The Samples were a band formed in Boulder, Colorado in early 1987. The band's name came from the members' early sustenance of food samples from the local King Soopers grocery store. The music has been described as "reggae influenced rock/pop" and a cross between The Police and the Grateful Dead. The founding members were Sean Kelly (Guitar/Vocals), Charles Hambleton (Guitar), Andy Sheldon (Bass/Vocals), Jeep MacNichol (Drums/Vocals), and Al Laughlin (Keyboards/Vocals).
Sean Kelly and Charles Hambleton met in 1985 in Burlington, Vermont at an open mic called The Sheik, leading to the formation of the band "Secret City" in 1986. After playing together in Burlington for a year, the pair moved to Boulder, CO and met up with Andy Sheldon, a friend and member of a prior band with Kelly. Jeep MacNichol joined the band as drummer after responding to an ad posted at the University of Colorado. After playing around the area, Al Laughlin saw the group perform at a frat party and asked if the group needed a keyboardist, an offer the band accepted.