Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Chicago band The Queue to open for Cracker, Marcy Playground as part of The Alt Rock Rager in Aurora


Photo courtesy of The Queue


By ERIC SCHELKOPF

For those interested in songs that contain gorgeous melodies and thought provoking lyrics, it is time to queue up the music of Chicago band The Queue.

The Queue will open for Cracker, Marcy Playground and Ike Reilly on June 4 as part of The Alt Rock Rager at The Piazza, 85 Executive Drive in Aurora near the Fox Valley Mall.

Also on the bill are fellow Chicago bands Prizefighter, The Giving Moon and EGxBH and Villa Park band Unlikely Souls. Rock ’n roll burlesque and entertainment troupe The Vaudettes also is on the bill.

The show starts at 3 p.m. and tickets are available at afterlifechi.com.

I had the pleasure of interviewing The Queue frontman and lead singer Sean Mulligan about the show.
 

Q – Great talking to you. As far as naming the band The Queue, how did you come up with the name?

I’m a huge Oasis fan and they have a song called “Part Of The Queue.” I just thought it was kind of a cool name.

Q – You guys just played at the International Pop Overthrow festival in Chicago. That’s not the first time you played at the festival, right?

I’ve been doing it with The Queue or as a solo act for 10 years, at least.

Q – Why do you like performing at it?

I love just being in that energetic kind of environment and seeing the other performers and being able to enjoy all the music.

There are a lot of like minded musicians at the festival. I’ve done some crazy shows with bands I shouldn’t have been a part of.

At one show at the Double Door, a guy took off all of his clothes except for his underwear and jumped on the bar. I thought this guy was nuts, but people were digging it.

It just wasn't my scene, man.

Q – It seems like you guys have been busy this year. In January, you released an EP, “Get Out Of Now.” The EP is described as ”Part love letter, part retrospective, and hopeful perspective on change, recovery and the human condition.” Did you write this in reaction to the pandemic?

No, it was actually due to a breakup. It led me down a dark tunnel.

I went out to Texas and then I came back and worked on the EP. I wrote for I think a month or two and then I brought the band into the studio.

I hope I wrote it in a way where it could be interpreted for any situation. I was trying to keep some level of positivity to it.

Because we all go through dark things, you know.

Q – The first track on the EP is “Own The Enemy.” What is the meaning of the song?

The feeling for me was, whatever darkness you have, just own it. Make it positive. Transition it to something else.

Q – In March, you released a cover of the Oasis song “Don’t Look Back In Anger.” Is Oasis a big influence for you and the band?

Yeah, I would say so. Definitely Noel Gallagher is one of my favorite songwriters.

Obviously The Beatles is another huge influence. The reason I picked up the guitar in the first place was because of The Beatles.

The turning point was watching “The Beatles Anthology” television series in 1995. My mom made me watch it and I told her, “Why would I want to watch these geezers?”

When I watched them play “Twist and Shout,” something snapped in me. I told my mom, “I want that guitar and I want to learn how to sing that song.”

So I’m glad she made me watch it.

Q – What was going through your head when you were watching The Beatles?

I think it was John Lennon’s voice, just being so raspy and so empowered on that song. And I thought their guitars looked cool.

I collected all their records and I just sat and listened to their music and it was just mind blowing for me.

Q – Are you excited about the upcoming show? Are you fans of any of these bands?

Yeah, absolutely. Everyone knows Marcy Playground’s song “Sex and Candy.”

We’re inspired by ‘90s bands like Cracker and Marcy Playground.

Q – What would you like people to get out of your music?

I want them to enjoy it, for one. I want people to really listen to the lyrics and I want them to have their own perspective on it.

Hopefully it means something to someone. I’m trying to always convey a message.



Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Glenbard West grad provides fresh take on vampire genre in new novel

 

By ERIC SCHELKOPF

 

In “Vampyre: The Past Never Dies,” Warrenville resident David Nordmeyer aims to provide a fresh take on the vampire genre.

