Chapterhouse was a British shoegaze band of the early 1990s, originally from Reading, England. Formed in 1987 by Andrew Sherriff and Stephen Patman, the band began performing alongside Spacemen 3. The band reunited for a few shows in 2008-2010.
The band comprised of Andrew Sherriff (guitar/vocals), Stephen Patman (guitar/vocals), Simon Rowe (guitar), Jon Curtis (bass) and Ashley Bates (drums).
Chapterhouse took the unusual step of rehearsing and gigging for well over a year before recording even a demo tape. They were initially lumped in with the British acid rock scene, a mistake hardly rectified by the band's early performances supporting the rather laid-back Spacemen 3. Chapterhouse eventually escaped from that genre only to find themselves thrust amongst the shoegaze groups of 1991 (with the likes of Lush, Ride, Moose and Slowdive), so called because of the bands' static live shows and insular music.
Bassist Jon Curtis left early on to study, being replaced by Russell Barrett, who also fronted his own garage band, the Bikinis. Chapterhouse eventually signed to the newly formed Dedicated label, releasing a series of lavishly acclaimed singles, including Pearl, which reached the UK Top 75, and which revelled in distorted melodies and attracted a healthy following.
Their first LP Whirlpool, released in 1991, has been cited as one of the genre's high points, but failed to capture a wider market. In the same year, Chapterhouse also appeared to muted reaction at Reading Festival immediately following Nirvana's UK debut, an event which was seen to sound the death knell for shoegazing.
Blood Music, stylistically different, was released in 1993. Two singles from this album, She's a Vision and We Are the Beautiful, were relatively successful, but the album was withdrawn due to a sample-related lawsuit. Global Communication reworked Blood Music for their album Pentamerous Metamorphosis. Spooky remixed We Are Beautiful: We Are the Beautiful (Spooky's Ugly as Sin mix) / We Are the Beautiful (Spooky's Extravaganja dub mix).
The band split in 1994 and released no further new material other than a double CD in 1996 called Rownderbout, compiling their singles, various B-sides, rarities and unreleased demos. Sherriff went on to form Bio.com, Bates formed Cuba and Rowe went on to play guitar for Mojave 3.
The music of Chapterhouse was mostly out of print on CD until March 2006, when Cherry Red Records reissued the album Whirlpool with bonus tracks, and for the first time, lyrics.
The band played a version of Love Forever with Ulrich Schnauss on the Barn Stage at the 2008 edition of Truck Festival. In response to requests over the years, Chapterhouse played live at Club AC30's Reverence show at the ICA on 26 November 2009 along with Ulrich Schnauss and Kirsty Hawkshaw.
This was preceded on 23 November by a warm up show at the Luminaire in Kilburn. The band also played at The Scala in London on 18 March 2010, and undertook short tours of Japan in April 2010 and North America in May 2010. The North American tour had to be postponed due to the Icelandic ash cloud cancelling flights, stranding Patman in Japan. Chapterhouse rescheduled the North American tour for September and October 2010.
The band has yet to continue touring beyond 2010.