Mischief Brew

Mischief Brew was an American band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, which played DIY anarcho-punk music, incorporating a variety of styles including American folk, swing, and Gypsy-punk.

Mischief Brew
OriginPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
GenresAnarcho-punk, folk punk
Years active2000–2016
LabelsFistolo Records, Gunner Records, Art Of The Underground, Alternative Tentacles
Associated actsThe Orphans, Kettle Rebellion, Meisce, Red Devil, Guignol, Mohawktown
MembersShawn St. Clair
Chris "Doc" Kulp
Christopher Petersen
Tom Swafford
Past membersErik Petersen
Sean Yantz
Julian Tomas Buchanan
Gregory Taylor
Franz Nicolay
Peter Hess
Kevin Holland

It was started by Erik Petersen as a solo project, but eventually grew into a band. Petersen drew inspiration from the protest movements of the 1960s,[1] "the idea that rebellion in music didn't originate in punk rock" (Profane Existence No. 54, 2007), and anti-establishment artists like Woody Guthrie and Crass.[1] Petersen's lyrics often pay homage to American labor radicalism of the early 20th century.[2][3]

Mischief Brew has released albums and EPs on many different labels, notably Art of the Underground, Gunner Records, and Fistolo Records.[4] In support of these records, Mischief Brew toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe.[5] When playing live, they performed with four to five people, incorporating such instruments as junk/found percussion, trumpet, accordion, violin, mandolin, and vibraphone into their set.


Mischief Brew started after Erik Petersen's previous band, The Orphans, broke up in 2000. At first, the band consisted of only Petersen on an acoustic guitar or mandolin, playing songs off of the Mirth demo. In 2003, Petersen released the Bellingham & Philadelphia split with Robert Blake, and the Bakenal CDEP. After extensive acoustic touring in support of the first two releases, Petersen assembled the first full-band incarnation of Mischief Brew, featuring Chris "Doc" Kulp (of Red Devil) on drums and Sean "Shantz" Yantz (of Evil Robot Us' and Abusing the Word) on bass. In 2005, Petersen released his first full-length, Smash The Windows, featuring guest spots by artists from Leftöver Crack, World/Inferno Friendship Society, and Guignol.[6] This release saw him experiment more musically, with styles ranging from gypsy-folk to swing.

The second album was Songs From Under the Sink, a collection of songs written between 1997 and 2002 which stresses his anarchist beliefs and is complemented by his clever guitar melodies. Yantz left the band shortly after Songs from Under the Sink was released, and was replaced for a few shows by Kevin Holland and later by Shawn St. Clair (of Endless Nightmare, Lost Cause, Stations, the Bad Dudes and Wrought With Sickness), who currently plays bass.

Mischief Brew's released Photographs from the Shoebox in 2008, a split LP/CD with Joe Jack Talcum of The Dead Milkmen.

In 2009, two versions of the song "Punx Win!" appeared on a split with Andrew Jackson Jihad. Rather than a traditional 7" single, Pirates Press Records released the record as an 8" with parallel grooves, therefore able to play either version of the track depending on where the needle is dropped.

Petersen and Guignol collaborated in 2009 on Fight Dirty.[7] Mischief Brew released The Stone Operation in May 2011. The previous year, on October 18, 2010, an unmastered track from the album, "Dallas In Romania," was previewed by Y-Rock on WXPN.[8]

Mischief Brew have played shows in support of Food Not Bombs, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and ABC No Rio.[9] In October 2011, Petersen played an acoustic set at Occupy Philadelphia.[10]

Founding member Erik Petersen died on July 14, 2016.[11][12][13]


Studio albumsEdit

  • Bellingham & Philadelphia (split with Robert Blake) - 2003, Art of the Underground (as Erik Petersen)
  • Smash The Windows - 2005, Fistolo, Gunner
  • Songs from Under the Sink - 2006, Fistolo
  • Photographs From The Shoebox (split with Joe Jack Talcum) - 2008, Fistolo
  • Fight Dirty (collaboration with Guignol) - 2009, Fistolo
  • The Stone Operation - 2011, Fistolo
  • This Is Not For Children - 2015, Alternative Tentacles
  • Bacchanal 'N' Philadelphia - 2016, Fistolo


  • Bakenal EP - 2003, Fistolo
  • Oh Sweet Misery 7" - 2005, Art of the Underground
  • Two Boxcars 7" (split with David Dondero) - 2005, Fistolo
  • Loved, But Unrespected 7" (split with Bread and Roses) - 2006, Fistolo
  • Art of the Underground Single Series Year 1 7" Box Set - 2006, Art of the Underground
  • Jobs in Steeltown 7" - 2008, Fistolo
  • Partners In Crime No. 2 4-way split 7" (split with Guitar Bomb, Wingnut Dishwashers Union, and Endless Mike and the Beagle Club) - 2009, Fistolo/Crafty
  • Punx Win! 8" (split with Andrew Jackson Jihad) - 2009, Pirates Press
  • Rhapsody For Knives 7" EP - 2012, Fistolo
  • Free Radical Radio Fever 7" - 2013, Gunner
  • Under The Table 7" (split with Franz Nicolay) - 2013, Silver Sprocket Bicycle Club (originally part of Suburban Home Records' Under The Influence series)
  • Kettle Rebellion (Long-lost 8-song EP with studio songs from Mirth. The master tape was stolen from Petersen's house and leaked online, and given some incorrect song titles, now finally properly released) 2014, Fistolo/Different Circle Records