I had the chance to talk to Nordmeyer, a 1982 Glenbard West High School grad (and my classmate), about the novel, which is his first published book. “Vampyre: The Past Never Dies” is available at amazon.com.

Reach out to him through his Facebook page, facebook.com/Authordreamer.

Q – I know that you have written stories in the past, but this is your first published story. What made you want to publish this story?

It’s something that I always wanted to do. I’ve always liked the horror genre. I wanted this particular story to be published because it was something new and original and I felt I could put a fresh spin on the vampire genre.

As I wrote the book, I kind of pictured in my head a movie. If I was making a movie, what would I want to see? How would I want it to unfold?

Q – What is the story about?

Well, it’s basically a story of this Chicago homicide detective. She’s kind of cynical and world-weary.

She’s forced to confront something that she didn’t think was real and that she didn’t think was possible.

It changes her whole perspective of the world.

Q – So is the book about people having to confront something that they never confronted before and then realize they can actually handle it? Is that one of the themes in the book?

It’s partly that. It’s about people encountering something new and different.

There’s also themes in there about family. The character has some family issues and that provides motivation for her, without giving too much of the story away.

Q – As far as your influences, who or what are some of your influences? Are you influenced by any authors in particular?

A little bit. Stephen King is definitely somebody I admire.

I always like how he brings horror and these terrifying things into the real world. It makes them scarier because he sets them in a real location.

I think that’s something worthy of emulating. He brings terror into everyday situations.

Q – Of course, many of his novels were made into movies. Could you imagine your novel being made into a movie?

Yeah, it’s just a fantasy, but again, I just kind of wrote it and paced it like it was a movie. When I’m writing, I kind of think of it as a movie.

I like it because I’m in control of everything. A writer can pretty much visualize anything.

I tried to picture it like if I was producing a movie with an unlimited budget.

Q – How long have you written stories?

Probably for most of my life. This is the first time that I’ve had the chance to publish one of my stories.

Self-publishing gives people a chance to get their stuff out there. Another nice thing is that the author has control of the process from beginning to end.

Q – Can you remember the first story you wrote?

I think it was a science fiction adventure story about a character who is traveling through different solar systems.

Q – Why do you like writing?

It’s therapeutic. It’s a good way for me to work some stuff out sometimes.

And I enjoy sharing my stories with people. I get a lot of satisfaction from that and people seem to enjoy reading them.

It’s a good way to share my thoughts and my vision of the world.
 

 

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Singer-songwriter Cary Morin captivates in show at The Venue in Aurora

 

Cary Morin and his wife, Celeste Di lorio, perform May 1 at The Venue in Aurora

 

By ERIC SCHELKOPF

The Venue in Aurora kicked off its musical offerings in May on a high note when Cary Morin – described as one of the best acoustic pickers on the scene today – stopped by on May 1 for a night of musical delights.

This was Morin’s first visit to The Venue and hopefully it won’t be his last. His captivating storytelling kept the audience engaged all night.

 
A Crow tribal member with Assiniboine Sioux and Black heritage, he talks about his heritage in his music, such as on the song “Valley of the Chiefs.”

Joining him on stage was his wife Celeste Di lorio, who also is immensely talented. The two harmonize perfectly together, which was just another high point to the evening.



Watch more videos from the show at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG7FHY4ZmxlH0yISyYktKkg





Thursday, April 21, 2022

International Pop Overthrow festival to open Friday at Montrose Saloon in Chicago

 

 
By ERIC SCHELKOPF
  
Chicago band Material Issue released songs with highly infectious melodies that would sink deep into your brain.
 
Those who attend the International Pop Overthrow festival – the festival's name being a reference to Material Issue's debut album, "International Pop Overthrow" – will no doubt find much to smile about. More than 60 acts from both near and far will perform as part of the festival, which will be held from April 22-30 at Montrose Saloon, 2933 W. Montrose Ave. in Chicago. A schedule for the festival is at internationalpopoverthrow.com/schedules/ipo-2022-schedules/chicago-2022

I had the chance to talk to International Pop Overthrow founder and CEO David Bash about the upcoming festival.

