Sunday, December 16, 2018

2018 provides plenty of musical sparks in Chicago suburbs

2018 proved to be an exciting year for live music in the Chicago suburbs. Here are a few highlights from the year:

Singer Pete Jive and other musicians, including noted guitarist Pat Bergeson, perform Michael Heaton's song "The Good Times" Sept. 1, 2018, at Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora as part of a benefit concert for Heaton, who is battling cancer. 

Chicago blues musician Toronzo Cannon performs "John The Conquer Root" on June 16, 2018, at the Blues on the Fox festival at RiverEdge Park in Aurora. 

Fiona Grey joins her father, Ralph Covert, and his band The Bad Examples, on the song "Not Dead Yet" on Sept. 8, 2018, at the Glen Ellyn Backyard BBQ.

Joe Louis Walker and his band performed Aug. 9, 2018, at College of DuPage's McAninch Arts Center.

The band Chicago Samba performs on July 14, 2018, as part of Jazz Up Glen Ellyn in downtown Glen Ellyn.

The band HOSS performs the AC/DC song "Hells Bells" on Dec. 1, 2018, at Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora as part of its annual Holiday Show and Toy Drive to benefit Hesed House homeless shelter in Aurora.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Novo Management, Chicago musicians team up to help Albany Park Food Pantry as part of holiday benefit showcase


Novo Management & Publicity along with a group of Chicago musicians are teaming up to make the holidays brighter for those in need.

Novo Management & Publicity will hold its Holiday Showcase at 9 p.m. Dec. 22 at Montrose Saloon,  2933 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago. The showcase will feature Donnie Biggins from 9 to 9:30 p.m., Todd Kessler from 9:45 to 10:15 p.m., Jared Rabin from 10:30 to 11 p.m. and Mark Panick (plus backing musicians) from 11:15 p.m. to midnight.

There is a $5 cover charge and all proceeds will go to the Albany Park Food Pantry. I had the chance to talk to August Forte, of Novo Management & Publicity, about the show.

Q – I understand the Novo Management & Publicity Holiday Showcase will benefit the Albany Park Food Pantry, with the door proceeds from that night going to the food pantry. How much are you looking for the event to raise for the food pantry?

Montrose Saloon charges $5 for shows on Friday and Saturday nights and the venue holds about 100 people. With four artists performing from 9 p.m. to midnight, I hope that the room will be packed all evening and we can raise $500.

That said, any amount will help the APFP, especially at this time of year when so many folks find it difficult to put food on the table. 

Q – How did the lineup for the night come together? Do you think the bands complement each other? What should people expect?

I reached out to all four performers (Mark Panick, who will be joined by his Black Friars Social Club band members) along with Jared Rabin, Todd Kessler and Donnie Biggins directly as I have had the pleasure of handling press and marketing for all of them over the years. 

While all four musicians draw from different music wells (Panick’s writing is dark and poetic; Rabin has a classical and jazz background but plays an accessible strain of Americana; Kessler leans toward pop and folk and is a fantastic story teller; Biggins is a true wordsmith in the tradition of Dylan and Springsteen), they are all very talented singer-songwriters.

People should expect to hear great original music and, possibly, some holiday tunes.

Q – Does Novo Management & Publicity enjoy the times when music can not only entertain, but also raise money for a good cause? 

Definitely! I did some pro bono press and marketing for a benefit show at Metro several years ago and my business partner’s group just played a benefit (for the family of a former band mate who passed away) at Beat Kitchen. 

Q _ I see that Novo Management will hold another artist showcase in January. Do you see your showcases as a way to introduce people to bands they might not know? 

Yes, our showcase on January 19 at Montrose Saloon will expose three emerging Chicago bands – Faux Co., She Rides Tigers and The Thin Cherries – to a wider audience. All three bands have gotten some local airplay and attention from Chicago press, but getting gigs can be difficult as we live in a city with a very competitive music scene.

Montrose Saloon has been very welcoming to up-and-coming bands and that is one of the reasons that I promote shows there.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

The band HOSS creates plenty of holiday cheer while collecting toys for Hesed House in Aurora

Pete Lindenmeyer and his band HOSS performed at Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora on Dec. 1 as part of the band's annual Holiday Show and Toy Drive to benefit Hesed House homeless shelter in Aurora.

The band HOSS helped kick off the Christmas season with its annual Holiday Show and Toy Drive to benefit Hesed House homeless shelter in Aurora. 

HOSS, with help from the Pawnshop Horns, performed the AC/DC album "Back in Black" as part of the show.