Music videosEdit


  • Mirth, or Certain Verses Composed and Fitted to Tunes, for the Delight and Recreation of All - 2000, Fistolo
  • Live in Ray's Basement (split with Robert Blake) - 2002, Square of Opposition
  • Live on WKDU 91.7 FM - 2001, Fistolo
  • Don't Spoil Yer Supper! - 2003, Fistolo
  • Boiling Breakfast Early (collection of early demos) - 2008, Dead Format
  • Fight Dirty (collaboration with Guignol) - 2009, The Cottage Records
  • Thanks, Bastards! (collection of unreleased demos, released exclusively on their Bandcamp page) - 2014, Fistolo
  • O, Pennsyltucky! (cassette single, song to be released on This is Not For Children) - 2014, Fistolo

Compilation appearancesEdit

  • Where the Wild Things Rock - Philly Punk Comp. (song: "Weapons")
  • This is War! - Comp. & Double Zine (song: "Liberty Unmasked (radio performance)")
  • Artists Fight the System - Pacifica Radio Double Disc (song: "Every Town Will Celebrate")
  • Art of the Underground Sampler CD - Art of the Underground (song: "Boycott Me!")
  • Beyond the Ballot (song: "The Lowly Carpenter (radio performance)")
  • Up the Stairs and Through the Hall - Sherman Arts Comp. (song: "Departure Arrival")
  • Rising Tide - Riotfolk (song: "Save a City...")
  • A Wrench in the Works: Radical Library Benefit CD - (song: "The Lowly Carpenter (radio performance)")
  • Never Forgotten, Never Forgiven - Profane Existence Records (song: "A Liquor Never Brewed")
  • 0 to 60 in 59 Bands - No!No Records (song: "Ode to a Safecracker")
  • Profane Existence No. 54 - Sampler and interview with Mischief Brew (song: "Tell Me A Story")
  • The State I'm In - Crafty Records (song: "A Peasant's Rebellion")
  • Mancubbers - Mancub Tribute compilation (song: "An Open Letter to the North American Continent")
  • Still Kicking - Kebele Benefit Comp. (song: "All About the Class War")
  • And You Call This Civilization? - Pumpkin Records (song: "The Riverflow")
  • A Benefit For Anthony Poynter - Get Better Records (song: "The Midnight Special 2002 (Country Mile Version)")
  • Too Punk To Folk - Dying Scene (song: "Catch Fire")
  • A Tribute To Rudimentary Peni - Pumpkin Records (song: "Drinking Song From The Tomb")
  • WKDU Live!!!! Volume One: Resurrect Music On Planet Earth - WKDU (song: "Liberty Unmasked (radio performance)")
  • The Songs Of Neutral Milk Hotel: A Tribute - Fringe Sound/Swamp Cabbage Records (song: "The Fool")
  • My Org Cassette Mixtape - Punknews (song: "Progress," Flux Of Pink Indians cover)
  • Punks Vs. Pigs - LATFO Records (song: "Working Class Pride," 2.5 Children Inc. cover)

Soundtrack/film appearancesEdit

  • Con Artist - 2009 (song: "Fight Dirty")
  • The Farmer And The Horse - 2010 (song: "Olde Tyme Mem'ry")
  • DeadPool 2 - 2018 (song: "Fight Dirty")

Bootlegs/unofficial releasesEdit

  • Live At Punx Picnic Baltimore (Acoustic set recorded in 2004, mix of originals and covers by The Pogues, Doom, Culture Shock, and Chumbawamba)
  • Live At Coyle Street Collective Apartment (Acoustic set recorded on April 24, 2005 in Portland, Maine)
  • Live At The Bike Barn (Live set recorded on August 2, 2005 in Falmouth, Maine)


  1. ^ a b "Folk the System". Mischief Brew. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  2. ^ Kristen A. Williams. “‘Old Time Mem'ry’: Contemporary Urban Craftivism and the Politics of Doing-It-Yourself in Postindustrial America.” Utopian Studies, vol. 22, no. 2, 2011, pp. 303–320. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.5325/utopianstudies.22.2.0303.
  3. ^ Avery-Natale, E. A. (2012). NARRATIVE IDENTIFICATIONS AMONG ANARCHO-PUNKS IN PHILADELPHIA(Doctoral dissertation, Temple University) [Abstract]. Retrieved April 28, 2019, from https://search.proquest.com/openview/94c7ba037490392bc3e9294ede7a9e47/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y (UMI No. 3509026.)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-03-17. Retrieved 2008-02-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Folk the System". Mischief Brew. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  6. ^ "ARTNOISE is punk rock webzine on DM » mischief brew (Erik petersen) /…".
  7. ^ "Mischief Brew and Franz Nicolay's Guignol release new collaboration". Punknews.org. 2009-10-16. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  8. ^ "Philly Local Philes: Upper Darby's Mischief Brew sings about "Dallas In Romania" - The Key". Thekey.xpn.org. 2010-10-18. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  9. ^ "Erik Petersen - Every Town Will Celebrate". YouTube. 2007-04-06. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  10. ^ "OCCUPY NORTH CAROLINA/WASHINGTON, DC/PHILADELPHIA: THE ONE PEOPLE'S PROJECT REPORT, PART 5". Onepeoplesproject.com. 2011-10-25. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  11. ^ "RIP Erik Petersen". Mischief Brew. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  12. ^ Gentile, John (17 July 2016). "Erik Petersen of Mischief Brew has passed away". Punknews.org. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  13. ^ Kelly, Kim (18 July 2016). "A Final Farewell to Erik Petersen, the Punk Poet of Philadelphia". Vice. Retrieved 5 September 2016.

External linksEdit