Q – The name "International Pop Overthrow" is a reference to Chicago band Material Issue’s debut album, International Pop Overthrow. That band helped introduce many people to power pop. Did you pick the name in tribute to Jim Ellison and to recognize the band's impact?

I absolutely did. Tragically, Jim Ellison had taken his own life not long before I decided to do the festival, and I wanted to pay tribute to Material Issue and their debut album, which was certainly a paragon in power pop circles. It was gratifying that the surviving members of the band, Ted Ansani and Mike Zelenko, embraced the name and when we came to Chicago for the first time, in 2002, their current band played the festival. I felt honored.

Q – Of course, Material Re-Issue played at the festival in 2011 and Phil Angotti is performing at this year’s festival. Is it important the keep the band’s memory alive and perhaps introduce the band’s music to new fans?

Without a doubt it is. Having Material Re-Issue at the festival in 2011 for the 20th Anniversary of International Pop Overthrow was perhaps my biggest thrill at any IPO we’ve done, anywhere.
 
Jim’s family was in attendance, and I was so nervous introducing the band from the stage, but somehow the right words came to mind. I remember looking up and saying "Jim Ellison, this one’s for you," and the crowd went wild!
 
Material Re-Issue’s performance was magical, and it was as if Jim’s spirit had been imbued in Phil Angotti that night, as he sang and played Jim’s parts almost exactly as Jim likely would have.

Material Issue’s music, like that of all the other great power pop bands, must be kept alive and hopefully more and more fans of the genre will hear about them.  If I’ve done even a small bit in helping that to happen, I’m grateful.
 
Q – What made you want to start the International Pop Overthrow Music Festival in the first place? Has the festival lived up to your vision?

I began the festival in 1998 in my home base of Los Angeles. I had been writing reviews for several pop music fanzines, and in doing so got to know all kinds of great bands from all around the world, many of whom expressed their desire to play in Los Angeles.
 
I thought, "Why don’t I create an environment for them to be able to all play under one roof, and galvanize the pop scene?" At that time, International Pop Overthrow had a second meaning, which was to "overthrow" that which was being played on mainstream radio at the time, which was music like Korn and Limp Bizkit, totally un-melodic.
 
I wanted to bring melody and hooks back to mainstream radio, and hoped to do this with the festival. Unfortunately it hasn’t happened, but my vision of giving pop artists a place to play has sustained since then, in several cities around the world.

Q – Has the festival expanded to include other genres besides just power pop? How do you go about choosing the acts that will be part of the festival?

It has, yes. As we progressed, several bands who weren’t doing power pop would contact me and say, "Why haven’t we been invited to play the festival?  We’re pop!" and some of our fans would express the same feelings about non-power pop bands they liked.
 
I agreed that they were right, and around 2005 I started making a concerted effort to expand our parameters. I’m proud to say that I believe we have done that, without sacrificing an ounce of what makes IPO what it always has been: about melody.

My wife, Rina Bardfield, and I do a lot of searching online to find bands who we feel are right for the festival. Ironically, because of social media, bands are less proactive in reaching out to venues and events like ours, because they feel as if they're more likely to be seen than they would have been before the internet.
 
Of course that’s not true, because with the huge proliferation of bands, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. We realized this a long time ago, so we decided to be more proactive in searching for bands, and it’s really paid off! Of course, some bands do reach out to us as well, and we find several good ones that way.
 
Q – Of course, in the early days of the festival, Kara’s Flowers played at the festival and then a few years later achieved great success as Maroon 5. At the time, did you think the band would go on to achieve the success that it did?

Kara’s Flowers had already gained a strong following in Los Angeles by the time IPO had begun. They’d released an album on a major label (Reprise Records), and had played some huge venues in town.
 
We were very fortunate to have them for our first three years! By year three, they had added a fifth member, and did songs that would ultimately become Maroon 5 songs.
 
We were all shocked because their new sound was so different, but obviously it was the right direction for them. I don’t think anyone could have predicted just how successful they would become, but it was obvious to everyone that they had extraordinary talent.
 
