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Ensign Biography

Last updated: 09/16/2003 03:38:01 AM

Nathan: Guitar
Tim Shaw: Vocals
John "Vince Vegas" O'Neill: Drums
Chris Oliver: Bass
Chris Byrnes: Guitar

Formed in 1995 amidst the burgeoning New Jersey hardcore scene, Ensign has emerged as one of the area's most prominent and hardworking bands. To date Ensign has released a new EP entitled For What It's Worth available on limited edition colored vinyl and CD, a split 7" with friends Death By Stereo on Indecision Records, a split 7" with Reaching Forward from Holland on Reflections (available in Europe only) and a retrospective CD on Indecision Records, featuring the first two 7-inches plus comp tracks, live tracks and extra songs called "Three Years Two Months Eleven Days." Recording for the new full length The Price of Progression has been completed and is slated for a Spring 2001 release date, followed by extensive touring.

Ensign's discography goes a bit like this: Ensign's self-titled debut EP was released in May of '96 on Indecision Records. Following the release, long-time New Jersey scenester Nate Gluck (Strength 691, Vision) replaced founding bassist Walt Svekla, and, together with Tim Shaw (vocals), Chris Ross (drums), and John Fraumberger (guitar), they hit the road with friends Good Riddance for a summer tour.

After recruiting ex-Undertow drummer Ryan Murphy, Ensign followed up their summer tour with more dates. Spring/summer of '97 saw the release of the "Fall From Grace" 7-inch and the untimely departure of founding guitarist John Fraumberger. Prior to John leaving, however, Ensign recorded their first full-length album and Direction of Things to Come was released on Indecision Records in November of 1997. With John on his way back to school for a teaching degree, Ensign grabbed friend and fan Ryan "Mackenzie" Donoghue to take over guitar duties. With a handful of new songs, they headed into the studio in December '98 to record Cast the First Stone their first album on Nitro Records.

Playing to diverse crowds has endeared the band to an ever-increasing following of fans, bridging both the hardcore and punk scenes. Ensign has shared the stage with Sick Of It All, A.F.I., Good Riddance, H2O, Avail, the Suicide Machines, and many others. The band also satisfied its insatiable appetite for touring with successful trips in the spring of '98 to both Europe and Japan, followed quickly by a support slot on a mini-tour of Canada with Good Riddance, and countless local area appearances. Early '99 saw Ensign in Europe supporting Sick Of It All. With only a few days to recover from jet lag Ensign geared up and headed off to the Great White North for select dates on the Canadian Sno-Jam 5 tour. They quickly turned around and pounded out 2 consecutive headlining US tours with friends Kill Your Idols and Stretch Armstrong, followed by another European tour, all in support of Cast the First Stone.

After years of dreaming, Ensign finally secured a tour of the Emerald Isle, which for the band was an opportunity not to be missed, especially since all members are of Irish decent. It was on this tour that they met John O'Neill, who stepped up to the plate when drummer Ryan Murphy announced his retirement from the Ensign ranks. Ryan's departure was a blow to the band; having become fond of him over the last few years. But the band has no plans to slow down and has spent the better portion of the new millennium breaking in new drummer John and focusing on songs for their new album, The Price of Progression.

Yet another shock to the proverbial system was the exit of guitarist Mackenzie prior to their Euro2000 tour. With the lure of a normal family life, Mackenzie decided it was time for him to move on. He will be sadly missed, but not forgotten. This proved to be a pivotal point for Ensign. Nate, who had been the principle songwriter since joining the band in the spring of '96, had the choice of staying on as the bassist or taking over as the new guitarist. With not much time for a decision, Nate grabbed old friend and former project bandmate Chris Oliver (Weapon X, the Purpose, Something In The Water) and taught him the current live set as well as a few of the newer songs. They headed off to Europe and surprised everyone (no one thought that Nate would be able to pull off playing guitar live).

After returning home they headed into the studio to record the new album, this time leaving Nate the job of recording both bass and guitar. With a new attitude and new songs definitely different from their earlier releases they blew through the recording and are ready to release what the band feels is their best album to date. Nate and Tim are pleased to have finally recorded the album that the two of them had always talked about. Halfway through the recording they received word from a possible new guitarist, Chris Byrnes (Try.Fail.Try, Nora) saying that he was interested in joining up and even had some ideas for 2nd guitar parts on a few songs. Chris came down to the studio and left his mark on a few select tracks for the album.
With the addition of Chris on guitar the question of what to do still remained.

Nate has decided to stick out playing guitar until a suitable replacement can be found, at which point he can return to his long lost bass duties and the band can become the 5 piece they'd like to be. Touring plans for the 2001 year include Europe, U.S., Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia and possibly South America. Through their continuing musical growth and touring schedule Ensign is certain to be a band on the rise for years to come. Spark the revolution. Ensign is coming!