HOSS also performed many seasonal favorites as part of the benefit show on Dec. 1.


Friday, November 30, 2018

"On Big Shoulders" celebrates Chicago's rich musical history


Old Town School of Folk Music teacher and fiddle player Matt Brown set out to educate himself about Chicago's rich musical history.

That mission turned into the album "On Big Shoulders." A CD release party for "On Big Shoulders" will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 2 at Old Town School of Folk Music's Gary and Laura Maurer Concert Hall, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago.

Tickets are $20 for the general public and $18 for Old Town School of Folk Music members, available online at

I had the chance to talk to Brown about the album.

Q – What was your inspiration to make the album? 

It had two facets that were originally unrelated. In my teaching at Old Town School of Folk Music, I do a certain amount of class preparation.

One week, I was looking for a song for my early country guitar class. I had success teaching a Delmore Brothers song. They were a duo from rural Alabama who played on the Grand Ole Opry in the 1930s.

One of my colleagues suggested another Delmore Brothers song called “I’m Mississippi Bound." I went to do a little research just so I could tell my class about it, and discovered that The Delmore Brothers had recorded several of their songs, including the two that we learned, “I’m Mississippi Bound" and “Brown’s Ferry Blues,” in Chicago in 1933.

That blew my mind. And it got me thinking about who else might have recorded here. And it turned out that Bill Monroe, when he first recorded with the seminal formation of the Blue Grass Boys that included Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt and Chubby Wise on fiddle, they also recorded here in Chicago in the Wrigley Building on Sept. 16, 1946. And that blew my mind.

And then I had an idea of putting together a lot of my favorite Chicago artists into an all-star band, not to tour, but to make a record that would fall into the genre that we now call Americana. And I put those two ideas together, that I could assemble a crew of some of my favorite singers and musicians and have them play songs that either were originally recorded in Chicago or also cover artists who are from Chicago.

On the album, we have a Wilco cover and we have a Sam Cooke song. He lived here for a formidable part of his life and career.

Q – I understand that Chicago musician Robbie Fulks contributed a new song to the album. Why did you want one of his songs represented on the album?

He's beloved here in town and around the country. I travel a lot as a musician and there are a couple of people who always come up when I say I'm from Chicago. People always bring up Robbie Fulks.

I asked him to write us a song and he did. He delivered this absolute gem that I love. It's right in the middle of the record. It's called "How Lonely Can You Be?"

He knew that Steve Dawson was going to sing it on the album. And he and Steve go way back. I feel like that is one of the highlights of the record.

Q – Did the record turn out the way you envisioned? What kind of feedback have you been getting so far about the record?

It definitely turned out the way I envisioned.  I have to say, I wasn't really certain what the record would sound like, I just knew that I would like it.

My co-producer, Liam Davis, also sings on the album and plays keyboards on a couple of songs. But he did all the editing and mixing and he injected some incredible arrangement ideas and sonic ideas that weren't part of my original conception.

Liam created this great arc in how he mixed and edited the album and also how he sequenced the tracks that wasn't anything that he and I discussed. So I'm thrilled with how it turned out and I keep listening to the album and keep discovering and appreciating it.

The feedback I've been getting has been very warm and a lot of people are surprised by the album, surprised by the diversity of the songs and the genres represented and I think that's a good thing. 

And hopefully they're learning that all these great musicians that maybe they didn't associate with Chicago either spent time here as residents or came here to make their records.

If they like the sound of the record and if they've learned a couple of things by hearing the record, then our mission is thoroughly accomplished.

Q – Is part of your mission to educate people about Chicago's musical history?

Totally. And honestly, this started out just educating myself about Chicago's musical history. I'm from Pennsylvania. I've lived in Chicago for seven years and I'm still just barely scratching the surface of my own awareness of all the great art that's been made here when it comes to music as well as all other art forms.

The process of researching this music was initially one to educate myself so I could educate my students at the Old Town School. And then it became this larger mission to make good music that anyone could enjoy but also educate an audience just a little bit so that they could be reminded that Chicago isn't only a hub for the electric blues.

And we didn't get into other genres that are so important to Chicago's history, like house music and hip hop and gospel. But I feel like we still did a good job with the musicians involved of showing the breadth of musical experiences that goes beyond the electric blues that fits within our wheelhouse.

Q – Do you think this album could kind of kick off a music series celebrating Chicago's music?

I would love that. I actually have another 30 or so songs or at least artists that I want to pay tribute to should this one album turn into the first of several or the first of many.