I’m really happy for them!

Q – Where do you see the festival going from here?

With all the changes happening in the music business in the past 20 years, including closures of venues and record labels, we’re really grateful to still be here. Certainly I hope we become better known, but not at the cost of changing our ethos, which I will never do.

I see us going to some different cities, particularly some new international cities; in fact, I just heard back from a venue in The Netherlands who have potential interest in hosting us next year, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.

No matter what, I plan to continue to do the festival as long as my health permits me to do so, and as long as there are people who want to play and hear this music

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Singer-songwriters Dan Tedesco and Emma Butterworth provide musically adventurous night at The Venue in Aurora

 

Photo by Eric Schelkopf






Photo by Eric Schelkopf

By ERIC SCHELKOPF

For better or for worse, human beings are emotional creatures.

Great songwriters know how to tap into and share those emotions. Such was the case when singer-songwriters Dan Tedesco and Emma Butterworth took the stage Friday night at The Venue in Aurora.

As Tedesco, a St. Charles native, related during the show, he would sneak his way into Chord on Blues in St. Charles while he was in high school. With renowned artists as Koko Taylor and Lonnie Brooks having performed at Chord on Blues, one can imagine the experience served him well.

His songs talk about issues that most of us deal with at one point or another, making them easily relatable. Tedesco’s riveting guitar work is only matched by his sometimes haunting melodies.

Those two elements come together in glorious fashion on his song “Firecrackers at Dawn” a song off his latest EP, “Morning Bells.”

Butterworth’s powerful vocals and introspective lyrics started the evening off on a high note. In fact, her stage presence is already so strong that one wouldn’t even think that she is a college student.

And there is no doubt that her musical presence will continue to grow.

 Dan Tedesco performs his song "The Truce" April 8 at The Venue in Aurora.

 


 Dan Tedesco performs his song "Firecrackers at Dawn" April 8 at The Venue in Aurora.


Emma Butterworth performs her song "Wild Life" April 8 at The Venue in Aurora.


 Emma Butterworth performs her song "Take A Little Weight" April 8 at The Venue in Aurora.



Sunday, April 3, 2022

Chicago musician Gerald McClendon brings his soul party to The Venue in Aurora

Photo by Eric Schelkopf

 

By ERIC SCHELKOPF

Chicago musician Gerald McClendon, aptly called "The Soulkeeper," energized the crowd at The Venue in Aurora on April 1 with his powerful vocal delivery of soul classics and original songs.




Chicago musician Gerald "The Soulkeeper" McClendon performs his song "Let's Have a Party" April 1 at The Venue in Aurora.


Chicago musician Gerald "The Soulkeeper" McClendon performs the Albert King song "I'll Play the Blues for You" April 1 at The Venue in Aurora.

 

Chicago musician Gerald "The Soulkeeper" McClendon performs a "Sweet Soul Music"/"Land of 1000 Dances" medley April 1 at The Venue in Aurora.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Cosmic Bull to perform Wednesday at Montrose Saloon following release of new EP, "27x2"

 


By ERIC SCHELKOPF

Let's hope that Mark Vickery doesn't wait another 20 years to release his next album.

And given the excitement that this album has been generating, no one will allow him to do that. Vickery, who releases music and performs under the stage name Cosmic Bull, recently released the 6-song EP "27x2," his first volume of new music that he has released in 20 years.

To mark the release of the EP, he will perform a 45-minute solo acoustic show at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Montrose Saloon, 2933 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago.  Discoveries of the American Scientific will follow at 8 p.m., with The Thin Cherries closing out the night at 9 p.m.

There is a $5 suggested donation at the door. I had the chance to interview Vickery about the new EP and his music career. 

Q – Great talking to you. "27x2" is your first volume of new music that you have released in 20 years. Was that by choice?

If you mean did I wait 20 years because it’s a nice, round number, absolutely not. When I stopped releasing new music back then, I felt I was done for good — I was never planning to return.
 
