Wednesday, November 10, 2010

An AT&T electrician, a CD/DVD replicator, a grocery store manager and a full-time musician by day, The Methadones by night

My favorite band to see live announced it was calling it quits this past June. The Methadones will play its final show this Saturday, 11/13 at Reggie's Rock Club in Chicago with The Soviettes, The Copyrights and The Jetty Boys. I've never had such a conflicted set of feelings for a show in my life. I have seen The Methadones over 20 times, more than any other band. Ever. I've made friends at their shows, met significant others at their shows and all-around had way too much fun singing along to Dan Schafer's infectious pop tunes (and had an indiscernible number of guitarist Mike Byrne's grey picks stuck to my forehead after being in his mouth. And spit at me, for that matter). Seriously though, no other guitar player will encourage you to flip things up on stage (guitar picks, bottle caps, etc...) and into his mouth while playing a song.

My hetero-life mate, Jerry Cola (who I befriended after many-a-Methadones-show years ago) and I have been yelled at and had things thrown at us by drummer Mike Soucy for stealing Byrne's microphone at past Beat Kitchen shows and drunkenly singing with our favorite songwriter, Dan Schafer. Pretty much every time, it's a blast to talk to bassist Pete Mittler. Most of the times, he's hammered and says things to me like, "I hope I remember this song" or "I'm not gonna fuckin' remember this song." This past June in Baltimore, he's even condensed it down to, "I'm drunk. Shit, we go on soon." But he's always pulled through, and it rocked. I've seen The Methadones have really, really good nights and I've seen them have off nights. I've seen them play venues that are no longer venues (first Bottom Lounge on Belmont Ave. and School St., Stage 83 in Lemont, etc...). I've seen them play dives. I've seen them play huge stages. I've seen them in Illinois. I've seen them multiple times in Maryland. I've seen them go through lineup changes. I've seen them revert back to the old lineup. I've seen those guys on the wagon and I've seen them off the wagon. I've seen them play Riverdales songs. I've seen them play Sludgeworth songs and I'm pretty sure I even saw them take a crack at a Screeching Weasel song before the whole Weasel get-back-together thing (it was The Methadones or The Mopes at the Beat Kitchen in 2006, I can't recall). I've lost my voice a lot, dealt with a combined total of weeks of ringing ears and have been overly tired the following day because of this band. And I wouldn't change a thing about it. Except for maybe wearing earplugs sooner.

The first time I saw The Methadones play was June 12, 2005 at the old Bottom Lounge. They were opening for The Lawrence Arms, a band whose live shows I was also pretty new to at the time. A Wilhelm Scream also played that show. That was during the band's Thick Records days: a label that treated them like shit, skipped out on any forms of payment and from what I understand, ultimately ignored any and all of the band's attempts to contact them. "Not Economically Viable" had been out for about 7 months and I was completely oblivious to anything Methadones. I didn't know that that Sunday, the day Mike Tyson announced his retirement from boxing, would be the first time I would see one of my future favorite bands and be the start of a few new friendships at shows and outside of shows.

I headed back to the car my ma let me borrow that day - or to the Metra - hooked. I couldn't take my eyes off their guitar player, Mike Byrne. He was running back and forth across the stage like a fucking madman and I'm pretty sure he was intoxicated and/or on something. He was pogo-ing like crazy and I thought, "Man; these are some pretty poppy hooks but if this guy is that into it, there must be something more. They must be worth checking out." That's exactly what I did when I got home. I checked 'em out. I fell in love with his lead guitar on songs like "Mess We Made" and especially, "I'm About To Crack." I told my best friend from high school, "You gotta check these guys out with me, you'll LOVE them" and it became a thing between me and that friend to catch The Methadones whenever they played Chicago and its surrounding suburbs.

I started a zine called Squid Pro Quo in January of 2008 after I discovered my passion for writing and then actually getting published. Frustrated with various music publications not publishing me (but moreso, my unwillingness to try over and over again only to be rejected or even worse, ignored), a light bulb clicked on in my head and I said, "Fuck it" and decided to start my own zine. It didn't sell all that well, but online, it got and still gets a lot of hits and I interviewed some pretty fuckin' cool musicians (Joe Queer, Dan Schafer, Mike Byrne, Derek Grant, Mikey Erg!, Jess Margera, etc...). Anyways, this isn't about the zine, it's about The Methadones. My favorite outlet with the zine was each issue's column by Mike Byrne. I'd e-mail him, knowing that he always had something funny to say and always had a story to tell whenever I saw him in person (I remember this one time at a show before I knew him, he and a friend of his were drunk and we were both wearing white T-shirts. His had a front pocket and mine didn't. He put his arm around me and pointed out the fact that had my shirt had a front pocket, we'd be matching. Then he told me to work on that).

He wrote me two columns and they are my favorite and most fun articles I published. The first one was an article he wrote in 2008 about meatheads. The second one, which he wrote in 2009, was published in the print copy of Squid Pro Quo issue #2, and tells all about The Methadones' European Tour, mainly detailing all the joints and weed that accompanied them and telling fun anecdotes about the drummer just deciding to end "Annie" in the middle of the song and so on (I gotta type that one up and post it).