I'm not done educating myself about Chicago's history and what I've discovered is that there are so many great musicians living and working as musicians here in town. I'd love to get them back together and get new collaborators involved to continue to celebrate Chicago's history but also our contemporary songwriters.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Chicago band The Differents to release new album, will perform Nov. 21 at Schubas Tavern

The title of Chicago band The Differents' new album, "It's All Too Beautiful," is a nod to a band considered one of the most influential mod groups of the 1960s – Small Faces.

The Differents, which has carved out its place in the Chicago music scene, will celebrate the release of "It's All Too Beatiful" with a show Nov. 21 at Schubas Tavern, 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago.

The Safes, Baby Money and the Down Payments and The Marcatos also are on the bill. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $12, available at Schubas' website at

I had the chance to talk to guitarist and vocalist Lou Hallwas about the new album, which will be released Nov. 23.

Q – Great talking to you again. Congratulations on the release of your new album, "It's All Too Beautiful." Is the album's title a reference to the song "Itchycoo Park" by Small Faces? How has that band influenced your music?

Of course! Ha ha! To me, the Small Faces were the perfect band. They just had everything!

They weren’t contrived. Their output is just incredible! Just under four years together! Insane!

Their inspiration for us is the concise songwriting. An R&B foundation – Black American Music!

No matter whom I’m influenced by, it’s going to come out like me no matter what I do, so I don’t dwell on “Am I copying so-and-so?” I just let things come and shape them as I do.

Our drummer, Dan Garrity, came up with the title and already had the album cover in mind before we even started recording! I don’t think he was aware that the lyrical content in a lot of the songs would be perfect for his vision.

I love how things like that work out. It’s going to provide returns when you don’t overthink or over-control!

Q – In sitting down to make "It's All Too Beautiful," what were your goals and do you think you accomplished them?

The goal was to record a great album. We had a few new songs and picked tunes that were in the arsenal that weren’t recorded yet and a few songs we had recorded before, but we wanted to give those a new look.

To me, ten songs is the perfect length for an album, and I think this record is just about half an hour long. We’re really gelling as a band these days!

We’ve been writing tunes together and we just need to focus and finish them. I’m more excited about getting back to recording the new stuff!

Q – The Differents have been around since the early '90s. What's the chemistry like between the members?

Dan and I have been playing together since 1994. It just works. For as different as we are as people, we have similarities and hearts that bind us together.

When we play music, it’s just total feel and instinct and we just happen to lock in together without much effort. We’ve played together long enough to trust it.

Gary Stier came in to our sphere back in 2002, I want to say. We even joined his band for a time. A few years back, Dan and I were in our usual place of needing a bass player, and he volunteered. It was a no-brainer to me.

We’re like family. We don’t take each other’s friendship for granted, even though there’s not much said about it. We have each other’s best interests at heart.

Gary got us to the next place we needed to go, and he’s a songwriter and singer himself and I look forward to him getting more of his songs in there, as well as writing tunes together.

Q – The album was recorded by Adam Yoffe, the drummer in one of your other bands, Penthouse Sweets. He also is the director of broadcast and studio operations for WBEZ, correct? What do you think he brought to the project?

I love Adam like the day is long. I would hope WBEZ loves him too!

We have an instinctual musical relationship from playing in the Penthouse Sweets together. We’re like a comedy duo sometimes. Ha ha!

I love his drumming, and he’s a great bass player too! You would think that the rhythm section would be his main focus, but he’s more well-rounded than that!

He’s such a great arranger of ideas! He really helped me trim the fat! Recording the last Penthouse Sweets record was such a joy and a really great overall experience.

It was easy to decide on Adam as the producer and engineer for our album. He’s basically the fourth member of the band on this record.

He’s playing percussion and he and I even played piano together on “Read The Rights” – he covered the bass end of things and I was in the higher registers.

Q – Speaking of Penthouse Sweets, do you think both bands complement each other? It seems like strong melodies are an important part of both bands.

I think both bands have the same focus. It’s all about the song!

It’s the song you’re serving. That’s the most important thing! Having fun with stretching out and extending things in a psychedelic manner became the playground for the Penthouse Sweets. It was a natural evolution we went with.

Andy Hansen’s songs allowed us to add or subtract things that boosted the feel of the songs he was bringing in. With The Differents, we’re still growing together. We’re all about economy – hitting and running.

Hopefully leaving people wanting to hear more. Though I’m the main songwriter in The Differents, that’s evolving too! Gary and I have been writing together, and he’s started to bring in his own tunes.