At the time, it was a matter of how relevant I saw myself and what I was writing about. Looking back, the full Mark Vickery CD I released 20 years ago was all about leaving the scene, even though I didn’t recognize it as such at the time.
 

The choice to come back felt more like being compelled emotionally than anything I consciously thought about. As I see it these few months later, I felt a sudden pang that what I had to say about what’s going on in this crazy world right now did have relevance, especially compared to what I was hearing coming out elsewhere. So I pulled the trigger.

Q – It seems like there is a meaning behind the album's name. Is there? Does it have anything to do with the meaning behind the number 54?


Very good — 54 is how old I am right now. So 27x2=54, with 27 being the number of rock star lore at the age so many people died, from Brian Jones and Jimi Hendrix, etc. to Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse. So it’s a joke, or at least it represents my sense of humor, to suggest that I’ve already lived the life of two dead rock stars.

Q – What is the meaning behind the name Cosmic Bull?


I like the fact that Cosmic Bull can mean so many things: heaven and earth — a variation on the "light" and "heavy" theme Jimmy Page talks about with the name Led Zeppelin, and he got the idea from Iron Butterfly (and whoever said the New Yardbirds would go over like a...).
 
The "bull in the cosmos" idea also suggests the Zodiac sign Taurus, which I am. And more than one person has told me "Cosmic Bull" translates into this intimidating mythological figure in Islam, which I was not aware of.

But the real answer behind the name came to me in a flash: the bull stands for my creative endeavors — not that they are "bull," but that they potentially represent an intemperate animal — and "cosmic" represents where I sense my ideas come from.
 
And it’s not easy to stay on a creative endeavor without getting thrown off. Despite how difficult it is — to gain people’s attention, or to even embark on something you still find worthwhile after working on it for a time — "Cosmic Bull" is a symbol and a motto for me: to always get back on that artistic pursuit. It’s what makes me me, and keeps me a happy camper.

Q – What were your goals for the album and do you think you accomplished them? Do you have any favorite tracks on the album?


I think the jury’s still out on the "fulfilling my goals" thing. Some of this has to do with how it’s received as a body of work, and as listenable music.
 
Right now I’m still in the "'atta boy" stage: where my friends and associates acknowledge I’ve accomplished something concrete and vaguely admirable. It’s making playlists around the country and, in some cases, internationally, which is great.
 
Now I’m waiting to see if any of these seeds grow into anything.

I wrote "27x2" as a song cycle with a general narrative, and four of the songs’ lyrics were written to establish and advance that narrative. However, two of the songs came from earlier, and one of those, "The Sweet Art of Holding On," I wrote a couple years ago.
 
It’s me offering advice to those feeling overwhelmed by the world, and my "secret" for dealing with it, which is to place your existence in a broader context. Joni Mitchell sang, "We are stardust."
 
This is sort of my take on that, and it’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written.

Q – I know you released a couple of songs last year, including the song "Holding My Breath 'Til The End Of Time." Did the pandemic provide you with the inspiration for that song? It seems like the song could take on even more significance these days, given that everybody is holding their breath to see what happens next in Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Oh, that’s really great. And I don’t want to keep anyone from believing what they wish about this or any other song of mine. But I’m pretty sure that one was written a few months before the pandemic even materialized; it deals with my frustrations getting into political arguments on social media.
 
And just frustrations with trying to make a difference and not being heard in general. True story, too.

The bad thing about writing songs about current events is that they are necessarily reactive to the facts on the ground. One of the more recent songs I wrote is about the Jan. 6 insurrection, with a verse dedicated to Jeffrey Epstein.
 
I wrote it a few days after Ghislaine Maxwell got convicted — nothing else about what happened got any notice from that moment on — and the scumbags got away with it. So the song has a refrain: "Pins in your soul," because that’s how this injustice made me feel.
 
But now it feels like all this happened two years ago.

My Putin/Ukraine songs have yet to materialize. When they do, I’m sure there will be another as-yet-unforeseen atrocity beyond that that I don’t address in real time.
 
