Filed under: Other | Comments Off on Rememberies 2016
Does anyone read and like Family Circus? Don’t call it Family Circle even though it’s in a circle and about a family, because Family Circle is a rectangular monthly magazine. Family Circus is a daily comic strip about how grandmas have good advice and you can blame ghosts for causing a ruckus around the house. I think I’d like to have Family Circus wall paper so that any place I pause in the house will offer folksy wisdom in a glance.
Family Circus does or did or will do a bit called Remeberies, which is what a young child might say when confusing the words “remember” and “memories”. Maybe they never did it and I made up that word, too. Remembering memories can be confusing for anyone, but especially for a child for whom one year represents, for example, 20 percent of their life and 33 percent of their entire memberies, formed in a flash before their eyes!
If you haven’t read the strip, check it out. If you have, I’m sure you can easily imagine the dotted line following me around all year like Billy on his way home from school. Where did it go?
The clock that rang in 2016 was set to Wilson Picket’s watch, as I strummed frantically along to Midnight Hour in the Nobunny band. Yes, the big sea change of 2015-2016 for me was joining the ranks of the hardest working band in rocknroll. After an ear-pealing opening salvo in the fall of ’15, 2016 promised to hold much in store. They call patience a virtue, and so is her sister prudence, so I waited in January. And waited. Slushy played a show at Reed’s Local with Today’s Hits because James was in charge of booking there and he knew he could book me!
You know Max right? He’s a hard working man and it shows. February brought the release of Hello We’re The Lemons to the vinyl hungry masses courtesy of Burger Records. They ate it up! Now you can’t even buy that record anymore unless it’s from your friend’s private collection and even then good luck with that! The Lemons is my favorite band and I could go into why but basically it’s all due to Max. We played one Lemons show at Bric-A-Brac Records on Valentines Day and it was like an arrow through the heart — the good kind! Also Pookie moved into my closet and Pookie and Mentz and I hung out inside a lot cuz winter is cold.
Okay, here’s where things get interesting. They say March is both a lion and a lamb, it just depends which end of it you’re on. Turns out it was very lamby! The Lemons did the best little boomerang tour of all time, going from Chicago to LA for one show, then LA to Austin for one show, then home sweet home. Meanwhile Nobunny played in Wisconsin (me, Sammy, Andy), OC (me, Dan, Pookie), Austin (me, Sammy, Pookie) then back around the midwest (me, Sammy, Andy). Slushy had a show at the Empty Bottle in there. After Easter we all took a rest.
Did I mention being patient? Finally April came around and Sammy and I boarded a long-distance airplane which took us to the far east, the land of the rising sun, the land of cup of noodle. Before we could leave, I had a checklist, and the final thing on it was fixing my tooth, which I did and smiled freely at all of the nice people of Japan. They like rocknroll and throw crazy shows in improbably small venues full of Marshall half stacks. We did a whole 18 day tour with Mule Team. They are great! It even lasted through May! Oh yeah and Pookie came back from Pookie tour and brought with him Matty Luv.
It was hard to leave Japan but I guess not too hard because we did it. We made it back not too long before my birthday and so I slept until my birthday and I had a happy birthday and rode roller coasters and didn’t see how jelly beans are made and everything was great. I started playing in Cookie with Marian and James and Sammy and Alejandro. Hey, I even played some shows with this band!
Well, after all that excitement a little break and some hanging out in my underwear was in order. Slushy played twice at the East Room in June because that’s usually what happens is that a venue will ask us to play and we’ll do such a good job and so many people will come to see us that the promoter will say “I have to have you back immediately!” and so we play again immediately and it’s not as good and no one comes to see us, except that both shows were pretty good! Also Dumbfest was the good kinda dumb and Nobunny played at a rocknroll Hardee’s in Springfield.
A new month, a new band. Through the must gratuitous fortune, I was briefly a touring member of Providence, RI,’s Gymshorts, whose merch is bested only by their songs and personalities. The first two shows also had Sammy in the band at the third had Kelly, which is to say a good group, not to mention Sarah and Chris. Don’t get me started. The Lemons played our ninth and final show of 2016 with Calvin Johnson’s Selector Dub Narcotic.
What was it about being patient? Holy smokes, 3 Slushy shows in one month! That’s pretty cool. And 2 shows with the Pinheads! And another trip with Gymshorts! Some Hits! A few Nobunny! And at the end of the month, we flew to Europe.
