Sunday, December 18, 2016

Chicago band Trick Shooter Social Club releases new album, will perform at House of Blues

On its second full-length album, Chicago band Trick Shooter Social Club attempted to create a piece of work that felt alive and urgent.

The band does that and much more. Trick Shooter Social Club is bound to perform songs from "Generator" when it plays Dec. 29 at the House of Blues,  329 N Dearborn St., Chicago.

DNK, The Giving Moon and Owens Room also are on the bill. The show starts at 7:15 p.m. and tickets are $10, available at

I had the chance to talk to singer/guitarist Steve Simoncic about the new album.

Q - You guys recently released your second full-length album. In sitting down to make the album, what were your goals and do you think you accomplished them?

Our goal for this album was to try and create a piece of work that felt alive, urgent and vital. We wanted to give the songs the space to swell and flow and ebb in a very organic way - and let every member of the band invest him or herself into the moments.

We also wanted the album to have some nutritional value. To story tell.

"Generator" is essentially about resilience and redemption - of a moment, of a life, of a country. We tried to tell stories that felt like now - of folks finding their footing and figuring it out.

Generators are loud and messy. But they signify strength and hope - that was our central metaphor for the album.

In the moment after a disaster - it is the sound of a generator off in the distance that signifies the first step toward figuring shit out and moving forward to seek a little glitter in the rubble.

We hope we accomplished at least some of this is the making of the album. You never know - but we hope we at least got somewhere on this path with the album.

Q - Is there a story behind the album's name?

There is. It is two-fold. There is the practical/physical notion of a generator - that thing that starts the recovery - that loud, oily machine that fires up after the worst has passed.

We also liked the more metaphorical aspects of "Generator" as it relates to being an artist - the idea of making something out of nothing - conjuring and constructing something you believe in that didn't previously exist - and just the grit and sweat it takes to put it all into action and make it real.

Q - The band blends a number of genres, including rock, country, blues, soul and folk music. What kind of sound was the band striving for? Is the band's sound a result of your different influences?

It's funny, Larry and I didn't have a grand vision for our specific sound, but we did have very specific ideas about our rules of engagement. We wanted everything to be organic, real, authentic.

We also wanted to tell stories and always, always serve the song. That said, Larry and I share influences that cross punk, rock, country and blues - ranging from Kiss to Steve Earl to Social Distortion to Grand Master Flash (Larry used to be a DJ).

All of those influences contributed to our musical soup. 

Q - How did the band come together in the first place?

Larry and I had been in another band that broke up. We found ourselves getting together in a basement studio in Lakeview writing these really simple acoustic songs - just shaping the songs and stories over a few months.

At some point, the material started to take shape and we decided grow the project. We very consciously decide not to create a traditional band - four guys staring at their shoes.

Instead, we created a Social Club - and by that we mean a collection of music that ebbs and flows. We have a core/nucleus, but we always invite musicians to sit in a and collaborate and jam and play shows with us.

It is always fresh and evolving - all about community. 

Q - What do you think of the Chicago music scene and how do you see the band fitting into it?

The scene is strong. Chicago has so much talent and people tend to really be about the music - not just about the presentation.

We have been lucky to play with cool bands and cool people. If we had a wish it would to have be more event/festivals of like minded bands.

There is some of that happening - but a greater degree of curation of music nights would be awesome.

Q - It seems like Trick Shooter Social Club could fit comfortably in the Americana genre, a genre that has seen more interest in the last few years. Why do you think there has been so much interest in Americana music?

I think it is timeless. The progressions, instrumentation and central themes of Americana lie in roots music - early American music.

I think as a people we are sort of hard-wired to receive these sounds and stories. Musical styles and genres come in and out of fashion - but organic music that tells stories is something I think we all sort of relate to as a tribe.

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