Those songs are still worth making, I think, because they stick a flag of outrage in them, regardless how many people hear them when the outrage is still fresh. I suppose it’s nice to know the emotional content of songs I’ve written previously might still have application beyond where I intended them to go.
 
It’s a sort of back-handed assertion that what I’m doing does have value.

Q – In addition to being a musician, you are senior editor at Zacks Investment Research. Is it hard switching between doing that and writing music?


I tend to find ways to play to my strengths, and I’ve been with the same firm a long time. My job fits me like a glove, although instead of writing about the stock market I’d prefer writing about various forms of artistic expression — particularly music, and its cultural and historic relevance.
 
But jobs that pay in those fields aren’t easy to come by — so many people are willing to offer their opinions on this kind of thing for free!

I’m obviously less free to say what I want there than I am in song. But it’s still writing, and writing is what I’ve always done, even before learning to play an instrument.

Q – As I understand, you also do voice over work. How did you get into that and what kind of projects have you worked on?


I’ve always had one of those voices that makes people think I do voice over. Eventually it dawned on me to try it. 
 
Actually, I made friends long ago with a woman named Cathy Schenkelberg, who at the time was a foremost VO talent in Chicago. I should have made a stronger effort at it back then, but I wasn’t very appreciative of the rigors. 
 
I was feckless and lazy. Even now I’m not very successful at winning VO jobs; this might have something to do with not being much of a salesman.

That said, I think I sound distinctive enough that if someone were looking for my peculiar bent on a VO read, I could knock it out of the park. And a little success there could lead to bigger things over time.

Q – You do have a very distinctive voice and a unique style. Who are your musical inspirations?


Back when I was younger, there were no — like, zero — low-voiced singers in popular music. Even guys who sang in their lower registers, like Dr John and David Bowie, sang higher than me.
 
I know why, too: singing low, especially in a live rock band setting, puts your frequencies in competition with bass notes, floor toms, kick drums, etc. It always makes more sense to have a high voice soaring over the rhythms and progressions. But such was not my lot.

So when I heard Gil Scott-Heron for the first time, and "Step Right Up" by Tom Waits — both on Chicago’s WXRT, by the way — they really arrested me. Although when I first started recording, I wasn’t getting the results I desired; my voice sounded thin compared to how I sounded in my head.
 
With the "27x2" EP, as well as the previous singles like the one you mentioned produced by Paul von Mertens, I have managed to correct this to a certain extent.

Now I get closer to the mic and let my throat and sinuses contribute to the sound. And when I want my voice to take up even more space, I like doing mults, including falsettos, whispers, etc.
 
People have compared this approach to Bowie and Matt Johnson from The The. I have no problem with those comparisons whatsoever.

Q – A few years ago, I had the honor of interviewing Mars Williams regarding Liquid Soul's 20th anniversary show. Of course, Liquid Soul helped pioneer the acid jazz movement in the '90s. What was it like being a live guest vocalist for the band and how did that experience shape your musical horizons?

I was flattered and surprised to be waved onstage by Mars Williams the first time — at Elbo Room in the mid-90s, when they’d play to packed houses every Sunday night. Liquid Soul’s keyboardist, Frankie Hill, had played some gigs on sax with the first band I enjoyed success with in Chicago, Word Bongo. 
 
He told me to come check out Liquid Soul early on, which I did, and it was already a sensation then.

It was months later when I finally got called up. I was playing with the big boys at last, and I was acutely aware of this. It was too long ago to recall how well I did, but I guess well enough to go back. 
 
And the improvised groove collective I was playing with at the time, Zo (later Sumo), was fortunate enough to take over that Sunday night residency at Elbo Room once Liquid Soul moved to Double Door.

If you ask me, Mars Williams is living the dream as much as any musician in Chicago I can name. He plays whatever he wants and gets booked wherever he wants, his CV is impeccable and he’s on some of the great New Wave recordings with the Psychedelic Furs, the Waitresses — that solo on "I Know What Boys Like" is still fire! 
 
And the best part is: he doesn’t put on airs. He’s a music dude, and if you can get with that, you can get with him. Is there a better representative of the local contemporary music scene?