We landed in Amsterdam then took a van to Groeningen. Richard drove. That’s the very slow start to the story of Nobunny in Europe, which is a long, winding mosaic of a story. To shorten it, it was great. 14 shows in 9 countries doing double duty of Pookie & the Poodlez and Nobunny nearly every night. Then before we could all get jobs in Berlin we had to fly back home to America. Just because. Just because Slushy had a show with Gooch Palms at the Bottle at the end of the month. And we had more to do.
Oh look another Slushy show at the Bottle! Thank you! And at Bric-A-Brac! Hi Nick & Jen! The Lemons recorded that show back in July and released it on K records! And a couple of weeks bumming around the house being very, very patient. And then Turkeyfest which was day one of the next Nobunny tour. We even played Omaha of all places. Yes, a very nice, easy going tour in my van with Jen driving and everyone feeling fine. Ended the month celebrating Halloween in Oakland dressed as a bum/bunny still on tour.
We headed down the California coast then turned left into the desert and spent a few days in lovely Tuscon, wound way back to Chicago, touched base with reality then dove back into road reality and went all over with the lovely Cowboys.
Finished up the Nobunny tour, came back home, played a cap-off Nobunny show with the Twin Peaks boys, played a cap-off Today’s Hits show, celebrated the holidays in Omaha, had a nice year.
How Many Shows Was That?
- Slushy: 12
- The Lemons: 9
- Today’s Hits: 18
- Pinheads: 2
- Nobunny: 78
- Pookie & The Poodlez: 15
- Cookie: 3
- Gymshorts: 9
Total shows in 2016: 146
Unless I was in some other bands I’ve forgotten.
How Were Those Predictions?
Let’s take a look at last year’s predictions for this year and give a letter grade.
- Tour tour tour: Yes, I did this, and yes, I made my prediction with playing in NB in mind. Toured 3 continents plus a whole bunch more. A+.
- Make Lemonade: This cryptic bit alluded to making the most with the Lemons. We released an LP on Burger Records and a cassette on K Records in 2016. Not bad! A-.
- Eugenius ambitious: Last year I had an idea for a new band called Mr. America that I quickly decided didn’t need to exist. Oops! Maybe it did. F+.
- Smile like a candle: The dentists at A Brush Above will turn your $999,999 smile into a $1,000,000 smile. They give you a dollar! A.
- Compassion: Woo-wee, I made a prediction that I will be nice to people? I think I did ok? Write me and let me know. B-.
- Stand up: Did not perform and didn’t really anticipate performing but I saw some and thought up some pretty bad jokes and heard a lot of really good jokes. C-.
- Vote: Just as I predicted, I voted for the Senator from Vermont in the primaries but was not allowed to in November and I was very sad all summer and fall but see above about compassion and treating people with dignity and respect and not feeling overwhelmed about an inability to control things that are bigger than oneself. What a year. A.
Any Predictions for 2017?
- Will there ever be a new Slushy record?: Yes, and this could be the year! You never know!
- Are you still in Nobunny?: As of today yes, let’s keep it going, petition your local rabbit to keep me in the warren! Sounds like we will doing even more touring in 2017. Can 78 shows be topped? Easily.
- How’s Chicago?: It’s pretty great if you just mentally block out all the of things that are terrible. I’ll probably still live here when we ring in 2018.
- Heard any good jokes lately? A lot, including this gem. What’s a baby’s favorite grain? Quinwaaaahhh!! (A+)
- Grow up: Maybe this is the year I buy a little place of my own and settle down and put all these rocknroll dreams to rest. I’ll need a minute…
- Get in the van: 2 months last year had no tours, and 4 months only had a little bit of tours. That’s like half the year! Jeez. Time to join some more bands.
- Get a band, make a record, tour that record, make that band: That’s the goal, I’m the kicker, I’m the goalie.
Okay don’t forget I love you.
Filed under: Other | Comments Off on Rememberies 2015
Holy smokes, that was an interesting year, am I right? Problem one that’s better off being sealed up in a concrete box, loaded onto a fishing boat and dumped overboard once we hit international waters, sinking sinking sunk all the way down in the muck and darkness and dankness of octopus dens.
But we can’t do that, “2015” is just a concept of our own creation and time marches on step by step with infinity.
So what happened in 2015? 211 shows in 6 bands in 1 year, not bad. What didn’t happen in 2015? No new Slushy music. Sorry about that, I got uninspired then I got busy!
Now let’s go remembering!
