Onetime Atlanta Drummer Chad Boswell Has Died

We are saddened to report that Chad Boswell, drummer for a handful of plucky Atlanta bands of the early ’90s, passed away on August 10 at age 52. He’d been struggling with an assortment of health issues, and had recently been diagnosed with cancer. He leaves behind a son, Coleman (19); daughter Connor (15); a brother and sister; other family members and numerous friends.

Boswell’s best-known band was The Mirthmakers, a staple of local clubs from 1989 through 1992. A super-fun bunch with a lively sound that crunched together a combined love of punk rock, power pop, British Invasion pioneers and scrappy/sincere Replacements-style fuck-all, The Mirthmakers’ also exhibited an appealing sense of humor that made it near impossible to dislike them. After all, they took their name from the house band from Martin Mull’s absurd late ’70s late night talk show parody program Fernwood Tonight, reruns of which were by that point airing on Nick at Nite.

The Mirthmakers (a lineup of which is pictured here, with Boswell on the far left) coalesced when Mark Giaimo – songwriter, vocalist and guitarist (not to mention artist – his drawings and cartoons made the band’s flyers a delight) – moved from New York City to Atlanta to lead a band at the encouragement of his trusty friend, guitarist Steve Tockerman. Quickly bonding with Boswell and bass guitarist Shannon Mulvaney (who had been playing together in a group called Magnetic Underdogs), the Mirthmakers were birthed in late 1989. The lineup then shifted. Mulvaney left to join Homemade Sister (who soon changed their name to Magnapop) with a succession of bassists (including John Kontos and Filo Smith) filling that slot. Ed Burdell – who had played with Boswell and Mulvaney in Magnetic Underdogs – took over on lead guitar following Tockerman’s departure. Burdell also owned and operated Furies Studio, a popular recording facility/party pad where The Mirthmakers and many of the interrelated local bands of that era would track their songs.

After The Mirthmakers dissolved in late ‘92, Boswell and Giaimo regrouped with Tockerman in the band Sour, who kept the flag flying for a year or two, and he also played in Steamshovel with Tim Vaccaro and Curt Wells. After that, I’m not sure what Boswell did in the way of bands, although he participated in a Mirthmakers reunion show at the Star Bar in 2004.

Burdell has set up a memorial Facebook page, and he tells me that an informal beachside service is being arranged in Destin, Florida (where Boswell had been living) for August 25, time and place to be announced.