SPEED THE PLOUGH have been playing and singing together since 1984. Named after an old Scottish folk song, the group was formed by songwriter John Baumgartner (keyboards, vocals), Toni Baumgartner (vocals, woodwinds) and Marc Francia (guitar). They had previously founded THE TRYPES, a septet that also featured several members of THE FEELIES.
The band recorded their first LP, an eponymous 1989 release on Coyote/Twin Tone Records, with production by Feelie Bill Million. The album was re-mixed and re-issued by East Side Digital in 1992.
STP's second album, Wonder Wheel, saw a reunion with former Trypes and Feelies members Brenda Sauter (bass, vocals) and Stanley Demeski (drums, percussion). Produced once again by Bill Million, the album included contributions from Michael Lipton (guitars), Tony Trishka (banjo), and Million (guitars). Wonder Wheel was released by East Side Digital in 1991.
Between album projects, the band contributed music to two independent films - Strangest Dreams (1990) and Paradise Park (1993).
Mason's Box, the band's third album, was released in October, 1993 by East Side Digital. Produced by the band, it was performed by John, Toni, Marc, Brenda and Richard Barnes (guitars) and Christopher O'Donovan (drums, percussion). Musical contributors included Michael Lipton (guitars) and Jimmy Ryan (mandolin).
Speed the Plough's fourth album, Marina, was recorded between August 1994 and July 1995 and includes elements of all four seasons. In addition to the band, other performers included Demeski (congas, tablas, percussion) and Lipton (guitars). It was produced by the band and Don Sternecker of Mix-o-lydian.
After more than a decade-long hiatus, the band re-formed in 2009, with founding members John, Toni, and Marc joined by new members (and their sons) Mike Baumgartner (guitar), Ian Francia (drums) and Dan Francia (bass). They produced and recorded the band's fifth album, Swerve, which they self-released in May, 2010. It was recorded at home and mixed and mastered by Don Sternecker at Mix-o-lydian. Swerve includes contributions from Lipton (guitars) and Demeski (percussion). The album is available on iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby.
In the summer of 2010, the band recorded three songs - aptly dubbed The Summer Sessions - at a studio at NYU's Clive Davis School of Music. They were joined by trumpeter Will Coppola. Released as a limited edition EP.
by John Baumgartner Edit this biography