By ERIC SCHELKOPF
Chicago band The Bishop's Daredevil Stunt Club continues to refine its sound, as evident on its new album, "Veva, Hold On!"
The band will celebrate the release of the album with a show on Sept. 13 at Metro, 3730 N. Clark St., Chicago. The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets are available by going to www.metrochicago.com.
I had the chance to talk to lead singer and guitarist Bill Giricz about the new album.
Q - Great talking to you. Of course, your latest album will be released on Sept. 9. In sitting down and making the album, what were your goals and do you think you accomplished them? How do you think the album compares to last year's self-titled effort?
I definitely put more effort toward vocal melody with interesting phrasing, whereas on the previous album the vocal was more style-based. While our brand of indie rock has a 'roughed up power pop' edge, I wanted something a bit more accessible this time - slightly less quirk and more hook.
There are still the supersaturated leads in songs like “Bob's Yer Uncle” and “Singlehandedly,” but presented with more control and melody, less grit and intimidation than the previous work.
I think our songs have graduated slightly from a standpoint of availability, no longer just the kid with the headphones rocking by himself up in his bedroom.
Q - In forming the band in 2009, what goals did you have? How do you think your music has evolved since then?
I suppose from the beginning, we've wanted to play better and better venues, while constantly improving musically, both individually and as a group. We were really just finding our style together at first.
Over time, the band has become as close as family in many respects, and our music has evolved similarly. Initially, there was this type of song or that type of song, depending on who wrote it.
Now there is a cohesiveness and we tend to write together at least to some extent. Also, the live performances have become tighter, more fun and physically dynamic.
Q - Back then, the band was known as The Bishop. Why did you decide to change the band's name and is there any significance behind the name? Do you think it gives the band an advantage to have a unique name?
I really disliked the name from the get-go. I'm really big into imagery, and there really is not too much you can do with the name The Bishop.
A chess piece? A place of prominence in Catholicism? So you see where it almost becomes exclusive in a sense.
Now, there were lots of band names bandied about, and it is surely a difficult thing to change a band name - you think of your Facebook and ReverbNation stats and whether, ultimately, your fan base will be OK with it.
In an effort to retain a portion of what some had become sentimentally attached to, we kept the name The Bishop and put the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band spin on it. And what's more rock 'n' roll than motorcycles, rockets, and good old fashioned death defiance!?
So there it was, The Bishop's Daredevil Stunt Club. Eventually, I would have a moment of affirmation: While in line at the Guitar Center store, checking my receipt at the door, donning my newish Daredevil Stunt Club T-shirt in shameless self-promotion, the clerk asked if I was in that club.
Well, heck yes I was in that club. And now I want everyone to be in the daredevil stunt club. You want in? I'm signing you up, bam, you're in the club, welcome!!
Q - You have two lead singers. How do you decide which songs are more suited for you or for Paulette? Do you write songs in a collaborative fashion?
It typically depends on who originated the song. The songs tend to come about in different ways.
I am constantly writing, so I typically end up with a lot of material per album. If I have an idea, I like to get our drummer, Luke, involved right away.
We have a great chemistry, seem to have similar likes and direction for songs. From there Dan, Darin and Paulette get involved.
I do like to mix our vocals, the male/female thing, as I think Paulette and I sound quite nice together harmonizing to each others' lead. Paulette writes some amazing songs as well.
Her voice has a timbre that is unusual and super easy to mix because it sounds so naturally nice. Additionally, Dan tends to write one or two tunes per album, and his are always lyrically intriguing.
In fact, the soon-to-be released EP, "Veva, Hold On!" is named after his song on the project. Darin typically adds his jingly/jangly, Big Star-type leads as the icing on the cake.
No matter who comes up with the tune, however, just about everything gets filtered through our exceptionally musical drummer.
Q - The band isn't signed to a record label. What have been the pros and cons of being an independent band? Would you ever want to be signed to a record label?
I have a huge revelation - music is a crazy biz! Of course, this is an understatement.
Doing it yourself presents challenges, but there is flexibility. We spend our stash on what we think is important, we are fortunate to have a studio at our fingertips, and we have no debt.
The downside is that there is more uphill effort to get certain higher profile venues and getting our tracks on air. We have considered some opportunities, but thus far have not had an offer we didn't think we were better off to refuse.
Would this change in the future? I guess it depends on the circumstances.
Q - What do you think of the Chicago music scene and how do you think the band fits into it?
I LOVE the Chicago music scene! I'm not just saying that. I really do!
Ever since my days at DePaul, I've been playing these venues for original music, and it is very seldom that a band on the bill has not been quite good. When I gig in this great city, I know it's going to be a great night!
I sincerely look forward to hearing the other talent throughout the night. And, hey, I'm with the band, so I get in free!