Q – What plans do you have in the coming months? Will you be performing more this year?


It’s been a very fast realization. When I finished the "27x2" EP and put it out on all the streaming services, the most common inquiry I got was, "Are you playing any shows?" I mean, they hadn’t even heard the music yet and they’re asking what my gig schedule was.
 
Are they really so sure what I’m doing was worthwhile? Of course not. What they were really trying to find out — I later realized — was whether I was serious about promoting this music. And the answer to that is: of course I am.

But it wasn’t something I had planned for. So I’m doing a solo acoustic opening spot at Montrose Saloon here in Chicago at 8 p.m. March 30 for 45 minutes. It won’t sound the way the songs are on the recordings, but they should be pretty easy to discern. Plus, I’ll have a couple surprises, to make sure people are paying attention.

Beyond that, there are some things in the works. But it’s helpful to understand that these songs and recordings did not come from a band setting — they came from one guy who has friends in music production and decided to release onto streaming services the fruits of this labor.
 
I’m in discussions with a multi-instrumentalist currently who might help flesh out these sounds in a live setting in the near future, but we’re still a little early yet to announce a Cosmic Bull world tour. Sorry to disappoint anybody.

 

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Bad Daddy to celebrate release of new CD with show Sunday at Rosa's Lounge in Chicago


  Photo courtesy of Chris Monaghan Photography

 

By Eric Schelkopf

Maine-based Bad Daddy (aka Paul Waring) is married to the blues.

That should be evident by anyone listening to his latest CD, “It’s A Mad Mad Bad Dad World,” set for release on March 11 on PieHole Records. Waring goes by the stage name Bad Daddy.

To celebrate the release of the CD, Waring and his band will perform at 7 p.m. March 13 at Rosa’s Lounge, 3420 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago. Tickets are $20, available at rosaslounge-com.seatengine.com.

Pete Galanis on guitars, Ari Seder on bass guitar and Jason “Jroc” Edwards on drums backed Waring‘s vocals and guitar on all 10 tracks, recorded at Chicago’s JoyRide Studio and Galanis’ Studio 3036 in Chicago.

Waring developed a love for the blues as a teenager hanging out in blues clubs in Chicago and seeing the likes of Buddy Guy, Magic Slim and Otis Rush.

“I arrived here in Chicago for my senior year in high school,” Waring said. “I can remember back in my senior year in high school basically faking my way into Rosa’s, actually. Magic Slim just blew me away.

The first time I saw the guy I was like, holy cow. I was playing guitar at that point, but I wasn’t focused. And once I was exposed to live Chicago blues, I had the bug at that stage. And I really found myself wanting to mimic what I was hearing on those records and in the clubs.”

Q – I know that you are buddies with Pete from the band Howard and the White Boys. I’ve actually been writing about them for years.

A – Yeah, I’ve been friends with Pete since 2014 or 2015, when we first met. He would perform on Tuesday nights at Rosa’s.

I discovered those guys just kind of in my nightly prowls and I just loved what they were doing.

Q – I know that Pete also remastered your first album. What did you respect about his musical talents? What did you like about what he had to offer?

A – I just found him really approachable. He’s a really talented guitar player but he also is a great engineer.

I was never quite happy with the mastering of my first album. It just had too much low end for my ear.

He managed to take it and keep that bass down a little bit and kind of create a slightly newer sound to it, which I thought was really great.

Q – And you decided the time was right to work on a new album.

A – Yeah, being stuck in the pandemic was definitely part of the push. My wife was all behind me and told me that she could see where I was going with this.

When I felt ready with my material, I felt so compelled and comfortable approaching Pete, Ari and Jroc about the album. They already run with a rep for being a top-notch supporting band, and with the right mix of people fronting, there’s some real magic.

I hope that comes through in the work we did on the record. That’s what I look for and is something most of us try to aspire towards.

My heart is full of love for these guys and Ari and Jroc are one hell of a rhythm section – they each brought so much to the project and really helped lay a foundation for me to finish weaving together all my thoughts and inspirations. Working with these guys was truly fantastic.  

