Tim Kinsella


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photograph of Tim Kinsella

Tim Kinsella (born October 22, 1974) is a musician from Chicago, Illinois. He has been a part of many bands including Cap'n Jazz, Joan of Arc, Sky Corvair, Make Believe, Owls, and Friend/Enemy. He has also recorded solo under the name Tim Kinsellas.

Tim Kinsella got his start musically around 1989, when he and his brother, Mike Kinsella met Sam Zurick and Victor Villareal to form Cap'n Jazz. They were all in school at the time, and it took them a while to get serious about playing music. After going through several name changes, and adding guitarist Davey von Bohlen, the group decided to make music seriously, ultimately garnering a cult following, and fame in the independent music scene of Chicago and the midwest.

Cap'n Jazz 1989-1995

Following the release of Cap'n Jazz's first and only album, Burritos, Inspiration Point, Fork Balloon Sports, Cards In The Spokes, Automatic Biographies, Kites, Kung Fu, Trophies, Banana Peels We've Slipped On and Egg Shells We've Tippy Toed Over (also known as Shmap'n Shmazz), and their last show on July 14th, 1995 they disbanded, and member Davey von Bohlen left Chicago to focus on his side project The Promise Ring, which eventually became one of the most influential emo bands of the 90's. Three years after the break up, in 1998, Jade Tree Records put out a double disc compilation, called Analphabetapolothology, which included all the songs from Shmap'n Shmazz, as well as songs from various 7", singles, demos and outtakes. Victor Villareal went home, and after a year of playing music independently, Tim, Mike, and Sam recruited Erik Bocek and Jeremy Boyle for what would eventually be called Joan of Arc.

Sky Corvair

Sky Corvair began as a side project for members of Braid, Cap'n Jazz, and Gauge. They played their first show in October of 1994, and recorded nine songs that December. Shortly thereafter, Tim Kinsella left the band to pursue Cap'n Jazz full time. Tim's credit on Sky Corvair's only album includes, guitar, vocals, and mixing.


Unsafe At Any Speed CD (released on Actionboy/Divot Records)

Joan of Arc

After the unfortunate demise of Cap'n Jazz, Tim began writing new material with keyboardist Jeremy Boyle. At this point, he was learning a new instrument (the guitar), and his songwriting began to take an abstract/experimental turn. Simultaneously, Sam Zurick was learning the drums, and playing in a band with Erik Bocek (a high school friend and former Cap'n Jazz roadie). The two were joined together, and after the addition of Mike Kinsella, Red Blue Yellow was born.

After difficulties, and a break up after their first show, they threw away all of their old material, and started afresh, with a new name, and new songs. Three months later, Joan of Arc had their first show at Autonomous Zone in Chicago. After two promising 7" singles the band recorded their debut album A Portable Model of... for Jade Tree. The album introduced JOA's signature sound - a fondness for stark acoustic songs then altered with subtle electronics. It also included some harder material including collaborations with former Cap'n Jazz guitarist Davey von Bohlen (also of The Promise Ring and later, Maritime) and Ryan Rapsys (of the Chicago-based outfit Euphone, who would later drum for Owls following the departure of Mike Kinsella). Joan Of Arc followed in 1998 with How Memory Works, a more comfortable and consistent album than its predecessor. Along with some of Tim Kinsella's strongest songs to date, the album included what would become a hall-mark of Joan Of Arc's subsequent studio output - interludes of synthetic noises cut with vocal samples and off-beat instrumentation. As always, Kinsella's lyrics were by and large impenetrably oblique, though the song 'This Life Cumulative' made reference to the media alienation of singer/songwriter Fiona Apple.

Following the departure of Mike Kinsella and Erik Bocek and the addition of Todd Mattei, Joan Of Arc found themselves thrust unwillingly into the spotlight by the sudden success of a Jade Tree retrospective of Kinsella's former band Cap'n Jazz. Being heralded as a pioneer of a multi-faceted movement known as 'Emo', a term derided and rejected by Kinsella, Joan Of Arc's next album was a reaction to this unwelcome label. Entitled Live In Chicago, 1999 as a reference to the fact that the band and their audience resided in Chicago, the album also recreated scenes from Jean-Luc Godard's 1967 film Le Weekend in its artwork. The songs on the album were slower and contained more spacious arrangements thanks to a newly found fondness for studio trickery. This album also marked the increasing media perception of Joan Of Arc as a 'difficult' band, an impression that would dog the band and Kinsella in particular throughout the band's existence.

This would become especially apparent after the release of The Gap in 2000. Completely eschewing past convention, JOA created one long ebbing piece of music which could only occasionally be recognised as individual songs. This increasingly progressive studio-heavy approach (certain pieces contained over one hundred tracks; mostly of clattering, incidental percussion and background noise) found favour amongst the band's more patient audience but completely baffled the music press. The album's satirical nods to Pink Floyd's The Wall became ironic when Tim Kinsella assumed Roger Waters-esque control of an EP of out-takes from The Gap sessions, which was originally conceived as the band's swan-song. Tensions within the group had mounted in the studio and coupled with indifference from their label and downright hostility from the media, Joan Of Arc disbanded.

