Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fitz and The Tantrums Interview With ChiIL Live Shows 11-21-11

It was our great pleasure to shoot Fitz and The Tantrums yesterday.  They left warm, sunny La La land to bring us 3 nights of hot R&B/soul/funk/80's/hip hop genre defying fun at Metro!

Fitz and The Tantrums Interview With ChiIL Live Shows

We caught up with them for lunch and a show at Comma Music, an industry leader in original music composition and production for Web, TV, commercials and film.

Breakin' the Chains of Love-Fitz and The Tantrums LIVE Private Showcase at Comma Music

ChiIL Mama was thrilled to shoot their set and catch up with 4 of the 6 band members for an interview.  Then we scored a private one on one interview with the resident dad in the group, where we continued our series on How Creatives Parent and How Parents Create.   Their drummer is father to twin daughters, and was happy to reaffirm our core beliefs that there IS indeed LIFE AFTER BIRTH.   We'll be featuring that interview tomorrow.

Rockers parent and parents rock!

Don't Gotta Work It Out--Fitz and The Tantrums LIVE Private Showcase at Comma Music
**What a great clip to be our 100th video on the ChiIL Mama Channel on YouTube--Woo hoo!!

 We had a chance to see them at Lollapalooza with Du-Jay (10) and Sagezilla (8) and the kids loved it.   Fitz and The Tantrums truly do have multigenerational appeal.   Check out their main website for a free single, more videos, upcoming tour dates and merch.

Tonight Fitz and The Tantrums play their last of 3 sold out nights at Metro in Chicago, and then they're off to Indiana, where they have a philanthropic pairing up with Toys for Tots going down on  December 6th.

WTTS Toys For Tots Show with Fitz & The Tantrums & Scars On 45 - December 6, The Bluebird in Bloomington, presented by Fifth Third Bank. 

 L.O.V.--Fitz and The Tantrums LIVE Private Showcase at Comma Music

Tomorrow we'll feature our final live clip from yesterday at Comma Music, Money Grabber, along with our 2nd interview! 
We had a chance to see them at Lollapalooza with Du-Jay (10) and Sagezilla (8) and the kids loved it.   Fitz and The Tantrums truly do have multigenerational appeal.   Check out their main website for a free single, more videos, upcoming tour dates and merch.

ChiIL Mama will be reviewing and giving away copies of Picking Up The Pieces as part of ChiIL Mama's Holidaze Gift Guide, going live on Black Friday.   So ChiIL out with ChiIL Mama in your post-Thanksgiving, tryptophan, food coma.   And be sure to check back enter our giant give away like we vote in Chi, IL...early and often.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fitz and The Tantrums 11-21-11 Money Grabber LIVE and Video Interview With Drummer, John Wicks

We were so jazzed to meet all the members of Fitz and The Tantrums, and have the opportunity to shoot their private showcase at Chicago's Comma Music last week.   We caught up with their drummer/percussionist, John Wicks, after the set.   He's father to young, twin daughters and was happy to talk with us about life after birth and how he balances fatherhood with touring with an in demand band.   Check out this excellent, live version of their hit single, Money Grabber.

Click here for our interview with 4 other members of the band and 3 more live songs. 

We were thrilled to get to see them at Metro, for the final show of their sold out 3 night run.    FATT really shine live.   Highlights were a smokin' cover of Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams, the whole audience sitting on the floor, then jumping up and going nuts, an awesome cover of The Raconteurs' Steady As She Goes, and of course, all their own crowd pleasing favs like Money Grabber, L.O.V., and so many more. 

This week we'll be at a private showcase with Brandi Carlile, before her sold out appearance at Park West.   So check back with ChiIL Live Shows like we vote in Chi, IL...early and often!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Black Tusk, Thou & Monstro at Ultra Lounge-Chicago

 Black Tusk, Thou and Monstro

Black Tusk at Ultra Lounge

November's been so crazy busy, we're still catching up with the recaps.   Ultra Lounge is a sweet space.   Get over there if you haven't checked it out yet.   Black Tusk and Monstro murder it in smaller venues.   Catch 'em now before you're stuck at the back of an arena and all you can see are the back tats of the bearded 6'5" metal head in front of you.

Apologies for the flash, guys.   I know there were a bunch of photographers flashing, but I've never had to before.  But Ultra Lounge was ultra murky and too dark to get anything at all, otherwise, and I tried. Presents 
Black Tusk/ Thou / Monstro / The Swan King
Black Tusk In-depth Biography
Emerging onto the metal scene from Savannah, GA in 2005, Black Tusk specialize in a brand of sludgy metal they call "swamp metal." The band, consisting of members Andrew (guitar/vocals), Athon (bass/vocals), and James (drums/vocals), combines the drive of fellow Savannah residents Baroness with the thick and murky stoner sludge of High on Fire. 

