002 which stresses his anarchist beliefs and is complemented by his clever guitar melodies. Yantz left the band shortly after Songs from Under the Sink was released, and was replaced for a few shows by Kevin Holland and later by Shawn St. Clair (of Endless Nightmare, Lost Cause, Stations, the Bad Dudes and Wrought With Sickness), who currently plays bass.

Mischief Brew's released Photographs from the Shoebox in 2008, a split LP/CD with Joe Jack Talcum of The Dead Milkmen.

In 2009, two versions of the song "Punx Win!" appeared on a split with Andrew Jackson Jihad. Rather than a traditional 7" single, Pirates Press Records released the record as an 8" with parallel grooves, therefore able to play either version of the track depending on where the needle is dropped.

Erik Petersen and Guignol collaborated in 2009 on Fight Dirty.[5] Mischief Brew released The Stone Operation in May 2011. The previous year, on October 18, 2010, an unmastered track from the album, "Dallas In Romania," was previewed by Y-Rock on WXPN.[6]

Mischief Brew have played shows in support of Food Not Bombs, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and ABC No Rio.[7] In October 2011, Erik Petersen played an acoustic set at Occupy Philadelphia.[8]


Studio albums

  • Bellingham & Philadelphia (split with Robert Blake) - 2003, Art of the Underground (as Erik Petersen)
  • Smash The Windows - 2005, Fistolo, Gunner
  • Songs from Under the Sink - 2006, Fistolo
  • Photographs From The Shoebox (split with Joe Jack Talcum) - 2008, Fistolo
  • Fight Dirty (collaboration with Guignol) - 2009, Fistolo
  • The Stone Operation - 2011, Fistolo


  • Bakenal EP - 2003, Fistolo
  • Oh Sweet Misery 7" - 2005, Art of the Underground
  • Two Boxcars 7" (split with David Dondero) - 2005, Fistolo
  • Loved, But Unrespected 7" (split with Bread and Roses) - 2006, Fistolo
  • Art of the Underground Single Series Year 1 7" Box Set - 2006, Art of the Underground
  • Jobs in Steeltown 7" - 2008, Fistolo
  • Partners In Crime No. 2 4-way split 7" (split with Guitar Bomb, Wingnut Dishwashers Union, and Endless Mike and the Beagle Club) - 2009, Fistolo/Crafty
  • Punx Win! 8" (split with Andrew Jackson Jihad) - 2009, Pirates Press
  • Rhapsody For Knives 7" EP - 2012, Fistolo
  • Free Radical Radio Fever 7" - 2013, Gunner
  • Under The Table 7" (split with Franz Nicolay) - 2013, Silver Sprocket Bicycle Club (originally part of Suburban Home Records' Under The Influence series)


  • Mirth, or Certain Verses Composed and Fitted to Tunes, for the Delight and Recreation of All - 2000, Fistolo
  • Live in Ray's Basement (split with Robert Blake) - 2002, Square of Opposition
  • Live on WKDU 91.7 FM - 2001, Fistolo
  • Don't Spoil Yer Supper! - 2003, Fistolo
  • Boiling Breakfast Early (collection of early demos) - 2008, Dead Format
  • Fight Dirty (collaboration with Guignol) - 2009, The Cottage Records

Compilation appearances

  • Where the Wild Things Rock - Philly Punk Comp. (song: "Weapons")
  • This is War! - Comp. & Double Zine (song: "Liberty Unmasked (radio performance)")
  • Artists Fight the System - Pacifica Radio Double Disc (song: "Every Town Will Celebrate")
  • Art of the Underground Sampler CD - Art of the Underground (song: "Boycott Me!")
  • Beyond the Ballot (song: "The Lowly Carpenter (radio performance)")
  • Up the Stairs and Through the Hall - Sherman Arts Comp. (song: "Departure Arrival")
  • Rising Tide - Riotfolk (song: "Save a City...")
  • A Wrench in the Works: Radical Library Benefit CD - (song: "The Lowly Carpenter (radio performance)")
  • Never Forgotten, Never Forgiven - Profane Existence Records (song: "A Liquor Never Brewed")
  • 0 to 60 in 59 Bands - No!No Records (song: "Ode to a Safecracker")
  • Profane Existence No. 54 - Sampler and interview with Mischief Brew (song: "Tell Me A Story")
  • The State I'm In - Crafty Records (song: "A Peasant's Rebellion")
  • Mancubbers - Mancub Tribute compilation (song: "An Open Letter to the North American Continent")
  • Still Kicking - Kebele Benefit Comp. (song: "All About the Class War")
  • And You Call This Civilization? - Pumpkin Records (song: "The Riverflow")
  • A Benefit For Anthony Poynter - Get Better Records (song: "The Midnight Special 2002 (Country Mile Version)"
  • Too Punk To Folk - Dying Scene (song: "Catch Fire")
  • A Tribute To Rudimentary Peni - Pumpkin Records (song: "Drinking Song From The Tomb")

Soundtrack/film appearances

  • Con Artist - 2009 (song: "Fight Dirty")
  • The Farmer And The Horse - 2010 (song: "Olde Tyme Mem'ry")

Bootlegs/unofficial releases

  • Kettle Rebellion (Unreleased, unmastered 8-song EP with studio songs from Mirth. The master tape was stolen from Petersen's house and leaked online, and given some incorrect song titles)
  • Live At Punx Picnic Baltimore (Acoustic set recorded in 2004, mix of originals and covers by The Pogues, Doom, Culture Shock, and Chumbawamba)
  • Live At Coyle Street Collective Apartment (Acoustic set recorded on April 24, 2005 in Portland, Maine)
  • Live At The Bike Barn (Live set recorded on August 2, 2005 in Falmouth, Maine)


External links

  • Official Site
  • Official Myspace Page
  • Review of Photographs from the Shoebox
  • Review of Smash the Windows
  • Review of Songs From Under the Sink
  • Biography and discography on Fistolo Records website
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