We’ll start the year off fine. Well, 2015 started off with me having NO idea what was to become of Slushy, but that changed very quickly when 3 days into the year we (Kenny, Justin, James, and I) played a (last-minute, I believe) set at the Auxiliary Arts Center. Were we good? No. Were we great? Probably. Did I fall off the stage? Definitely. We played last on a solid bill, so all the folks were riled up and they really went for our “let’s play these 2 chords back and forth for 3 minutes or til we get bored” approach, and us fellas said “sure, let’s keep doing this bullshit.” So it was settled. Meanwhile, The Lemons were finishing up some new tunes for a new tape, “Everybuddy’s A Lemon” on Bufu Records and booking a 3 week tour to take us out of Chicago and down to Florida to avoid spending so much time in the cold that our hearts froze. That was a smart move. At the end of the month, James, Kelly, Esther and I piled into the Lemvan with our spirits high, and picked up Dr. Paul in Lexington.
You’re my little Valentine. We hit Florida on the 1st of February and jumped in the ocean the moment we saw it. It was Super Bowl Sunday and there was a blizzard in Chicago. Played for no one in St. Augustine but served up 13 scoops. Stayed in a very likely haunted hotel!!! Salt life melted my heart then rolled into New Orleans, saw the Bulls win and hit the streets. Is there a better feeling to be in New Orleans during Mardi Gras with your heart full of love? If there is, I haven’t met it. Walk with your spine straight, friends. By the time we got home, we were sick of each other, and that was the beginning of the end. I enjoyed it. Hung around Chicago the rest of the month, trying to stay warm and sane.
I’m gonna march you down the aisle. Before we knew it, it was time to get back on the road. Mope Grooves came to town, they are a band I really dig, and we played with them at Cole’s the night or two before we left for SXSW. All 5 Lemons got in the van this time, although I think we picked Kelly up in Peoria where she was staying with her folks and where we played our first show. Yeah, that was it. Ask me about it in person some time. St. Louis, Tulsa, lots of driving I think?
Our shows in Austin were great. Look up “Lemons SXSW” if you don’t know what happened. I think there were 5 or 6 or 7 or 8, a lot of shows and really all of them top notch, even the one by the pool, where I played in jeans but nearly wore very tiny white-with-green-polka-dot trunks that I had gotten from Brent the last time I was at SX, in 2012, but Max talked me out of them (out of wearing them), so jeans it was. We dropped Max off at the airport after our San Antonio show (there’s something there I’m supposed to remember, it’s on the tip of my something), and that was it for the Lemons. So long, folks! We were in Bowling Green, KY, when my grandpa died.
You’re the easter bunny when you smile. Gerald James Steenson. I don’t know if that name will appear in any history book ever written (it would be a very “niche” one, no general studies here, but if you’re interested in, oh, the electrical engineering of mid-century Omaha, you might run across it some day), so I’m writing it here. If you’ve ever read the Beatitudes and thought “sure, nice in theory, but no one can actually live a life like that,” you friend would be wrong. If you haven’t read them, go check into a hotel, find the clock-radio on the bedstand, open the top draw, and pull out the book in there. If there are multiple books, pull out the good one. Flip it a little more than halfway through to Matthew 5:3 or Luke 6:20 (slightly different versions of the story but the nut is the same), or just go to the index and look up “Beatitudes” or “Sermon on the Mount”. Good stuff. Anywho, I was back in Omaha for much of April just being with my family; that’s what family does. What else? Oh, toured with Leggy! That was great, did the one-man sing-song thing in some basements and other dank spots. Also learned the importance of being gentle, another 2015 life lesson.
Maybe if I ask your dad and mom. I don’t remember much about the first half of May, because on the 18th I fell down a complete flight of concrete stairs, giving myself a concussion that lasted for …. five months? A while at least. Broke a tooth, too. Then it was my birthday the next day. But let’s think … Oh! James and I did a short tour along with Hollow Mountain, which was fun, a lot of rap battling over tracks (Gourmet Jerk vs Slushy vs Dr Paul vs Missing Hearts). Got back from that on the 17th, broke my face on the 18th, birthday on the 19th, then funk city, man. Don’t remember a lot, just going to shows and hitting myself in the head A LOT and being dizzy all night just for fun. Head trauma isn’t a joke, more 2015 life lessons there.
I’m gonna ask you to the junior prom. Boy, really seemed like it was going to be Today’s Hits year at this point. The 2 Guapo boys were rolling strong, gigging a lot, and recording a record with Brian Fox. I tried walking in the rain and that was a big mistake, and folks were generally starting to worry about me. I can’t blame them and I thank them for being considerate enough to notice a guy in a precarious situation. Y’all are life savers. Slushy played at La Cubierta, great spot, great tacos! The Lemons did a quick tour with the Gooch Palms around the Midwest, including a nice show in Fargo and one at the Pastime Gardens. Also Max and I finished recording the Lemons LP, “Hello, We’re The Lemons” at some point in June.