Q – Of course you are also part of a honky tonk/rockabilly band, Decoy Prayer Meeting. Does each band satisfy a different part of you?

I love to play. That’s really the bottom line. My role differs in all the bands I’ve played in.

Decoy Prayer Meeting was and is a real educational thing for me. I’m no piano player, but I can contribute to the songs we do.

I’m not flashy by any means, but I can provide solid rhythmic support as well as melodic support in the higher registers. It’s a gas to learn all of these songs by Web Pierce, Hank Cochran, Jimmy Webb, Faron Young and the like; excellent songwriting, and that’s what I’m all about trying to do and be.

A Fab Songwriter man!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Sonically adventurous Chicago band The Thin Cherries releases new album, will perform at the Debonair Social Club


There is no question that The Thin Cherries is one of the most sonically adventurous bands in the Chicago area.

The band's newly released sophomore album – "The Thin Cherries on Moose Island" – is further proof of that. To celebrate the release of the album, The Thin Cherries – headed by Chicago music veterans Steven Delisi and Mark Lofgren – will perform on Nov. 2 at the Debonair Social Club, 1575 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago.

The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $10. I had the chance to talk to Lofrgren – who is also a member of psychedelic band The Luck of Eden – about the new album.

Q – Great talking to you. Congratulations on the release of your sophomore album. In sitting down to make "The Thin Cherries on Moose Island," what were your goals and do you think you accomplished them? 

We really wanted this album to be a collaborative endeavor. For the debut album, Steven Delisi and I began by writing all the tracks on acoustic and/or electric guitars and gradually fleshed out the demos with drums, keys and additional instruments. Gabe (drums) and Birdie (keys) essentially joined the band at the tail end of the first albums release. 

Gabe played on a few tracks, but most of that first album was Steven, Darren Shepherd and myself playing all the instruments.

For "The Thin Cherries on Moose Island," we set out to work out the tracks as a live band before we went into the studio. Most of the basic tracks are live takes with all of us playing together at Kingsize Sound Labs, augmented by some vocal overdubs and additional instrumentation.

Thanks to super producer Mike Hagler, I think the whole album has a more organic, unpredictable feel and really represents how we’ve gelled as a band. Really, the only exception was the first single, “I Don’t Know You All,” which Gabe and I came up with in his basement studio.

We still tracked live drums and guitars to it, but that song was structured on the fly in one drunken night.

 Q – It seems like there should be a story behind the album's name. Is there? 

Steven came up with the album title track and this idea of a mythical island somewhere where we all lived together and played music; a weird David Lynch-like town with quirky locals and unusual wildlife, and one diner where all the townsfolk congregated in to discuss their daily lives.

My friend, Jim Laugelli, a great artist, did the cover painting of "On Moose Island."

Q – I understand that the two of you have known each other for more than 20 years. Would you say you have a musical kinship? What was the idea behind forming The Thin Cherries?

Steven was actually a student of mine when I taught digital video at a design college way back when. He was a bit of a late bloomer and we were roughly the same age and hit it off.

When I directed an indie feature years ago, I used one of his bands' songs in the movie. I really liked Steven’s musical sensibilities and voice, which reminded me of David Byrne.

When I was taking a break from my main band at the time, The Luck of Eden Hall, and recording a solo album, Steven heard some of my tracks and suggested working on songs together. Around the time when Steven and I were working on demo tracks, multi-instrumentalist and all around impressive guy Darren Shepherd offered to play drums and additional guitars.

And the rest is, as they say…not so ancient history.

Q – How have the influences in your other projects found their way into The Thin Cherries? Did you not want The Thin Cherries to sound like your other bands?

The Luck of Eden Hall is firmly rooted in psychedelia and has a nice following in Europe and a cult following here in the states, but I wanted this band to be more fluid and genre-shifting. There are psychedelic elements in some songs, but there’s also some straightforward pop and electronica, as well as some alt-country touches.

Having multiple songwriters and instrumentalists helps keep things fresh, too.

Q – Is The Thin Cherries your primary musical focus these days? Will you also be working on other projects as well? 

I’m still an active member of The Luck of Eden Hall, and Greg Curvey and I will be working on new songs this winter, but The Thin Cherries is my primary focus. Drummer Gabe Palomo is a well known electronica DJ and Darren also plays in the longstanding Chicago band Belmondos.

Keyboardist Birdie Soti is classically trained and puts up with the rest of our rock and roll musical failings with humor and grace.

Q – What do you think of the Chicago music scene and how do you think you fit into it? 