In 2005 the band self-released its first demo, Demos and the Demons, as well as the album When Kingdoms Fall, which was released on Wrecked Signal. Two years later they self-released another album, The Fallen Kingdom, and kept their prolific release schedule going the following year with Passage Through Purgatory, released on Hyperrealist Records. Taking what for them is a long break from recording, Black Tusk gained attention through tours with bands like Weedeater, Pentagram, and Eyehategod. The band eventually signed on to Relapse, and in 2010 released its first album through the label, Taste the Sin, featuring cover art from Baroness singer John Baizley. ~ Gregory Heaney, Rovi.

BLACK TUSK is offering a free download of the track "Set the Dial to Your Doom" exclusively at RCRD LBL. The download comes from their brand new album Set the Dial which saw an October 24th release via Relapse Records.

BLACK TUSK is touring in December throughout the Southern U.S..  Support on these shows will come from MonstrO and Kyng.

BLACK TUSK is currently streaming Set The Dial at this location. The album is available for purchase via and iTunes.    

BLACK TUSK Tour Dates:

11/17: Nashville, TN @ The End (w/ Thou, MonstrO)

**All dates 12/8 - 12/17 w/ Monstro and Kyng**

Dec 8   Birmingham, AL     The Nick                        
Dec 9   Shreveport, LA       Riverside Warehouse   
Dec 10 Houston, TX         Rudyards                        
Dec 11  Austin, TX             Emo's                            
Dec 12  New Orleans, LA   Siberia                          
Dec 14  Gainesville, FL      Double Down Live       
Dec 15  Orlando, FL         Backbooth                      
Dec 16  Miami, FL             Churchill's                      
Dec 17  Tampa, FL           Brass Mug                         

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dillinger Escape Plan at The Riv (pit photos) 11-11-11

For those on your holidaze good list, lookin' for some good metal, check out Dillinger Escape Plan (DEP).   They just came through town, opening for Mastodon, and worked their amps like a skate park.   Even the photographers in the pit were getting kicked in the head as the band members dove into the crowd repeatedly, and the fans reciprocated.   Their music is a lot of frenetic fun to see live, and their energy is contagious.   

Taking cues from Deadguy, but adding its own jazz, technical, and violent flair, New Jersey's Dillinger Escape Plan (DEP) formed in early-1997.   Fans of technical metal, hardcore, a bit of jazz, Deadguy, and violence need not look any further.

Check out their Reverb Nation Page here.

Artist Summary
Genres: Metal / Mathcore/ Experimental
Label: Season of Mist / Party Smasher Inc, Relapse Records
Management: self-managed, for PR-, Big Machine Media

More About Dillinger Escape Plan
At first glance, Option Paralysis seems like a highly inappropriate title to describe the constantly evolving output of The Dillinger Escape Plan. But once you’re faced with the cumulative power and vision of guitarist Ben Weinman, vocalist Greg Puciato, bassist Liam Wilson, guitarist Jeff Tuttle and new drummer Billy Rymer, you’ll wonder—right after you pick yourself up off the floor—why more bands don’t achieve similar force-of-nature status.
“The title Option Paralysis represents being in a situation where you have so many choices you can’t decide, and end up being frozen,” says founding member Weinman about the mindset permeating the band’s fifth full-length album.
“Back in the early days when I started to discover music, go to shows and find out about new bands, there were ‘filters’ from various circumstances – geography, economic status, etc - which deeply affected how a band sounded and what they stood for. 

Now, everyone is going through the same filter—namely computers and the internet—and everyone has the same circumstances: Everybody’s seeing the same thing for the first time at the very same time, simultaneously all over the world. That very system is negatively affecting art and has created a situation where everything is influencing itself and art is not based on struggle, personal scarcity or unique and personal inspiration. This cultural revolutions is a big part of what determines our mission. We’re not listening to any of the bands around us for some kind of input as to what we should sound like. At this point, we’re using our own accomplishments as a measurement of what we need to do next.”

From their early days in the late-’90s as short-haired Rutgers, New Jersey, college students delivering hyper-complex thrash to audiences of boorish long-haired surly metalheads, to performing with Nine Inch Nails on the pioneering electronic band’s farewell shows, the Dillinger Escape Plan have merely one prerogative: to go forward in ALL directions simultaneously. 