Like a firecracker you’re aglow. Busy doing nothing, just taking it all in, no direction, no plans, no clue. Had a barbeque and walked along the sulfur-smoked-out 606. Went to the beach a lot and felt a lot of love. Man was that a drag. James and I did a pointless weekender, which really plumbed the depths of “what the hell am I doing with my life” for each of us, I believe, or at least myself (don’t want to put words in your mouth, James, just grapes!). Anyway, decided to pull my head out of my ass, and actually focus on having a better understanding of myself, which is harder than it sounds and so I went down down down the rabbit hole.
On the beach you really steal the show. Somewhere around this time, I was hanging out at Bric-A-Brac Records talking to Nick about this and that, and he asked me what I thought about the possibility of him, Sammy Meyer and me trying out as the new backing band for Nobunny. Now, this is not a question that you pretend has real-life, real-world consequences, that if you tell one guy that “yeah, that sounds like a good idea” it will actually happen. But one must prepare for success, so the three of us found a rehearsal space and basically started a Nobunny cover band hoping that we might have the mustard on the dog to get the gig. Fingers crossed!! Also went to the Casino once or twice I think.
Light the candles on your sweet 16. Thanks for crossing those fingers, turns out we got the gig! We actually practiced with Nobunny, and then next thing you know we were all Nobunny. Really a magical feeling. But rewind a little, the month started with the Hits Boys heading to Michigan with the Luzers for a trio of real stellar shows, plus some coffee and hoops all over. Fun times. Anywho then the bunny boys were getting ready to go and before you new it we were in Madison with The Hussy and Real Numbers and Pookie and Chev and Shelby! 5 shows culminating at GonerFest and then I saw Quintron and danced for 6 days straight. Nick ate a black-bunned hamburger too.
Romeo and Juliet on Halloween. At this point, I was frantically spray painting guitars, ripping sleeves off of shirts, stepping in dog shit, aka trying to get ready for tour. Pookie came back on the 10th or so and we began our best-friendship. Jen was hired as our driver/mercher/MVP, and that meant Nick had to stay in Chicago to run Bric-A-Brac, and that meant Pookie!!! Hi Pookie! We left for tour on the 13th (I really have no recollection of October before then, but probably just being a nice boy) and the first tour went through the 31st. This is Nobunny I’m talking about here. It was kinda nerve wracking at first, we had up to two but probably zero practices before we left. But by the time we got to Salt Lake City we were fire (sorry St. Louis, Lawrence and Denver, we just weren’t quite ready for ya but we gave it our best!). We went to Canada, another good face-to-face story. Actually this all is. Halloween was in Dallas, I was an army bunny and it was awesome. Hi Steph!
I give thanks you belong to me. Woke up on the first day of November in a baller hotel room in Dallas with a nice view and a nice hangover. We were all exhausted (even Nick, who flew down for 1 show and the drive home) but we weren’t even an hour out of town when we saw the first Shenanigans (make that Shenaniganz) of tour, so we had no choice but to stop. But it was like an arcade, with lots of games and tickets to win crap, so we played games and won a bunch of crap! After we got back to Chicago, we had a week before we left for the rest of tour, so Pookie stayed with me and we started a bad punk band and recorded some bad punk songs, and drank lots of coffee and daydreamed. Then we left again for tour and went all over the other side of North America and sang songs and made people happy and made ourselves happy and it was great. Ask me for specifics, every day was an adventure. We got home on the 29th and Today’s Hits and Slushy both played at the Whistler that night and it was great.
You’re the angel on my Christmas tree. Pookie flew home and I had a lot of time to think about everything, past present and future, kind sifting through everything sitting around inside me collecting dust, all the goodness that I saw in the world, all the rest of it that I know is out there too. Hung with Mentz a lot cuz he’s a good kid and really one of the best. Talked to Max a lot because he’s up there too. See, I’m very lucky, and even though I knew this, I maybe didn’t appreciate it as much as I could have, and I needed a rollercoaster of emotions kind of year to make me appreciate that. Experience and perception are two different things that, to the individual, are hard to separate. Eh, you know what I’m getting at here. It’s like my friend August said, “I just feel all alone because I don’t have any friends,” and I says to August, I says “Hi, I’m Chris, I’m your friend.” Simple as that. Once I realized I didn’t require the constant validation of other people in order to be happy, I quickly realized that being happy on one’s own is no good, happiness is a communal feeling that is the frequency made when two or more souls harmonize. Also, I went to Nebraska for Christmas.