Jroc is a goddamn monster and Ari is a master technician and artist.. I really enjoyed Ari’s organizational help and all his thoughts/ideas to help shape my arrangements to bring out the best.

Lots of love for all these gentlemen.          

Q – As far as the name Bad Daddy, where did that come from?

A – In the early days of this, I was mostly jamming with a group of friends on Tuesday nights. We would jam in my living room or my buddy’s living room.

Eventually, that got a little more serious. And we all had families, we all had kids.

I had a five-year-old and a 10-year-old. As soon as we started working a little harder, that took us away of helping mom out at home.

Q – Like you’re the bad daddy because you’re not at home.

A – Early on, we were called the bad daddies, because we were all daddies.

Q – It is interesting that your day job is building yachts and then you are a musician at night. Does that fulfill both your needs?

A – I’ve just got a lot of energy and I just make time for it all. It’s also a little bit out of necessity, just because of my choice of living in rural Maine. Operating there as a full-time musician is a real challenge more so than it is here in Chicago.

You don’t have the venues and the critical mass to kind of really make it work. I’ve been running my Bad Daddy brand since 2005 and put my first album out in 2008.

It’s been a fun run, but you have to sort of be willing to sacrifice a little. I grew up around boats and the ocean and so it sort of came naturally as an occupation, I guess.

It allows me to fund my music pursuits. It kind of works hand in hand. You just have to make the time for it.

Q – I know there are blues cruises. You could have a cruise on a yacht that you designed.

A – That would be cool. I think the largest boat that we’ve been involved with designing is around 95 feet long.

It was a pretty cool project. And we’ve designed a number of other boats up and around that length.

For that size range, you could definitely have a pretty decent party on board.

Q – Are there any songs on the new album that you are particularly proud of?

A – If I were to have a favorite, it would probably be “Pork Pie Hat.” It just came together in such an exciting way.

And Pete does an absolutely blazing fiery solo on it that sounds a lot like Robben Ford. It just kind of reminds me of cruising around Chicago and catching live music.

But I think the most interesting song I can point to is called “These Times.” It’s definitely kind of out of my normal blues rock zone.

But also, it kind of came to me really quickly and really easily. The riffs and the lyrics kind of fell right together.

It does feel like a social movement song, although I didn’t intend it to have a particular message. It has that inspirational tone and feel.

I think it was maybe inspired by the day to day political news that we experienced these last few years.


Saturday, February 19, 2022

Blues on the Fox festival returning to Aurora in June

By Eric Schelkopf

Following a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic, the Blues on the Fox festival will return to Aurora in June with a stellar lineup that includes Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy. 

Although Chicago is known as the blues capital of the world, Aurora has also contributed significantly to the history of blues music. In 1937 and 1938, Sonny Boy Williamson, Henry Townsend and other notable Bluebird artists made recordings at the Leland Hotel in downtown Aurora.

The festival will take place June 17 and June 18 at Thomas J. Weisner RiverEdge Park, 360 N. Broadway, (Route 25), Aurora. Chicago’s own Shemekia Copeland will perform the first night of the festival followed by headliner Kenny Wayne Shepherd. 

In addition to Guy, other Chicago musicians will take the stage during the second day of the festival, including Billy Branch and Melody Angel. Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers also will perform that day.

Tickets are $15 per day through May 31; $25 per day starting June 1 and on-site. All tickets are general admission. Fees not included. For tickets and information, visit riveredgeaurora.com, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by RiverEdge’s satellite box office, Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday–Saturday.

Coinciding with this year’s Blues on the Fox Festival, the city of Aurora will host the grand opening of its new Wilder Park Promenade with a free event, Party on the Promenade, from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. June 18. Wilder Park is located on the west side of the Fox River at 350 N. River St.

Admission is free. Food and beer trucks will be lined up along Wilder Park’s newly paved promenade, serving up a variety of festival fare including barbecue, burgers, brats, pizza, ice cream and more. Live music will play between sets across the river at RiverEdge Park and there will be activities for kids.