I was laughing to see the descriptions above in red.  On Thursday, I literally got a fortune cookie that said "You can't ride in all directions at one time."   It was very appropriate, as this season is extremely busy on all fronts and I've been finding myself double and even triple booked and having to make some tough choices.   Then the kids and I ended up fighting off some nasty virus and we ended up cancelling everything today, to hang out by the fire, watch movies and get well.   Option Paralysis indeed.   After seeing DEP open for Mastodon, however, I think if anyone could pull off going forward in ALL directions simultaneously, figuratively and literally, they could!

Their groundbreaking 1999 debut full-length, Calculating Infinity, is inarguably the essential technical-metal talisman for the 21st century, melding hardcore’s blinding rage with a musical vision that made most progressive-rock bands sound positively lazy by comparison. Irony Is A Dead Scene, the band’s 2002 collaboration with Mike Patton, maintained their patented extremity while exploring electronic textures. The 2004 follow-up, Miss Machine, (the first record to showcase frontman, Puciato) was a distillation of the band’s work thus far, while including jaw-dropping flirtations with mainstream metal (“Unretrofied”) that further enforced Dillinger’s desire—and ability—to take their music wherever the hell they wanted. 2007’s Ire Works had the band finding inspiration from underground glitch and breakcore electronica, as well as indigenous music genres, in a world seemingly overrun with metalcore bores and screamo trend-hoppers. The Dillinger Escape Plan’s unerring sweat equity has consistently found resonance with listeners on both sides of the stages the band trod upon.
Option Paralysis
marks the beginning of another trajectory in the DEP mythology. After aligning themselves with the renowned Relapse label for most of their career, the band entered into a deal with the French label SEASON OF MIST to put out OPTION PARALYSIS, tagging their new PARTY SMASHER INC label. “We signed a pretty traditional record deal with them for one record,” explains Weinman. “What’s exciting is that Michael [Berberian, SOM label founder] is a really big music fan and has a great understanding of how we operate. He was totally aware of the possibilities and limitations of working with a band like us—he’s not expecting pop hits—and he’s been extremely enthusiastic to dive right in and make it work for everyone.”
Produced by Steve Evetts, Dillinger’s new music is positively abundant with possibilities. Drummer Billy Rymer, whom Weinman describes as “young and hungry,” now occupies the engine room that powers the band. Frontman, Puciato has always had a knack with a bellow that could make reciting a grocery list seem like an exhortation to open the mouth of Hell. But feeling some of the lyrics on Paralysis, you can’t positively determine if the singer is handing down indictments (“Farewell, Mona Lisa”) or feeling emotionally wounded. “This record is concept driven but there is still a very emotional and personal aspect to his lyrics,” says Weinman soberly. “He’s going through transitional stages in his life right now.” Nothing so eloquently supports that statement than the six and-a-half-minute “Widower,” where the band are joined by veteran David Bowie keyboardist Mike Garson for an aural excursion that incorporates piano-trio jazz, tender balladry and anthemic power. While there’s no shortage of DEP plasma-balls on Paralysis (“Room Full Of Eyes,” “Good Neighbor”), the band keep things fresh with the math-rock/free-jazz convergence of “I Wouldn’t If You Didn’t,” the electro-tweaked “Chinese Whispers” and the closing “Parasitic Twins.” The latter track sports lead vocals courtesy of guitarist Tuttle, as well as Beach Boys-styled harmonies and a major-key Weinman solo that’s more Clapton (ca. Derek And The Dominos) than calculus crush. Clearly, this is not your older brother’s Dillinger Escape Plan. “We’re just trying to make music we can be stimulated by,” says Weinman about the assorted directions and sonic vistas on Option Paralysis. “We consider ourselves songwriters, which is kind of odd when you consider the kind of band most would consider us.”

After years of deliberately challenging themselves, as well as the preconceived notions of critics and the strict genre-specific zealots of the world’s underground music scenes, the big question remains: What is the mission of the Dillinger Escape Plan? It’s a question Weinman addresses with equal parts melancholy, unwavering determination and humor. “I’ve been trying for a while to have someone explain that to me,” he says, laughing. “Seriously, Option Paralysis represents why we’re here and why we’re still making music. We started at a time when there wasn’t all this access to the larger world. Our only goal was to make a small dent in the scene that we were in. The fact we’ve made it this far and that we’re still relevant is really special to me. I feel that it is extremely important for bands like us to continue to represent the ethic and attitude that was present during a time that doesn't exist anymore."

“That,” he says, pausing to smile. “And I have to pay my mortgage somehow…”

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mastodon Rocks The Riv 11-11-11

"Curl Of The Burl" has been nominated for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance! The Grammy Awards air on CBS on February 12th at 8/7c.  *This is especially cool (and amusing) since I just did a video interview with Red Fang, who opened for Mastodon in Chicago on 11-11-11, in which Red Fang told me-with straight faces-that they were nearly 100% guaranteed to win a Grammy themselves this year, and that they had the pawn shop already picked out where they'd take it!    Check out the full interview here on ChiIL Live Shows.   