Hey! What about 2016?
Well, my track record for vague predictions is pretty lousy. Last year I made 7 predictions: 2 get a yes, 1 gets a not really, and 4 get a nah. Oops!! Oh well, let’s shoot for 7 more:
- Tour tour tour, 3 or 4 continents. Right now just plans to tour one.
- Make lemonade. Life gives you lemons and you think you’re just gonna have lemons forever? No way, give those pups a squeeze and throw out the rinds.
- Eugenuis-level ambition. Ever hear Eugenius? It’s Eugene Kelly’s band after the Vaselines broke up, but it was called Captain America for a little bit till he got sued. Folks called me the All-American Boy on the first Lemons tour, which was nice, but I’m not really a boy, I’m a man, and you call a man Mr. America.
- Gonna let the smile shine like a candle. My mom is really sad about my chipped tooth, which I totally get, that smile was a one way ticket to everywhere and now I just look like a chump. Working on it, ma!
- Compassion. Meeting people is easy, and so is not being a stupid stuck up dick if you pull your head out of your ass. Good advice, self!
- Stand up comedy. I mean, I doubt it, but maybe.
- Vote for Bernie. And if for some insane reason he’s not an option, Jill Stein. For all things that you hold dear, vote progressive politics. Maybe you feel the same way.
Filed under: Other | Comments Off on Rememberies: 2014
Huh, I guess I forgot to do a Rememberies post last year for 2013. (update: I faked it.) Oh well, a new year is here, and with that, my recollections of the year that just went. Word on the internet is that 2014 was a “bummer”, but that’s just because the internet doesn’t know about Slushy yet. Here’s what happened, as best as I can recall.
Had the most miserable Megabus ride from Des Moines to Chicago on New Years Day. Ten hours through a blizzard, after having spent a week with a broken down car in Mason City, Iowa. That’s a rough start to a year. Then I got dumped the next day. Oh well. We recorded with Matt Riley in December, and started mixing with Shimby McCreery at his house in January. That was cool!
Finished mixing and mastering the album with Shimby, which I christened Pastime Gardens after the diner that kept me alive in Mason City. (If you’re driving from Minneapolis to Des Moines or points south, stop in and tell them Slushy sent you.) At one point during mixing the record, I said it sounds like Brian Eno producing the Ramones. I still stand by that.
Bric-A-Brac Records needed a new PA, so I played a benefit show for them. Adam Pezen and Kriss Stress finished up the artwork for Pastime. “Looks great!” I said at the time, and I still say that all the time.
Played some more solo shows wearing a red shirt, and quit my job so that I could tour all summer with the Lemons and with Slushy. Possibly the smartest thing I ever did?
Pastime Gardens was released by Grabbing Clouds Records & Tapes on May 10, 2014. Hey that’s pretty sweet! Big love to Matt and Billy for making that happen. Played the record in order at the Saki release show after Kenny made bleep bloop sounds, plus a couple of other shows around town, then got in the van to see America.
The Lemons got to tour with the Memories and Street Gnar! Plus a Slushy show in Omaha with the Memories and Lunch. In the words of Uncle Funkle, “You play a lot of covers.” Then Max, Dee, James and I drove to California and made every single one of our dreams come true!
Made it up to Seattle, scooped up Brent, and gave the Pacific Northwest a taste of Slushy. Stayed with Matt Riley at the new home base of Grabbing Clouds in San Francisco, and played a house party there on the 4th of July. Had a smart idea for a new album while spending a day off in Austin. Made it back to Chicago, had a couple practices with Justin and Kenny, then got right back in the van for Slushy tour. Minneapolis, Omaha, Springfield, Memphis, Nashville, we love you all.
Finished up that tour with a few more great shows, then sweet talked James into joining on bass. Didn’t take much sweet talking. Recorded Nuggish over a few days while hanging out at home.
Junkers and Yotafest weekender kicked it off, at which point we realized we should just be a jam band. So we did.
Nuggish came out, played a couple solo shows at the Owl, and learned some new songs with the gang. Went out of town for a long weekend, overplayed Chicago, and started a Modern Lovers cover band, complete with historically accurate banter.
Brent came back in town for a couple more two-piece shows, and we did a bit of recording too. Have I told you about that? It’s weird, and I think I like it.
