Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

A sonic explosion that mixes elements of blues styled guitar, intricate bass, pure rock drumming, with a punk fury and attitude that would make Joey Ramone smile from above.


"From the artier side of the blues-punk explosion." This is how one music editor described the sound from the quartet known as Benchwarmer. Throw in a unpredictable hyper-kinetic live show that usually ends with bloodshed, you have a band that is sure to leave a impression on any audience that happens to see one of western Pennsylvania's most unique rock bands.

Officially formed in 2002 by Mark Briercheck, K. Ashton Read, and Jason Henry in a Pittsburgh basement, the band's foundation was forged by blending the guitar work of the post hardcore band Quicksand, the punk attitude of the Clash, and the pop quirkiness of the Pixies. 2002 saw the band work on their sound on and off stage, as they started to play locally in and around Pittsburgh.

The following year saw the sound that the band had been working on begin to take shape, as their intense and unpredictable live show would gain enough attention to become a fixture on the Pittsburgh rock circuit, as well as making a name for themselves regionally in Ohio, Maryland, and western New York. The band was so confident with the songs that they had crafted, they decided to venture into the studio to record what would become the act's debut release, simply titled Benchwarmer.

The late 2003 self-titled record would receive critical praise from both local and national outlets, and radio airplay in markets such as Pittsburgh, New York, San Francisco, and overseas makets in Austrailia, Spain, and Portugal. One review would go as far as to proclaim them as, "having a shot to be lauded as the next rock saviors." With that momentum carrying the band into 2004, the band continued to play bigger shows, as they would get the opportunity to share the stage with diverse national acts such as Cave-In, indie rock icons Trans Am, art-rock masters Skeleton Key!, and Rolling Stone magazine darling, Har Mar Superstar. In September, Benchwarmer entered the studio to record the demos to their sophomore release. The guys were so impressed with the recordings, that in February of 2005 they released two of them; now known as the Smoke & Mirrors single.

2005 also saw the addition of Mike Lawton to the band and a full-fledged winter East Coast tour from Dayton, Ohio to Miami, Florida. Meanwhile, the reviews of the singles were again praiseful as well as very optimistic to what the band had in store for the next record. When the band returned to Pennsylvania they again played to large crowds, playing the annual Carnegie Mellon University spring festival with The Shins. However, with all this momentum it became apparent that life's other priorities would need to be addressed as well. So in May 2005, Benchwarmer played their last show for the time being.

Fast forward to January of 2006; after not playing music for months, the band took care of their other interests and started to rehearse with the goal of finishing the long-awaited follow up to the first record, as well as preparing to do what they do best, perform live. While such a break would be the death of a lot of other bands, the time away from music has helped the band regroup and install a new vigor in the band that will carry out the full potential that so many others seen in them. Taking care of unfinished business will be the theme of the upcoming months for Benchwarmer, as they etch their own part of music history.


Benchwarmer - LP/CD
Radio Singles: Catatonic, Paradigm, Status Quo (U.S.), Holden Caulfield (Spain, Portugal)

Smoke & Mirrors - single
Radio single: Smoke & Mirrors (U.S., Spain, Australia)

Set List

Average length: 30-45 minutes

(Songs marked with * are staples of the set, others are alternated show to show)

Smoke & Mirrors*
Among the Living*
Friendly Fire
Status Quo*
Photopolygnostic (instrumental)*
Almost Colossal
Duck and Cover*
Beg, Bargain, Steal
Phantasmagoria (instrumental)
Holden Caulfield
8-Bit Apocalypse
Oklahoma Territory*
Blue Collar Fight Song
Get It Together

Blitzkrieg Bop - Ramones
Hell's Bells - AC/DC