Mastodon will appear on a covers split 7" with Feist some time next year. According to Troy, ""The idea is for Mastodon to cover a Feist song and throw some hair and dirt on it. They're going to take a Mastodon song and pretty it up a little bit." Get more info here!

In early 2012, the band's off the the dark regions of northern Europe to warm the hearts of headbangers in Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.   Then they're off to Belgium, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland, and the U.K. before heading back mid February.

Check out their brand new release that just came out on 11-27-11.   Festive holiday colors even...    They've got vinyl collector options, CDs, DVDs, tusk steins, a freaky Hunter mask, and more on their merch page.
Despite a few fans who think they're leaning a bit too much toward the jam band side, they sounded excellent live and the majority of the packed house seemed to be loving the new material. 

Here's what the band's official biography says:

Mastodon have never really done anything the “conventional” way. The Atlanta-based band formulated their own brand of highly-skilled hard rock over a decade ago when others were rehashing 80s metal, and went on to mastermind a string of complex concept albums while much of the music world was centered on making digestible singles. The fact that Mastodon has received an outpouring of critical kudos along with public praise from respected icons from Metallica to The Melvins, The Flaming Lips and CeeLo Green and back, they’ve been humbled by the magnitude of appreciation. But rather than taking time to revel, they prefer to focus their attention on pushing musical boundaries even deeper by exploring their own creative process to the fullest.

The Hunter is yet another universe bending, high energy masterpiece from the band that helped shape hard rock for the 21st century with their previous albums: Remission, Leviathan, Blood Mountain and Crack the Skye. Though each consecutive album has transcended the one before it in terms of expectations, musical innovation and sales, The Hunter is the band’s most ambitious to date. Guitarist/vocalist Brent Hinds, drummer/vocalist Brann Dailor, bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders and guitarist Bill Kelliher all continue to explore the outer limits of their own imaginations and as a result, deliver an album that stands apart -- even in Mastodon terms. While their last four CDs explored complex themes rooted in earth’s elements, The Hunter is more about following one’s free will than a particular storyline. “We’ve always had this umbrella or a theme that we’ve written everything under,” says Troy. “To us, it made sense as one cohesive story. This time, we freed ourselves up to try something new. It was really the next step for us, and I’m glad we took it.” 
That new-found spontaneity can be felt throughout The Hunter, from the melodic yet pummeling “Blasteroid” to the frenetic, muscled single “Curl the Burl.” The album is full of surprises—from melodic, close harmonies to downright demonic growls—but predictably, the musicianship is leagues beyond what anyone would expect to find on such a hard-hitting album. The Hunter is also the band’s most emotionally charged record to date, largely due to the difficult events that surrounded its making.

Tragically, Brent Hinds’ brother died of a heart attack in December of 2010 while on a hunting trip. Not long after, a friend of the bands died after a drawn out battle with cancer. “There were a lot of stressful things going on while we were making this record,” says Brann. “I wanted to ignore all the stress, which felt like it was threatening our band’s existence. We were kind of waiting to see where everything landed. But Brent didn’t want to sit and wallow in it. He wanted to do the exact opposite. So we started coming up with all these really triumphant moments for the record. It was like, fist up in the air.   And they dedicated the album to Hinds brother, an avid hunter.

The material for the record was largely written on the road when the band was touring with Alice in Chains, and was recorded between Los Angeles and Atlanta over a 6 week period earlier this year. Continuing their tradition of breaking tradition, Mastodon decided to team up with Mike Elizondo, a highly respected producer more synonymous with hip hop than metal. “After meeting him and hearing his ideas and unique perspective on our band we thought ‘This could be really interesting,”” says Brent. “We’re all about doing things that other people don’t, so let’s do an album with the guy who just worked with 50 Cent and Eminem. How crazy is that? We always try and embrace the unexpected.” And again, Mastodons penchant for taking risks paid off.

The Hunter is at once space age yet earthy, aggressive but thoughtful, articulate and guttural. The guitar work here is, of course, masterful as always, as is the band’s ability to flip musical directions on a dime. All of Mastodon contributed to writing the album, and Sanders is now singing on considerably more than on previous recordings (“I never thought I’d be one of the main vocalists . . . on any record,” he laughs.) Following some fine vocal performances on the last album Dailor’s role also as a contributing vocalist has become more prominent on The Hunter as well, adding even greater freedom to the sonic textures and overall expansiveness inherent of the new album.