Spent two weeks in Nebraska, and gave Omaha a taste of Nuggish. They dug it. At least Dave did. I think that was the first good Slushy show in Omaha of 2014. Snuck in a great set at the Whistler, too. Got dumped the day after Christmas. What is it with the holidays??
A gaze into the crystal ball of 2015
Okay, that was a weird year. And one that left me wondering, “what the hell is Slushy?” I don’t know if I have an answer to that yet, but here’s what I plan on doing to find out.
1. Recording a bunch
2. Maybe putting those recordings out online
3. Maybe putting those recordings out on cassette and/or vinyl
4. Touring a bunch
5. Connecting with people around me
6. Quitting at least one more job
7. Stand up comedy
Filed under: Other | Comments Off on Rememberies 2013
Welcome to a very special edition of Rememberies for the year 2013. Why is this one so special, you ask? Because unlike most Rememberies installments, which are written shortly after the year in question has reached its end, I completely forgot to do one for 2013 in 2014 or 2015 or 2016 so I am now attempting to relieve 2013 in 2017. Is it even possible? Let’s find out.
We started off the year in full two-piece mode and would stay in that mode for … most of the year. I think we were recording at this point, just at the house and nothing any good and now that computer is a kaputzer. Hey, looks like we played a couple of shows with the band Twin Peaks! They were really starting to build a buzz back then, I hope we keep hearing more from them.
A couple of more shows, with the Bingers and Today’s Hits! I sure do like those bands. It was a short month.
We did a session of Pure Hype on WHPK in south Chicago. It was fantastic and Max filmed it all, I bet you can find some videos on the tube if you’re interested. I was wearing a The Who t-shirt.
Hahahahahahahaha. Brent booked the Beets at Animal Kingdom and he made sure he got the Lemons to open. It was the first ever Lemons show, with JL, JJ and CT. Even Slushy had a couple of shows.
Hey, my birthday is in May! Happy birthday, me! The day after we played a sandwich shop and I remember not having very much fun but who would blame me for preferring my birthday? The Lemons also played a show featuring Brent Z sitting under a shawl playing an omnichord. A recording exists of that somewhere around here….
Holy smokes, 5 shows in one month? We must have been nuts. This included a great street festival appearance with not only Slushy, but 2 other bands that we were not expecting to be in but were in for the day — The Sueves and Max Clarke (pre-cut worms). What a nice day. Then we went up on Jason’s rooftop and hung out for a while and then?
Slushy played one show. The Lemons played two. What was I doing? Probably being the perfect boyfriend or some garbage.
Hey we went on tour! Second and so far last Brent and Chris Slushy tour. Brent, what are you doing this summer? We went to Detroit, and Cleveland (now that’s class) and Mishawaka and that’s it. Yes, at this point I was still an office boy and belonged in an office and could only get a weekend off of work because they are obliged to do that every weekend (thanks, labor unions!). Oh and then later in August we played 2 shows on the same night, a birthday party at Space Club (Hi Bart!) and an unbirthday party at FeelTrip (RIP). Almost as if people liked us!
Remember that subtle foreshadowing about keeping the 2 piece for most of the year? Brent moved to Seattle in this month and things just weren’t the same ever since. But before he could do that we had to release our debut single because that’s how timing always works out. Candy b/w Pocket came out on Randy Records including with some limited artwork by Goon$. I think Five Little Leaves would up getting released around this time too on Tripp Tapes. We had a nice going away show at the Owl and I finally figured out who Justin Vittori was! What a long time it’s been since then. Hi JV!
Must have been hanging with Max and Raff at this point. What did I dress up as for Halloween?
Oh yeah, the Lemons were pretty busy at about this time. We released the first ever tape called “Hello, We’re the Lemons” on Tripp Tapes in November and celebrated with a show at Bric-A-Brac with Guantanamo Baywatch and a show at the Subterranean with Nobunny featuring Pookie all in one day. What a nice day!
Brent came back halfway into the year to visit from his new home in Seattle. We went over to Matt Riley’s and experimented with eating and recording. Everything worked out great, and we left for a little two-show tour to Omaha and Minneapolis. We played Omaha and it went overall pretty great. We played the Middle House and a lot of nice people were there including my Uncle Bill (peace) and then the next day our vehicle broke down in a snow storm. Friday evening, about 5:30, about 20 miles from Mason City, IA, and by the time you get a tow into town everywhere is shut down, so you have to wait 3 whole days til the mechanic opens on Monday, and he’ll take all day to tell you to take it to the dealership in town, who will take all day to tell you to sell it to the salvage yard. Luckily, Mason City has more going for it that a lousy way to make $350, namely the Pastime Gardens and all its denizens. Wayne Z picked up his boy early on the first morning so I had a few days on my own and boy was that a cold and nice place, the kind of place that makes you as nice as it is. On the morning of the 31st I took a bus from the Clear Lake Airport (where Buddy, Richie, et al made their final boarding) and spent the evening in Des Moines because I missed my connection for the megabus. Hi Brad, Hi Julie, Hi drummer for the Silver Jews!