I love the variety of music you can hear in Chicago on any given night, from blues to folk to hardcore punk. There are too many great Chicago artists and bands to mention and the scene is always inspiring.

I really have no idea how we fit in; we’re just trying to have fun and play music we love.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Innovative jazz-rock band Soft Machine to perform at Reggies in Chicago as part of Progtober festival

Soft Machine is touring the United States for the first time since 1974, which includes an appearance on Oct. 21 at Reggies, 2105 S. State St., Chicago, as part of the Progtober IV festival.


With the release of its new album, "Hidden Details," UK jazz-rock band Soft Machine remains as innovative as when it first burst on to the scene in 1966.

In support of the new album, the band is touring the United States for the first time since 1974, which includes an appearance on Oct. 21 at Reggies, 2105 S. State St., Chicago, as part of the Progtober IV festival. The show will feature special guest drummer Gary Husband.

Tickets are $40, available at

I had the chance to talk to longtime Soft Machine guitarist John Etheridge  about the tour.  

Q – Great talking to you. Of course, the band has a new album out, "Hidden Details." In sitting down to make the album, what were your goals and do you think you have accomplished them?

We went in to make this album at quite short notice, so Theo and I wrote quite quickly. We also feature a high percentage of improvisation on our albums – so that's an 'in the moment' experience – so no preparation as a band, just bringing one's life experiences to the table.

The whole thing was recorded in a couple of days more or less live in the studio, which is how we like to work. Also the late Jon Hiseman's inspiring input helped us to work quickly and effectively.

We're very happy with the outcome. A good balance of new tunes, old tunes and improvisation.

Q – There seems like there should be a story behind the album's name. Is there? 

It does sound like there should be! We like to be enigmatic in our titles – so perhaps we are referring to the hidden details of the history of Soft Machine or perhaps we are referring to the hidden details in the music...Unclear enough for you ?

Q – How has the tour been going and how have people been reacting to the new songs? 

The tour has been really fabulous. Soft Machine have not been in the U.S. since 1974. 

Marshall and Babbington are veterans of that tour (I missed it by one year!)  We have been so amazed at the dedication, knowledge and tenacity of our fans over here.

We've just done five great shows in New York City ( The Iridium), and the audience seemed to know all the songs and all about the band. The new songs and album have been gleefully received.

It's such a good feeling when the audience recognizes all the old tunes and is hungry for the new ones. Brilliant!

Q – The band has been praised over the years for its innovation and creativity. When you first joined Soft Machine in the 1970s, did you think the band was on the cutting edge and creating something fresh and different? Were you a fan of Soft Machine before you joined the band?

I was so flattered to be asked to join in 1975. Basically Allan Holdsworth gave them my number, which I'm very grateful for as they had not heard of me in their world (although I'd had some great attention in the Prog world).

I really felt I was joining the premier band of the time in Europe in this area of music. I had seen the band a couple of months before and suddenly I was a member. Mind blowing!

I also felt I was the right man for the job, even though it was quite a challenge touring the repertoire that Allan had recorded. I was a fan of this particular incarnation and did not know an awful lot about the earlier incarnations.

I do now and really appreciate them.

Q – What is it like being in the band these days as opposed to in the 1970s?

The band has a much improved atmosphere socially. I really think this group is fulfilling all the potential that was latent in the first incarnations but was thwarted by personal problems, bad management and strife.

I personally am extremely happy with the way this has happened as there were so many lost opportunities in the '70s. It's almost a healing process!

Q – You also have been praised for your innovation. Pat Metheny has called you "one of the best guitarists." What is your approach to guitar playing? 

That's a big question! My playing over the years has covered a big range of influences and areas.

This was not necessarily the intention. My primary mode was and has been the way I play in Soft Machine.

But out of the blue, I got a call to tour with Stephane Grappelli and as I'd always loved Django, I couldn't resist.

I knew the repertoire and brought my own voice to it (Grappelli didn't want imitations!). Since then I have worked for a long time with John Williams in duo – which also requires a different approach, but at the same time it's still me!

I'm not a session musician!

Q – I understand that one of your first influences was Eric Clapton, and that you were impressed with how he made the guitar sing. Who impresses you these days?

My first hero was Django Reinhardt, who was hardly heard in 1963. I lucked into hearing an album and was blown away.

On all levels, that's the business! First of all as a kid, I loved the speed, then later the tone, then later the harmonic adventurousness and melodic creativity. It's all there.

I heard Eric in 1965 and was astonished by the sound and expressiveness. It's very important to remember that he started the whole overdrive blues/rock thing.