As an example of the themes behind some of the new songs? They’re best described first hand by Brent and Brann:
Brann on “Curl of the Burl” : It’s about meth heads in the woods of West Virginia who look for certain types of knots in a tree. That would be the curl of the burl. They cut it out of the tree, drive it into town, sell it to furniture makers then go buy more meth. It’s like crackheads who steal copper from Lowes and sell it. We really couldn’t think of a better subject matter. It fascinated us.

Brent on “Blasteroid”: It was the name of a video game that was in the studio where we recorded. We thought it was hilarious—asteroids mixed with hemorrhoids. It had this crazy star that crapped out these asteroid looking thingees. So we mixed that ridiculous name with this sugary melody, then pushed it all up against, uh, somewhat aggressive lyrics. [Sings] ‘I wanna break some fucking glass, I wanna drink some fucking blood . . .’ Fun stuff.

Brann on “Stargasm”: It’s about having sex in space, or maybe not in space, just great sex where the orgasm brings you into space. When we sing ‘You’re on fire!,” I imagine swirling flames around these two people enjoying this sexual experience so good that they end up in outer space. Very Barbarella.

Brent on “The Sparrow”: It’s about Susie Polay our accountant’s wife, who passed away of stomach cancer when we were recording the album. Her motto was pursue happiness with diligence, and that motto became the lyrics to the song. It’s such a pretty song, and it’s so sorrowful as well. It’s in her memory and for her husband Robert, to pass on her inspiration to the listener.

One of the many ways in which Mastodon challenged itself on The Hunter was in simplifying their otherwise complex way of making music. In the past the band thrived on squeezing as much as possible in one space, and then making sense of it. With this record, they challenged themselves to pare back and let the songs breath on their own. The result is an album where sublime interludes prove just as powerful as dense layers of sound. “Our last album Crack The Skye, was such a deep, long record,” says Bill. “It was very heavy. We thought let’s make a spontaneous record based off music that comes off our fingertips in the moment. We didn’t over think it—like Hey, we gotta really dazzle the kids! It’s like let’s not over do it. Just let it fall naturally, and we did.”

By following their instincts, Mastodon has come up with the best record of their career. But then, should we really be all that surprised? Their slow-growing trajectory from flat-broke obscurity to the stages of Coachella, Europe’s Sonisphere and Bonnaroo which has presented Mastodon to an inordinately eclectic cross-section of music fans who have embraced the band as much as any audience who are more interested in the quality of the music rather then fall into the trappings of narrow-mined genre dwellers. This is the result of taking the road less traveled with nothing more than their instincts—and love of a good riff—to guide them. “We can never go in the studio saying we’re gonna make a heavy record because that’s what people expect,” says Brann. “Or a progressive record, because that’s what they want to hear. You can talk all day about what you’ll do artistically, but once you sit down and it starts coming out, you find out it’s not really in your control. Things move in the direction they move in -- much like life. It might not go the way you want, but that’s when great things come out that you had no idea were there. That’s when you tap the unexpected.”

Pay a visit to Mastodon Rocks for upcoming tour dates, songs, videos, etc.  Pay a visit to Mastodon Rocks for upcoming tour dates, songs, videos, etc.   Also, check out the Workhardened Site for a bunch of sweet art by Paul Romano, who did a bunch of their past album art.   He's been a long time friend of close friends of ours.

Red Fang Video Interview and Live Show Shots from The Riviera 11-11-11

It was sweet to meet Red Fang when they recently opened for Mastodon.   The guys are as funny in person as their irreverent, hilarious music videos.   We interviewed the drummer and bass guitarist/vocalist who also happens to be a dad.   It turned out great as we could continue our video series on how creatives parent and how parents create.    It's been pretty amazing to hear insight from touring musicians and theatre people on how parenting influences and seeps into music and art, and how to strike a balance between being there for your family and still creating.

They had me cracking up over their beard band/beer band reputation, plans to pawn their 100% guaranteed metal Grammy , what's the big deal about 11-11-11, and  their wacky, off the wall advice for kids who want to be them.    When they came out on stage, they opened by saying "Tonight's 11-11-11".   The crowd roared.   Then totally deadpan, they continued, "Three a row."    If their music wasn't so freakin' heavy and fun, I'd suggest they hit the comedy circuit.   They're quick with the comebacks, well worth a listen, and even better live.   Here's our past coverage.

