Mike Breen (ex-Daytona, Sinus Envy, Lavish) and Shannon Hallett (Sponge (UK), Arthur Ellis) started jamming at FacePlant Studios on the east side of Vancouver when they were both ' between bands' in 1997. Shannon was into learning how to play the drum kit, and Mike was OK with the process, riffing on electric bass and guitar alternately. Freeform grooviness resulted about once a week, and the occasional rather catchy tune developed. Guests such as James Dean IV and Sex in Sweden's Nick Venditti dropped in from time to time, and Shrimpmeat as a concept was born.
By '98, Mike was bringing in his mini four-track, and the first arrangements of So Uptight were recorded, along with a little torch number called Vampyre that Shannon had written a couple years before. Mike gravitated towards guitar exclusively, and bass player Sandra Taylor joined the duo for a few months from Mike's concurrent power pop band Lavish, to form a few more three-piece pop arrangements. Lavish, fronted by Mike's wife Gill, has released a full-length CD. They participate in festivals such as Canada Music Week in Toronto, and have appeared on VTV Breakfast. They share their practice space in a converted munitions warehouse basement downtown with a couple of other local bands, including Shrimpmeat when they aren't at FacePlant.
In August 1999, Mike and Shannon approached Regina Michaelis, bass player/songwriter for Vancouver hipster band the Pet Fairies and fellow 'FacePlanter', to join up. The happy new trio rapidly constructed a set of wildly varying and rather short songs and instrumentals. By late October, Shrimpmeat debuted, opening at the Columbia Hotel for glamrockers Free Coke for Supermodels.
CiTR-FM's Evan Symons saw the Columbia set, and invited the band to play live on his show 'Thunderbird Radio Hell' in December. Through 2000 and 2001, Shrimpmeat played several Vancouver shows, including two Facefests (FacePlant's annual bandfest), opening for Free Coke again at the Brickyard (September 23, 2000), and Canned Hamm at the Railway Club. The five song 'limited edition' CD-R '100% ep' was released in April 2001, at a show with Johnny Hatch and Filthy Rocket at Ms. T's Cabaret. Shrimpmeat was one of several local acts selected to participate in Shindig 2001, CiTR-FM's annual band competition.
"Two girls/one guy pop trio Shrimpmeat also made a strong showing that night. Sweet girl vocals with an overall tinge of eighties new-wavishness, the band, while not as blow-you-away-impressive as Restore, still made a good impression on the audience with their catchy, no-frills little numbers."
- from Discorder, October issue
The band's music has been compiled into the Canned Shrimp compilation, available on Bandcamp.