Trial By Fire

Chris Bjorkland. Trial By Fire. From MRR #3. Taken by Jeff Pezzati.

“Just about anyone who saw Trial By Fire live or heard their ultra rare recordings said that they were a special band. Even today people who were part of the scene in 1982/1983 say that Trial By Fire was one of the best bands of the Chicago Punk era.”

I always wondered about this one – with all the re-releases, compilations, shitty demo quality cash-ins being released out there – why hasn’t anyone ever done anything with TRIAL BY FIRE?

TBF was a group active in early 80s Chicago, made up of former STRIKE UNDER members: Chris Bjorkland (who also went on to BLOODSPORT & THE EFFIGIES) Bob Furem & most importanly (in my eyes) Pierre Kezdy (John Effigies brother, and big time NAKED RAYGUN/PEGBOY component.)

From all accounts, and from what I’ve been told by people who WERE there, Trial by Fire were the best band in the city for a time. But what do we have do judge them on? Well, if you’re me, next to nothing.

The You Weren’t There soundtrack includes the seminal “Rocks of Sweden” later covered by Naked Raygun  (available on the All Rise rerelease LP/CD) and one other Raygun cover (from The Last of the Demohicans collection) that cements TBF’s existence, “Giveaway.” This track is as interesting as anything I’ve heard out of Chicago.

Additionally, Arsenal (Santiago Durango of the original Raygun line-up & Pierre Kedzy’s band) covered TBF song(s) on their  Factory Smog is a Sign of Progress ep.

So, for me, TBF exist as NR/Arsenal covers and one singular tune of their own. Why?

One may cite the opinion that tracks have been lost; no one has anything readily available, except for the fact that I have heard there exists a full album that had been recorded but never released from Ruthless Records, as TBF had broken up before its scheduled release date. Also told that a three song demo, as well as live material, is floating around as well.

Whether any of this is true or not, I’m not 100% positive, but I know I’d love to hear these recordings. C’mon. An entire album out there, and SOMEONE can’t release it? I shake my head.

If anyone has any info or any access to any of TBF’s recordings, needless to say, I’d love to hear any of it.


2 Responses to “Trial By Fire”

  1. couldn’t agree more. i’ve heard so much about this incredible band–but never heard the actual music. isame thing for the naked raygun lineup with santiago durango–apparently they were mind-blowing live, but it doesn’t come across on basement screams. someone’s sitting on live recordings or demos of this stuff, hope it leaks out someday.

  2. Billy Shears Says:

    The soundtrack to You Weren’t There actually has Trial By Fire doing “Rocks of Sweden.” So pick that up if you haven’t. “Giveway” as done by NR sounds epic to me – kind of Joy Division opening, into more Naked Raygun/Chicago territory.

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