We had a birthday party coming up shortly after the show, and they signed a CD for Du-Jay's classmate and long time friend.   The 11 year old was thrilled to see the liner notes where they personalized it to him and wrote "To Judah, Stay metal."    Check out their main page for seriously funny videos, tour dates and merch.   The interview we shot for ChiIL Live Shows is below

RED FANG has announced a handful of headlining dates in addition to their current North American Tour with Mastodon and The Dillinger Escape Plan.  A complete list of dates is listed below.  Additionally, the band is currently sharing war stories from the road via an exclusive tour blog at

Renowned for their sense of humor and penchant for over-the-top music videos, RED FANG has recently finished shooting their eagerly-awaited new clip for Murder The Mountains track "Hank Is Dead". The video was directed by longtime friend of the band, Whitey McConnaughy (THE GOSSIP, MUDHONEY, FLOGGING MOLLY) in Portland, OR. RED FANG has previously worked with McConnaughy on their much-talked-about "Wires" & "Prehistoric Dog" videos that can be seen on their main site.

Additionally, RED FANG have teamed up with Etnies to offer fans and skate enthusiasts the chance to win some amazing gear and memorabilia from both parties.  More details on the contests, including entry forms are available now via and Metal Wreckage.

RED FANG is streaming Murder The Mountains in its entirety at this location. The band recorded Murder The Mountains with THE DECEMBERISTS' Chris Funk and the album was mixed by three-time Grammy Award winner Vance Powell (WHITE STRIPES, THE RACONTEURS). Murder The Mountains is now available on CD, 12" vinyl, and digital download via the official Relapse store or via iTunes.


Nov. 28         Norfolk, VA                    The NorVa          
Nov. 29         Asheville, NC                 Orange Peel           
Nov. 30        Charleston, SC               Jimbo's Rock Lounge        
Dec. 1       Lake Buena Vista, FL     House of Blues           
Dec. 2        Atlanta, GA        Tabernacle     w/ Mastodon, Black Lips, DEP 

**Dec. 3rd - Dec. 10th RED FANG ONLY**

Dec. 3        Baton Rouge, LA    Spanish Moon      
Dec. 4        Houston, TX        Fitzgerald's Downstairs       
Dec. 6        Tucson, AZ        Club Congress   
Dec. 7        San Diego, CA        Soda Bar   
Dec. 8        Sacramento, CA    Blue Lamp        
Dec. 10      Portland, OR        Wonder Ballroom    
April 12     Tilburg, Holland    Roadburn Festival      

For more info on RED FANG please visit:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ace Frehley at HOB-11-9-2011

The Kiss Army is alive and well and swelling in numbers.   And all the Chi-Town recruits were at HOB earlier this month, proudly wearing their vintage Kiss Tee's and even bringing along the next generation.

Even though Ace Frehley gave up his face makeup long ago, some fans, fondly paid tribute to their childhood idols with the full deal--or in this fan's case, half and half.   


ChiIL Live Shows even spotted action figure Ace, swinging from the reserved balcony box seats!

As a child of the 70's, I remember Kiss well.   They had all Kiss days at the local amusement park, where their music blasted from every speaker in the park.   And every face painting booth at every school carnival featured their iconic face paint as a popular option.   It was front page news when the band was first photographed without their black and white paint.  I still have some crazy platform boots with ginormous metal heels, that Dug calls my Kiss Army boots.   Kiss is still in rotation today on our ipods, and the punk kin love their stuff as much as we did at their age.

When I got press access to shoot the show, I wasn't sure what to expect, but Ace has still got more than a few picks up his sleeves and brought the house down with eardrum bursting rock.   

He played loads of old Kiss classics along with his own later material.  He has an excellent backing band and an enthusiastic fan base.  



But Ace still holds his own as more than a nostalgia act.   Sure, Kiss had more flash, with their pyrotechnics and larger than life costumes.  

But what Ace lacks now in spectacle, he make up for in substance.  His show shocked me and made me feel better.

The Last Vegas open for Ace Frehley & The Biters at HOB-11-9-2011

Check out music videos from The Last Vegas here.   They rock hard live and every one of them is seriously photogenic.   They were a pleasure to shoot and I'd go see them again in a second.   We hope to have a review of their latest release up soon.



AOL’s NoiseCreep ( released The Last Vegas new Video / Single, the “Other Side” earlier this month.  

Legendary cult actress and ‘Scream Queen’, Sybil Danning (Howling II, Halloween, Werewolf Women of the SS) stars in and produces this classic piece of Americana trash rock cinema.  Check it out.

After 3 years of extensive touring with some of rock's biggest acts (Motley Crue, AC/DC, Buckcherry, New York Dolls), THE LAST VEGAS are back in action with their latest single, "The Other Side".

That's right THE LAST VEGAS are offering three songs for free download at their website Head over there now and check out "The Other Side", "Evil Eyes" and "It Ain't Easy".  