Talk about launching a thousand imitations! More like 10 million! of the guitarists at the time, the only ones who are NOT influenced were Steve Howe, Robert Fripp and Albert Lee.

Everybody else is a variation of Clapton '65. And it still brings them in .. look at Joe Bonamassa. 

How ironic that Clapton himself abandoned his own unique style in about 1970. Life is strange!

These days I'm impressed by so many. The level of proficiency is ridiculously high.

I wouldn't like to be a young player starting out. We had just a few influences and no teachers. So we're all self taught (my generation), and all have our own idiosyncratic techniques, etc.

It's an advantage in some way – but of course we lack academic training. That's the way we are!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Chicago band The Streets on Fire back in furious fashion with new album, the band's first since 2010


Even though the members of Chicago band The Streets on Fire are currently spread out between Chicago, Los Angeles and Nashville, they recently came together to record a new album, "Dead Styles," the band's first album since 2010. 

I had the chance to talk to guitarist and keyboard player Yuri Alexander about the new album.

Q – Great talking to you. Of course, you have a new album, "Dead Styles," that was recently released. It is your first album since your 2010 album, "This is Fancy." Why the big gap between albums? 

We’ve been working on this project on and off since the last album and never really felt a rush to get it done. We spent a lot of time growing as individual musicians and as a group, exploring different ideas and sounds.

Some of the songs go back to 2012/2013 while others were recorded a couple of months ago. It’s a good yearbook for the band, I guess.

Q – What kind of album did you want to make and are you happy with how it turned out? What is the meaning behind the album's title?

The last album, "This Is Fancy," was recorded on a 1981 MCI 8-track tape machine we picked up in Nashville. And the sound of that album had a kind of a psychedelic garage, space rock vibe.

I guess that was the phase the band was in at the time, or at least me personally. When approaching this album, we spent a lot of time experimenting with new tones and instruments.

Drummer Gabe Palomo used the Maschine, which helps make beats that he laid acoustic drums on top of. I learned how to play the harmonium and played the Wurlitzer 200 through effects pedals.

And Chadwick Anderson, in my opinion, really grew as a vocalist and lyricist on this album. We were able to give him some time to write some words down rather than just laying down the blueprint for a song and throwing him in the booth.

We didn’t really have a specific sound or genre in mind when writing the album but I will I say, when I listen to it as a whole now, it is definitely a very aggressive/fast paced release. And I wouldn’t say that was intentional, but when we get together in a studio, we tend to be genuinely excited so the songs usually have a boundless energy.

Q – What is the story behind the band's name?

"The Streets on Fire" is something Chadwick and [bassist] Sebastian Brzek came up with when we were at a 4th of July party and the street ended up catching fire. It was a flippant remark which ended up being the band's name. Mostly because we needed one.

"Dead Styles" was a name that I've had bouncing around in my mind for a while. And with some of the songs being so old, to us, anyways, they seemed like they were once dead and brought back to life.

Q – Your music has been described in different ways. How would you describe it?

While the 'post-punk dance rock' label is certainly appropriate, the undertones of psych-pop, garage, kraut-rock and techno allow The Streets On Fire to take you on a journey from “past' to “now," all while forcing the listener out of the comfort of a bar stool and into a feverish whirling dervish dance fury.

Q – Who are your biggest musical influences and what kind of impact did they have on your music?

I was listening to a lot of XTC, Talking Heads, Brian Eno, Pink Floyd and Bowie as far as older music, but I also love a lot of new albums that sit with me creatively like "Slave Ambient" by The War on Drugs, "Innerspeaker" by Tame Impala and albums by Django Django and Hookworms. 

But with influences, sometimes it doesn’t really even show through to your music because of your own creativity and filters.

Q – Will you be touring on the new album?

I wouldn’t say we would be touring to support this new album because the band members are spread out between Chicago, L.A., and Nashville at the moment, but we will play a Chicago show before the end of the year; kind of a proper “release party,” I guess. 

And we would entertain the right opportunity to do a show if it came along, as well. I would love to play in Eastern Europe someday. 

Q – What do you think of the Chicago music scene and how do you fit into it?

I wouldn’t really know right now, to be honest. It’s been so long since our last show, which I think was at The Metro or Double Door.

I do have a lot of really good friends who are always playing and touring, but I would be remiss if I tried to describe the scene as it is right now.

Chicago is such a melting pot of styles from just one neighborhood to the next which I think is great. And it’s fluid, always changing. Which is healthy.