Friday, January 18, 2013

Chicago's The Jordan Years releases vibrant new album



One of the things that sets the Chicago music scene apart is the sheer diversity of it.

Chicago band The Jordan Years,, is adding to the vibrancy of the scene through its first full-length album, "Homemade Hustler," set for release on Feb. 1.

The band, comprised of Wes Restless on vocals, Michael Andersen on bass and Roger Panella on guitar, will perform the album in its entirety Feb. 1 at Subterranean, 2011 W. North Ave., Chicago.

The show will also feature The Congregation, DJ Intel and The Skinny, and will be hosted by Andrew Huff of Gapers Block. The show starts at 8:30 p.m., and presale tickets are available at, or at the door for $10. 

I had the chance to talk to the band about the new album.

Q - Great to talk to you. I understand you will be playing the new album live in its entirety on Feb. 1. Do you think "Homemade Hustler" is made to be played live? What made you want to do a concept album for your first full-length album?
Thanks for having us. The album is 10 songs in 30 or so minutes.  It's great to play it live. 

It moves along nicely and gets to the point. The audience is kept on their toes. 

It's a story of a guy who gets cast aside by the corporate world, takes matters into his own hands, falls in love, makes some money and ends up getting in some trouble, but realizes that he wouldn't have it any other way.  

Eric, you're intrigued...yes?  The concept is true to our own lives and tells the story of a lot of our friends.

Q - In sitting down to make "Homemade Hustler," what were the band's goals and do you think you achieved them?

We wanted to to step our game up as songwriters, musicians, collaborators, and project managers.  We're proud of the way we're presented here but there are always things that you wish you could fix.

Q - The album has a real '70s vibe to it. Who are some of your musical influences? Why do you think there is a renewed interest in soul music these days, including on the Chicago music scene with such bands as The Congregation and JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound?

Well we're all huge fans of Queensryche.  They originated in the late '70s  I maybe that's the connection.  

People are interested in live instruments nowadays because they like to watch musicians play their hearts out.  We love The Congregation and JC Brooks.  Gina Bloom is wow.

Q - Explain the band's name. Is it a homage to Michael Jordan and/or Chicago?

It's an homage to Chicago's winning spirit and it's ability to produce champions.

Q - "Homemade Hustler" was self-recorded and produced. Do you prefer making music on your own? Do you think today's technology gives musicians freedom they didn't have before? Would you ever sign to a label?

We're very fortunate to be able to produce and record our own music.  Technology definitely gives us an amazing level of freedom.  

We will never sign with a label no matter how many tacos they feed us.

Q - Is writing songs a collaborative effort for the band? Did the band's chemistry come together right away or was it something you worked at?

We write together and separately.  The final product is always a group effort though.  

We also work with a lot of talented musicians/friends who help our vision become real live audio cassettes for the children.

Q - How do you see The Jordan Years fitting into the Chicago music scene? How do you think the Chicago music scene compares to other parts of the county?

The Jordan Years are the band that makes you proud to be from Chicago.  No frills, no hype, just hard work and heart.

Q - What are the band's short-term and long-term goals?

Short Term = Have Fun

Long Term = Get Money