Unless I’m thinking of a different year, which is entirely likely. Goes to show you never can tell!
Introducing The Lemons!
Filed under: Other | Comments Off on Introducing The Lemons!
The Lemons, a new Chicago pop super group featuring one or sometimes both members of Slushy, plus the brains behind Today’s Hits, SkyMaul, Hollow Mountain and Boshus, just dropped their debut full-length, “Hello, We’re The Lemons”. If you like the sunny pop sensibilities of Slushy, the stripped down songwriting of Today’s Hits, and hooks in general, you’re gonna love this tape.
Here’s what local blog/tastemakers Why Pick on Me have to say about it:
Hello, We’re The Lemons is in the running for Most Charming Chicago Release of 2013. Not only are the songs cute, funny, weird and quirky…they’re also expertly recorded (and I mean that in the most DIY/lo-fi way possible) and instantly memorable.
See The Lemons this Saturday (Nov 9) at Bric-A-Brac Records with Guantanamo Baywatch, and later the same day at Subterranean with Nobunny!
Filed under: Other | Comments Off on Nitetrotter TV
Earlier this spring, Nathan from Nitetrotter came over to our practice space/living room and filmed us playing every song we could think of. Then he whittled the whole thing down into an 8-minute sonic boom. Enjoy.
NitetrotterTV Sessions///Slushy from NitetrotterTV on Vimeo.
The Original Craigslist Ad
Filed under: Other | Comments Off on The Original Craigslist Ad
When I first moved to Chicago in 2009, I was eager to start playing music. I didn’t know more than 4 people here, and they were all already in a band together. So I did what any desperate, semi-deranged juicer would do. I turned to CraigsList.
It didn’t pan out. Although I got a few interesting emails back, I never met up with anyone. Then one day my buddy Jason was in town, and he gave me some advice that he had applied to his band Talking Mountain – just start playing shows on your own, and you’ll meet people who dig what you’re doing and with whom you’ll want to be in a band.
So I did, and it quickly went from me playing solo with a sampler and a lot of delay pedals to a real four-person rock and roll band. Then, as the clock hands whirled round and round and life did what it does best and made fools of us all, it became a weird stripped down two-piece with a lot of delay pedals. Which, it turns out, is exactly the type of band I was hoping to start.
Here’s the ad in all its glory.
Looking to start garage/trash/weird duo or trio (Logan Sq)
Looking for one or two people who want to make weird/fun/interesting music that sounds like garage or proto-punk or surf or whatever.
Ideally, everyone would sing, and we would play instruments. Guitar, bass, organ/synth, small drum kit, drum machine, sampler, whatever. Maybe have all of them and play what sounds best/worst.
Where would we play? Maybe in basements, and maybe while wearing sunglasses.
I have a few song ideas I can share with you, but would like to write songs collectively.
Influences: ? and the Mysterians, Suicide, Voidoids, Modern Lovers, JAMC, Beat Happening, etc.
And yes, trash is a music genre. I just made it up and it is awesome.
Filed under: Other | Comments Off on Rememberies: 2012
2012 saw 40 public appearances by Slushy, our first tape, lots of recording, our first tours and plenty of good times. Let’s see how the months flew by:
Right after the New Year, we started working on a super cool project with Doug from the Sleepovers and Shimby from Empty Bottle Presents. Most of what we recorded remains unheard, but interested parties are welcome to contact us for more info.
More recording, plus we played with Woollen Kits from Melbourne, Aus. They’re nice. Their new record out on Trouble in Mind is definitely worth picking up.
Chris moved into a new apartment that became our rehearsal/recording space, then the very next day we hit the road for SXSW!!! Perfect rock and roll vacation. So many awesome shows, so many cool bands. Plus hanging with Nathan J. and Jenn R. Then we came back and played some shows around town that were great (Sonic Angels, TRMRS, etc).
We played with Organs, from Brooklyn, at Subterranean and completely had a great time. We got pretty much the entire audience up on the stage. If you weren’t at that show, you missed one of the best Slushy shows of the year. If you were at that show, thanks for jumping on the stage and helping us sing and play guitar solos. We also played a show with Twin Peaks in a garage, featuring Doug on drums.