The physical EP was just released this week on November 22nd.   THE LAST VEGAS' previous full-length, "Whatever Gets You Off" was one of iTunes Top 15 Rock Albums of the Year (2009) alongside Pearl Jam, The Dead Weather, Them Crooked Vultures and The Black Crowes. 

The debut single, "I'm Bad", hit over 300 thousand downloads on iTunes in the first week and was named iTunes Rock Single of the Year.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Supersuckers LIVE at Reggie's Rock Club 11-7-11

Dbl click slide show for full screen and other options

I saw The Supersuckers a number of times back in BC--that would be before children--and their shows were always a rockin' good time.   Kiss might have been "The Hottest Band in the Land" but The Supersuckers are the unabashedly self declared "Greatest Rock-n-Roll Band in the World".   Welcome back boys.

Excerpt from frontman/bass player, Eddie, on The Supersuckers main page:
My son Quattro says the next thing they will invent for phones will be the ability to teleport yourself anywhere you want to be. Now THAT would rule! No more long drives for me - I'd be at home every night, sleeping in my own bed, waking up with my kids and having a day at home before heading off to "work" at night. Just think of the havoc that would reign down upon the travel industries! No more airlines! No more cars! Ah, I can't wait... That's gonna be fantastic.

Parents rock and rockers parent.   I know my own punk kin would love to see a teleportation phone invented, too!

Here's the story of The Supersucker's start: 
Our story is almost impossible to believe. This band is literally a human cartoon. We all grew up among the dead-ends and cactus needles of Tucson, Arizona and have known each other since grade school. We graduated from the same high school together at the same time (a school immortalized in our song “Santa Rita High”) and we chose to play in a band together because we liked to hang out together, not because we were great musicians or anything. I truly believe that a band is defined by their limitations, that what they can’t (or won’t) do is just as important as what they can do. I guess that, in this era of pre-fabricated, put-together-to-have-a-hit bands, we’re kind of an aberration and I gotta tell ya that that makes us smile a little every day.

We formed the band in 1988 and we were initially a five piece called The Black Supersuckers ( a name found in some quality “adult literature” we had laying around in our impeccably clean band house!), with me on bass, Dan “Thunder” Bolton and Rontrose Heathman on guitars, Dancing Eagle on drums and a lead singer by the name of Eric Martin. After firmly proving ourselves to be the best band in town we decided it was time to get out of Tucson and try our luck somewhere else. So we tossed a coin with heads as New Orleans and tails as Seattle. Tails it was and in May of “89 we packed up and went north.

We had no idea that Seattle was about to become “Rock Mecca USA”, we just wanted to go somewhere where we could wear our leather jackets a little more often. It was exciting and encouraging to see all of the great bands there, doing their own thing and making some kick-ass, aggressive rock-n-roll that we could relate to, so we started recording immediately. After some classic “creative differences” with our lead singer, we decided to try it as a four piece with yours truly as the singer (I was the only one who knew all the words) and The Supersuckers, as you may or may not know them today, were born.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Nashville Pussy LIVE at Reggie's Rock Club 11-7-11

Double click slide show for full screen and other options

Despite a cold downpour and a Monday night slot, fans came out in droves to see Nashville Pussy and The Supersuckers do their thing, LIVE at Reggie's Rock Club this week.   These accomplished musicians all bring it, live.    And we love bands with a sense of humor.   Husband/ wife team, Blaine and Ruyter, have an undeniable chemistry on stage, despite copious flirting with the audience.

Karen Cuda at Bottom Lounge, Chicago

We missed their bass player, Karen Cuda, and wish her speedy recovery.    She's out with an arm injury.   The good news was, Supersucker's own frontman/ bass player, Eddie Spaghetti, jumped in to fill the void.   Yeah, OK, he's not as hot as Karen, but that boy can play.

Back when Nashville Pussy opened for The Dwarves at Bottom Lounge in August, ChiIL Mama snagged their latest release to review and one for our readers.   One lucky fan got the Dwarves DVD/CD and NP's new CD, From Hell to Texas.   We highly recommend it for catchy riffs, and amusing lyrics.    That said, this is not the CD you want little Logan and Madison belting out in preschool!    As you can see from the set list, their tunes are not for the kindie kin.   Save it for your teens or your alone time.    I crank it in the car after elementary school drop off.   

