A released their fourth album, "Teen Dance Ordinance" in 2005 and took a hiatus shortly after. However, as of 2008, the band have announced they are back in the studio to start work on a new album, set to be released next year. The band has played a few shows lately, supporting The Wildhearts on their December 2008 tour.
The band known as 'A' formed in Leeds, England in the early 90s. The band was founded by three brothers, Jason, Adam and Giles Perry, and two friends, Mark Chapman and Steve Swindon. The original members cited their influences as: Rush, The Beach Boys, Van Halen and the Beastie Boys.
After changing their name from 'Grand Designs' and abandoning their early progressive rock-inspired sound for a more punk rock style, they signed a European recording contract with British (Warner Bros. Records) in 1996 and released their debut LP How Ace Are Buildings in 1997. Also in 1997, the band briefly appeared in the music video for "Anthem" by The Wildhearts. The band found a healthy underground reception and even had a couple of low-charting singles in the UK. After the mild success brought to the band by How Ace Are Buildings, bassist Stevie Swindon decided to quit the band. He was replaced by bassist and current (as of 2008) BBC Radio 1 Rock Show DJ Daniel P Carter. A licensing agreement for the American music market was reached with the North Carolina-based Mammoth Records. Future releases would be distributed in the U.S. and Canada by Mammoth. A second album 'A' Vs. Monkey Kong followed in 1999. The band then toured the world and enjoyed a small degree of success worldwide, especially in Germany. They released a live album, Exit Stage Right in 2000.
Hi-Fi Serious was their third album, released in 2002. It was preceded by their biggest single to date, "Nothing", which saw the band reach the UK top ten for the first time, hitting number 9, and the further top 20 hit "Starbucks", named after the coffee chain. The release of the album was highly anticipated, and charted at #18. The tour following Hi-Fi Serious saw the band playing their largest venues to date, headlining the 5,000 capacity Brixton Academy as part of their 'Inner-City Sumo' Tour. At the end of the year they won the Kerrang! award for "Best British Band". In 2004, their single "Nothing" was added to Beyblade's Let It Rip! official soundtrack. In 2007, "Something's Going On" and "The Distance" were added to the Surf's Up video game soundtrack.
'A' released their fourth album, Teen Dance Ordinance (TDO), on June 27, 2005. The album had been recorded two years earlier, but was heavily delayed due to Jason Perry's illness and disputes with the record company. It featured a more straight-rock sound and displayed an almost complete absence of the keyboards and sampling that marked the early sound of the band. Unlike their last two albums, Teen Dance Ordinance was not released in the US. Hollywood Records agreed early on to release it in the US, but ultimately did not. The album charted at a disappointing #95 on the UK charts.
Since the release of Teen Dance Ordinance in 2005, the band had been working on other projects. Jason Perry spent time writing, recording, and touring with Matt Willis, formerly of Busted. He has also helped to write songs with the pop band McFly and is producing their new album. Adam replaced Bloodhound Gang drummer Willie the New Guy for their 2005-6 European tour, and subsequently became the full-time drummer. Daniel P Carter has been hosting BBC Radio 1's Rock Show since 25 September 2006. He continues writing material with Jason Perry, and artists such as McFly, as well as previously playing bass in Matt Willis' band for his first album. He is also playing guitar and lead vocals in new hardcore punk band, Hexes. Mark Chapman has joined a band called Malpractice, whose debut single "Breathe" was released on February 19, 2007.
When questioned at the Download Festival in 2007, Daniel Carter said the band would be reuniting for a "few shows" at the end of the year. In a 2008 interview, Jason Perry explained the hiatus and expressed how much he had enjoyed being in the band, reiterating the desire to record and tour again in the future.
In August 2008, Adam Perry revealed three tour dates supporting The Wildhearts on the band's forum, noting that: "This is going to be wicked and we are grateful to The Wildhearts for dragging us from our retirement! Plus there are now big plans afoot to start the new record for next year."
Bassist Daniel P Carter will not return to the band, however, and is to be replaced by John Mitchell, current frontman of It Bites and producer (Enter Shikari, Hexes). Carter posted on the forums:
'A' was some of the greatest times I have ever had playing music and I love those boys. I don't think I am 'too good' to be playing in 'A' and its not because I am too busy with my job at Radio 1. Its simply that when we drew a line in the sand and said we were done, I felt like we were. We played the one off show a while back and though it was fucking great whilst we were playing, as soon as it was finished I felt a bit confused as to what had just happened. So, to cease any speculation and so no one thinks there is any weirdness, I won't be playing the shows because I am trying to sort out my new band and focus on that for a little bit... If there are going to be more 'A' shows in the future, I may play them, I may not, depends if they still want me after John has shown his bass skills, but whatever happens I will be at the London show watching my brothers play some rocking tunes and I will sing along. The end.
John Mitchell played his first show with the band on the third of December 2008 at the Sheffield Carling Academy supporting The Wildhearts.
Jason recently announced on his twitter page that 'A' will be playing five shows in UK and five in Germany in December 2009.