Tim Kinsella then formed a group called Owls, which was a reincarnation of the original line-up of Cap'n Jazz. After recording an album with Steve Albini in 2001, Owls fell apart after the departure of Mike Kinsella and Victor Villareal. Left without a band once again, Tim Kinsella started working on songs for a solo album. When the resulting album So Much Staying Alive And Lovelessness was released in 2003 on Jade Tree, it instead bore the name Joan Of Arc. After completing the album with help from Sam Zurick and Mike Kinsella, Tim Kinsella had decided that since all three had played in Joan Of Arc, it could be considered a reunion of sorts. The album was a world away from the conceptual madness of The Gap and instead consisted of a selection of guitar-driven tracks with journal-like observation from Tim Kinsella. Heralded as a return to form, the album became the band's last on Jade Tree. Later that year, Joan Of Arc released the highly collaborative In Rape Fantasy And Terror Sex We Trust on Perishable Records. Although the songs had been recorded during the same sessions as So Much..., they were darker and more collage-based.

To tour the albums in 2003, Tim Kinsella organised a new Joan Of Arc line-up including Bobby Burg, Nate Kinsella (Tim's cousin) and Sam Zurick, who would also double as his side-project Make Believe. After a live album recorded in Germany and a split EP with Bundini Brown (of Tortoise and Gastr Del Sol) the band assembled a huge team of collaborators for 2004's Joan Of Arc, Dick Cheney, Mark Twain on Polyvinyl Records. This effort was largely well regarded and a significant step forward for the new incarnation of Joan Of Arc.

In the release entitled Presents Guitar Duets (Record Label Records) - Tim Kinsella rounded up ten former members of Joan Of Arc, and each was paired off with a partner by pulling names from a hat. Each duo then had to record a guitar duet together - the styles vary from standard acoustic plucking to droney, looped soundscapes. The track-names are identified only by the names of the pair who play on the track.

In 2006, Joan Of Arc announced a compilation of rarities entitled The Intelligent Design Of..., and on July 25th, 2006, Joan of Arc released "Eventually, All at Once."

Make Believe

Make Believe is 2003's touring version of Joan of Arc, consisting of singer Tim Kinsella, guitarist Sam Zurick, bassist Bobby Burg, and drummer Nate Kinsella. After 3 months of touring solidified their playing together, they returned home and decided to follow this impulse and write new songs with a more aggressive approach. But they all knew it had to be something different than Joan of Arc. For it to be represented as a true collaboration and reflect its totally different approach to songwriting and speak for itself it had to shake whatever connotations the band name Joan of Arc had acquired. Their first full-length Shock of Being was released on October 4, 2005. In June 2007 Kinsella left the band - the full release statement can be read here: http://www.absolutepunk.net/showthread.php?t=246564


Owls were an indie rock band from Chicago, Illinois, from 2001-2002. The band was formed by the original lineup of seminal experimental indie rock band Cap'n Jazz soon after its second breakup (the first came in 1994); Cap'n Jazz guitarist Davey Von Bohlen, who played in the band's second incarnation, had gone on to found, and was now playing in, influential emo band The Promise Ring. The band's lineup consisted of brothers Tim Kinsella and Mike Kinsella (on vocals and drums, respectively), along with guitarist Victor Villareal and bassist Sam Zurick. Tim Kinsella and Zurick have also played together in Joan of Arc and Make Believe, and Villareal and Zurick have played together in the instrumental-rock Ghosts and Vodka.

Unfortunately, the band dissolved after one tour. Rumours circulated that this was largely due to the complications arising from guitarist Victor Villareal's heroin dependency. When Mike Kinsella left to continue his solo project Owen and to play guitar for Maritime, he was replaced for a few live shows by Ryan Rapsys.

Tim Kinsellas

After the release of the Gap, Tim started to do some solo work for Troubleman Unlimited, and decided that this new era should coincide with a name change. He released 4 works under Tim Kinsellas for various labels. Tim had a falling out with the head of Troubleman Unlimited over royalties and currently the two are not speaking even though Tim admits his error on the issue. Tim's solo release entitled "Crucifix/Swastika" was written while he was on his honeymoon. His latest release Field Recordings of Dreams was recording late at night.



* He Sang His Didn't He Danced His Did CD (released on Troubleman Unlimited Records in 2001)
* Crucifix/Swastika CD (released on Record Label Records in 2005)
* Field Recordings of Dreams CD/Recycled Cassette (released on I Had an Accident Records in 2007)


* Gene McDonald/Ronald Simmons Split Demands Feminist Critique CD EP (released on BoxMedia Ltd. in 2002)
* Postmarked Stamps #6: Tim Kinsella/Jen Wood Split 7" (released on Tree Records in 1998)


Tim has participated in this Chicagoland Super band, which also includes members from Pigface, TVPow, Joan of Arc, Town & Country, Revolting Cocks, and Central Falls.



* Everyoned CD (released on Brilliante Records)

A Set

Tim contributed his guitar work to the A Set CD "The Science of Living Things" released on the now defunct label Tree Records. Albert Menduno is the lead man behind this band and has released CDs without the contribution of Tim Kinsella.



* "The Science of Living Things" CDEP (released on Tree Records)


* "Dark Farm" CD (feat. "This Flag I've Raised" originally released on "The Science of Living Things" released on Hyperion Media)
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Gear used by Tim Kinsella

Tim Kinsella electric guitars

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