We'll be reviewing and giving away a zillion new alt-punk-rock-folk-funk CDs for the way underagers leading up to the holidays (and X and New York Dolls DVDs for the rest of you).   But, From Hell to Texas is some good ol' raunchy, kid inappropriate fun.   From our experience, no one needs that more than people who spend their days with dependents who are...well, dependent...on you.   At the show I was front and center with a couple parents of an 8 year old, enjoying a night out.   We also ran into our friend Dan, who has been with Spin Magazine for years, and is a Chi-Town Dad of 3 young boys.   And I'm sure we were not the only ones.    We're big fans of "life doesn't end with birth".   Parents get to have a life, too.   
Here's Nashville Pussy's bio from their site:

True rock n' roll doesn't require definition. It's self-explanatory based on a gut feeling and the unconditional devotion to the musical genre. Nashville Pussy have celebrated their brand of genuine rock n' roll for more than a decade, in classic style at times, surprising at others, but always earthy, raw and unadulterated. 

Band mastermind Blaine Cartwright (vocals, guitar), his wife Ruyter Suys (guitar), Karen Cuda (bass) and Jeremy Thompson (drums) poured their heart and soul into the latest rock release, entitled From Hell To Texas, which saw the band hone their most impressive recording to date alongside the non stop touring, from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Europe, Japan, and almost a year straight with the Reverend Horton Heat, "We allowed ourselves this time to give the songs the chance to turn out as perfect as possible," Cartwright explains. "We kept playing the new tracks at our rehearsal room until they really clicked. I feel they're heavier and grittier than previous releases. The whole creative process took three long years, but the result has been worth the trouble."

Their songs are mostly about fun and good times, but occasionally – as in the case of 'Late Great USA' – they also stick the finger into an open wound. "Although Blaine's comical and satyrical themes mostly prevail on From Hell To Texas, there are two or three numbers which deal with more serious subjects. 'Late Great USA' is a political song, we simply had to vent our anger at certain grievances in this country."

For some big kid, AKA:  adult fun, check out Nashville Pussy's main site here for CD and tour info.    Also, check out our very own sister site, for loads of give aways, theatre and music reviews, upcoming events, live show videos and video band interviews.   We feature cool, family friendly fun and 17+ shows, too.   ChiIL out with ChiIL Mama (2 ii's and 1 L just like our favorite city & state).    Check out ChiIL Mama like we vote in Chi, IL...early and often.
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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Loyal Divide LIVE at Empty Bottle-Vinyl Release Party 11-4-11

Dbl click the slide show for full screen and other options

Loyal Divide rocked Empty Bottle Friday night, coming off a tour to promote their new, blue vinyl release, Bodice Ripper.    These newcomers are ones to watch.   Their high intensity, live show got the crowd going and their first release has been met enthusiastically by fans and critics alike.   

Here's what their label, Kilo Records has to say about their boys & last Friday's show:


Local Pyshedeclic Rockers, Loyal Divide hit the stage this Friday at the cities best venue Empty Bottle, for their Bodice Ripper Vinyl Release Show.  Their much anticipated debut LP  was released on October 4th, via Kilo Records, and is available via iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, at your local record store, and more.  The band spent October celebrating with a full Midwest/East Coast Tour, and are returning to Chicago for their first venue performance since May.  Joining the group with be punk rockers Lasers & Fast & Shit, as well as Verma.  This night surely has on hand some of the best Chicago talent coming up in the city right now.

Vinyl includes a free CD with bonus track
For purchase information, future tour dates, etc. check out

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Toasters LIVE at Sub-T On 11-3-11

Dbl Click Slideshow for full screen and other options

NY Ska legends, The Toasters, rocked Sub-T last Thursday on their 30th Anniversary Tour.   They played to a packed house and appreciative audience.    We had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed the horns in particular.   I've told my kids they can grow up to be anything they want to be, but...if they really wanna make mama happy, they'll take up sax and play in a ska, punk, or heavier edged least part time :).   In the meantime, I'll be happily wearing my black Toasters Tee.

Musical Taste: 
The Toasters also have their own brew, now.   What better to toast to 30 years of sweet NY SKA with?!   They also have the honor of being first in ChiIL Mama's "Musical Taste" series.   Seems it's the hot new thang now to have band-beer pairings and other odd foods, restaurants, etc.   If you hear of any ways to ingest and express your musical taste with something you can taste, add them in the comments section or e-mail 'em our way at

30th Anniversary Ska Brewing Beer!
Here's what The Toaster have to say about the brouhaha: 

If you haven't heard already, we now have our own beer! That's right. Durango, CO. based brewing company, Ska Brewing, have crafted a fine Black Indian Pale Ale (how can it be black and pale at the same time!?! ed.) "The Shebeen" ! In honor of our 30 years in the ska music making business. Currently it is available in select states around the Colorado area. Please ask for Ska Brewing where ever you drink! We love this beer! 

Also, the guys cooked up a nice little video about the process as well...

We will be having an official kick off release this September in Durango, so check back for more details!

Check our FaceBook for photos of the beer and the label image! 

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