Sampling The Samples


In college, my friend Jeremy introduced me to a band from Boulder, CO called The Samples. Named in honor of being so poor that they ate free samples from the local grocery store, the band combined rock, reggae and folk and were widely considered part of the “jam band” scene, even touring with the HORDE festival, though they were never quite a “jam band.”

The rest, as they say, was history. I was hooked. told everyone about them. I made mix tapes of them for people. I collected live shows. I wore their shirts. I traveled to other cities to see them. They provided the soundtrack to a good chunk of my life. And then, as the lineup changed and the band seemed trapped in a specific sound and the lyrics seemed to lose inspiration, I gradually forgot about them. But then the other day, Relix posted about a free livestream of a Samples show and it brought back a flood of musical memories.

Stream The Samples Live at Fox Theater on 1994-01-16. This set includes Boyd, Leroi, and Carter from the Dave Matthews Band, one of my favorite songs, “Little Silver Ring,” and an absolutely killer version of “Feel Us Shaking.”

I don’t know what year it was, but the band put out a profile/tour documentary on VHS, which of course I owned. Now, thanks to the beauty of the Internet, you can watch “Ten Wheels” right here. It’s just under 30 minutes and gives you a great idea of the band during their heyday, after original member Charles Hambleton had left the group, but otherwise features the core lineup of Sean Kelly (Guitar/Vocals), Andy Sheldon (Bass/Vocals), Jeep MacNichol (Drums/Vocals), and Al Laughlin (Keyboards/Vocals).

The group didn’t do many official music videos, but they did do one for “Every Time,” from the fabulous album The Last Drag, which was featured at the end of the “Ten Wheels” documentary.

The documentary also features snippets from this video: “When It’s Raining.” Sean Kelly says of the making of this video: “We made this video on top of some building in Denver. Five more seconds on that roof and we all would have been struck by lightning. My hair was starting to show static electricity which is usually right before you get hit! Another lucky day.”

  • Visit The Samples official website.

  • Visit the Samples’ page at the Live Music Archive.

  • Support the Samples at Bandcamp.

  • Purchase the Samples music at Amazon.