Chris turned 30 and we played a record store the next day and a restaurant a few days after which was the wildest string of days in a row possible. Lots of blood.
Two of the coolest shows imaginable two days in a row. Like a little Chicago tour. Bassdrum of Death / DZ DeathRays and Crocodiles / Devin. (actually all of those bands are lousy and the shows were just so-so.) Plus we were doing lots of leg work trying to get our August tour together. The Manic Static Mix Tape came out featuring Slushy and lots of our best buds.
At this point we were in full SLUSHY mode. Over the fourth of July weekend, we wrote, recorded, mixed and set up a release for our 8 song debut cassette tape release, ALL THE RAD DUDES, on Manic Static. We played several fantastic shows, appeared on Chic-A-Go-Go singing “Candy” with our buddy Max, got tattooed at Cobra Lounge with King Tuff, got some write-em-ups from RAD DUDES, recorded a couple of songs with Nathan from Thee Yolks, and basically had the summer every 14 year old dreams about.
Still hustling, still balling. Played the legendary Fireside Bowl, then had our tour kick-off at the Burlington and didn’t look back. The tour was a breeze (although I never had time to write a daily recap) and we played with so many cool bands and met so many cool people. Jasona Beach! Pickle Backs! BATMAN! Sideways Rain! Eeries! Special thanks to Jerome and the Psychics for setting up our final show of tour at their house that they didn’t even get to play.
Played a show at the Whip and then were like “Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuudge” and took a big nap.
Even more taking a break! Did you know that Brent plays bass in Party Bat? And that Chris plays in The Lemons? And they both had relatively busy Octobers? Check them out when you get around to it!
We made our triumphant return to the Burlington. But it was not a typical Slushy show! Somewhere along the line, Chris acquired a Farfisa Mini-Compact, so we did a show with a special line up built around that. And built around mostly new songs. People described it as “interesting” and “too much mid-tro”. It stunk.
We’re done dicking around. Our 40th show of the year, and 81st as a band, saw us back in Indianapolis with four bands so sick they’re contagious. Vacation Club! Burnt Ones! Apache Droupout! The Gizmos! This was the real deal, the most fun I’ve had at a show in ages, and the perfect way to send off 2012. Thanks, Jimmy!
Predictions for 2013
Well, it seems like the same predictions I made last year are on deck for this year. We did record music as I’d hoped, and some of it did see the light of day (RAD DUDES!). We did experiment with augmented line ups, but the two-piece was the move. The subject came up again the other day. We’re much more comfortable as a two-piece now than we were this time last year, so who knows how it’ll play out. We’ll hopefully continue to be allowed to play shows in and out of Chicago, but I’d like to see out-of-town shows more scattered throughout the calendar. As I say every year, “Your Guess Is As Good As Mine.”
Farfisa Mini Compact
Filed under: Other | Comments Off on Farfisa Mini Compact
I cam across an ad for this Farfisa Mini Compact organ in one of Chicago’s west side practice warehouses. After emailing the seller (a noted local rock critic!) on the spot, I came back a week later, gave it a brief spin and picked it up.
It was producing a pretty loud dissonant drone (like every key was being pressed down at once), and the configuration of the power input and sound output jacks were pretty weird. I took it to DelTronics, and for $300 they completely recapped everything, upgraded the power plug and made it nearly good as new! Fine by me!
The thing that’s cool about the Mini Compact is its knee-operated tone/volum lever. This is a little paddle that hides in the body of the organ, under the keys, that’s designed to be played with the knee while sitting. Nudge it to the right and it really blows out the signal. This takes it from churchy to super garage fudged up spectacular.
So far, we’ve featured the Farfisa at one show, and it’s going to start popping up on all of our records in 2013 – starting with our first release on Randy Records. More info on that coming soon! (it didn’t)
Update: I sold the Farfisa to Nathan Johnson of The Yolks/Uh Bones/Randy Records. He’s putting it to great use, give him a high five next time you see him.
Manic Static Mix Tape
Filed under: Other | Comments Off on Manic Static Mix Tape
Our buddies at Manic Static creamed the crop of Chicago rock music and created the greatest cassette tape ever. Featuring Slushy’s hit banger “Baby With the Big Tape Head” and tracks from our buddies Uh Bones, Magic Milk, Heavy Times, The Sueves and tons more. Pro dubbed and limited to 250 copies. It’s way sold out.
Thank you Phil and Jess!