New Left Standard was formed in Oct 1996 and began as a 5 piece punk rock band featuring T.J. M on guitar, Eric D. on vocals, Tim E. on bass, Terry F. playing drums and Steve F. on guitar. They played there first show in late december of 1996 at The first annual punk christmas at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Arlington Heights, IL. The first show was very rocky and was definetely a sign that the band needed alot of work. During the beginning of 1997, the members of New Left Standard started experimenting with upbeat guitar and ska and began to make the transformation into the infamous ska act that New Left Standard became.
The members of NLS started playing frequent local basement shows and began to build up a strong local following and began to grow as musicians and as a band. After a handful of basement and other local shows, New Left Standard picked up a horn section. The original New Left Standard horn section was composed of Jason Van Winkle(trombone), Nicole Green(sax) and Kevin Chapmann(trumpet, who went on to sing in the infamous local act, ATFO). This new lineup lasted a few shows and allowed the band to start to experiment with horn players and try to create there sound. In June of 1997 some big changes happened to the New Left Standard lineup. T.J., Terry, and Steve had met and played shows with a kid by the name of Chris K. who was the guitar player and singer in a terrible punk band called Plan 9. Now for some reason which to this day it is unknown, they asked Chris to join the band soon after hearing the breakup of Plan 9. Chris graciously accepted but only if they kicked there trumpet player(Kevin Chapmann) out of the band and brought in his high school friend Eric Engelmann to play trumpet in his place. At this same time the guys in the band were having trouble with their bass player time, so after they asked Chris to join they kicked Tim out of the band and moved Steve to bass. They also kicked out the trombone player Jason Vanwinkle, which left the lineup as follows Eric Dalke, lead vocals Chris King, vocals, guitar, T.J., vocals guitar Terry F., drums, steve F., bass eric engelmann trumpet and Nicole Green sax. After this lineup was put together New Left Standard exploded into the scene and began playing at least two shows a weekend and practicing vigorously. Also during this period they picked up a new talented trombone player by the name of Todd Alexander, who helped put the new left standard horn section together and getting them playing better than ever. In july of 1997 New Left Standard recorded a 5 song demo tape entitled Cool Like Chris with John Emerson in Elgin IL. This tape went to do dubbed over 200-300
times and sold at local shows everywhere. NLS started playing more and more shows and got much larger following after getting heavy play of their demo on the late night punk rock chicago radio show "Fast and Loud." The band played for months on end and then went into record once again with John Emerson in December of 1997, They recorded 5 new songs and then started seeking a label. After talking to the guys at Dyslexic Records we decided that we would put out a 7 inch with them because our favorite band at the time, Slapstick had done their first 7 inch with them, so we made all the arrangements, did the cover work sent them dat tapes for their compilation and our 7" and everything seemed to be going in motion. After 3-4 months of waiting for the record to come out we were told by dyslexic that they were not going to do our record and basically lied to us, and left us in a tough spot and to this day we have never gotten back the dat tapes from them.
Around this time they kicked out Todd our trombone player and then later picked up Tim Murphy to fill in for Todd which ended up short lived because of his commitment to the New Jacks. Starting in 1998 New Left Standard became a regular band at the imfamous Chicago club and after playing a large amount of smaller shows at the fireside were finally given a big show. NLS got the opening slot for the Animal Chin/Showoff show and then in March played with Mu330 in Indiana. Also in March the boys in NLS recorded the $240 on a disasterous recording session with Matt Alison which ended up coming out terrible and we ended up paying alot of money for one song.(of course this was not his fault, but was do to the fact that we just were not ready to record.)
Then in April New Left Standard got a big chance. Although it was looked down on at the time for playing with a band that wasn't punk, or underground, they played with Eve 6 at the metro in downtown Chicago. This helped the band get more exposure and led to better shows. A few shows after that the band came to the decision that we had to kick out our lead singer Eric D. Chris took over on lead locals and on May 30th the band debuted with their new 6 person lineup and debuted new material.
The summer of 98' was very rough on NLS, except for a hand full of shows one with Animal Chin, NLS took a big break and ended up losing Nicole Green our saxophone player after she quit the band for her own reasons. New Left Standard then began work on new material and picked up a new talented saxophone player by the name of Jason Salazar. Standard than got ready to start playing again and played lots of shows including opening up for mustard plug at the metro, Ednas Goldfish at the fireside, and then the The everything offbeat release show at the Metro in December among the twenty-thirty shows in addition. By december it was put forth that New Left Standard would break up permanently after relationships between the members deteriorated and the direction of Standard's music was completely lost. They played a last few shows one with Mu330 at the fireside and then a terrible last show at Record Breakers which turned into one of the most disasterous shows of New Left Standard's career. This furthermore sealed the fact that everyone in the band would split and go there separate ways and that they did. T.J. played in an emo-rock band called Chauncey, after the breakup of nls and recorded lots of material with them. Chris and Terry recorded both a 5 songs demo tape and a full length album under the name Borderline, and Chris also joined recorded a full length with an already known local band called the New Jacks. Steve also played in another band after nls, which did not have a name that recorded some material. Then in august Terry and Steve left community college and went off to state schools in Michigan and Colorado, and Chris graduated high school and went to Marquette in Milwaukee. Around this time T.J. quit his band Chauncey and joined up with the chicago town favorite The Eclectics and went on their European tour with them and recorded with them and then quit shortly after the tour ended.
After lots of talking and interest from people about us reuniting, the 4 remaining members of NLS dicussed reuniting in April of 2000, everyone seemd to be in agreement, and they reunited NLS once again, to record new material and come back better than ever.