Sometime in the next couple of days, Mike Byrne will submit a third piece chronicling The Methadones' 10-year run.

Thinking about this Saturday, I'm flooded with butting emotions. I'm as happy as I was when I was a teenager looking forward to jumping around, getting drunk and singing along, losing my voice and yelling for them to play "Transistor Radio" and "Bottom Out" (the latter of which I don't think I've ever heard live). At the same time, I'm bummed. I'm really, genuinely bummed that this will be the last time I will experience The Methadones. No other band since June 12, 2005 has made an impression on me quite like The Methadones did. That's not to say I haven't gotten really into any bands since then, but The Methadones were and are unique. The four-piece are all very different personalities with their own unique lives, and they've always set that aside and collaborated to play these songs. My relationship with each of them as friends has changed how I initially viewed them, but only for the better. As I've grown up and played in my own bands, I've shared bills with Pete, I've hung out with Mike Byrne, had beers with Dan (while being too afraid I'd come off as just another obnoxious, attention-starved pop punk fan) and engaged in some things I cannot publicly speak of with Mike Byrne now that I really think about it.

It will be a bummer knowing that part of my teenage years/early 20s is gone. Fortunately for me, the guys of The Methadones all have different musical prospects going on so the good thing is, I won't lose out on the music they make. Dan Schafer's in Screeching Weasel, The Riverdales and Noise By Numbers, Mike Byrne is in Cliff Johnson and the Happy Jacks, Pete Mittler plays in Explode and Make Up, The Bomb and The Neutron Bombs and Mike Soucy plays in The Bomb. I'm excited as I will ever be to see The Methadones one last time at Reggie's this Saturday, but I'd be a liar if I said I wasn't bummed out as well.

Former Marilyn Manson Guitarist Opens Black Hearts Bar & Grill in West Chicago, IL

Former Marilyn Manson and Life, Sex & Death guitarist, Zim Zum -
legally known as Timothy Michael Linton - is opening a restaurant
tomorrow in West Chicago called Black Hearts Bar & Grill.
The guitarist played in Marilyn Manson from 1996-1998. According to
his Wikipedia page, he was one of 150 applicants for the spot and one
of 15 to actually audition. His first music video appearance was in
Marilyn Manson's 1996 single, "The Beautiful People." He traveled with
the band during its 1996-1997 "Dead To the World" tour and played
guitar on the 1998 album, "Mechanical Animals." After parting ways
with Marilyn Manson, Linton told Guitar World Magazine that playing in
Marilyn Manson opened up new door and opportunities for him in music.
His current projects are Pleistoscene and The Pop Culture Suicides.
His restaurant's website, has no information as
of yet other than it is opening its doors tomorrow, Thursday, November
11. On Saturday, November 13, a band called Sik Fiction is set to
play, featuring ex-Chainwax singer, Kris Radousky.
Black Hearts Bar & Grill is located at 124 Main Street in West
Chicago, IL. I'll probably grab some lunch there sometime next week
while on break. I'm envisioning a black metal atmosphere with a
jukebox full of metal albums, old and new. I'm stoked to try it and
wondering what beer they'll have on tap. If they have buffalo wings,
it'll make my day. If they have a special on them, I probably won't go
back into work.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

cKy Q&A with drummer, Jess Margera

cKy is playing the Clearwater Theater (96 W Main St. West Dundee, IL)
Thursday, November 4 with Lionize, HourCast and Flames of Icarus.
Doors are at 6:30 p.m. Show's at 7. Admission is $18. The band's most
recent single, "The Afterworld," was featured on the Jackass 3-D
soundtrack this year.

Q&A with Jess Margera, drummer of cKy

Squid Pro Quo: So cKy's on tour. Will you guys be releasing a new album soon?

Jess Margera: "We put one out last year, but we did just release a new
single on the Jackass 3-D soundtrack. It's been doing awesome. Movie
made $50 million its first weekend, it's crazy. Our new single, "The
Afterworld," plays as soon as the credits roll. Epitaph Records
released the soundtrack. There's also an iTunes single with a b-side."

SPQ: Have you ever played the Clearwater Theater before?

JM: "I think the closest we've done was Freeport, IL. I think it's near
Iowa maybe. Everyone says Clearwater is cool and small. We played the
House of Blues in Chicago last year. Today we're playing Flint, MI
kind of near Detroit. This place is awesome. The venue we're playing
is called The Machine Shop. There's all these motorcycles in the
place. It's fuckin' cool. The Clutch guys told me about this place.
I'm a huge fan of them. I started a band with singer (of Clutch) and a
guy from Fu-Manchu. We did a record last year. Those guys have been
touring since 1990 or something, so they know every good spot in
America. Whenever I'm playing a tour, I always ask them for tips. So
for years, they said this Flint, MI machine shop was fucking good.
It's my first time here."

SPQ: When you play your songs live, are they pretty true to the
recordings or do you guys venture out a bit?

JM: "I have friends say, 'I love cKy records' but you don't understand
cKy till you've seen us play live. It's a little more raw, a little
more crazy. Our fans appreciate the polished sound of album but live
is where it's at. So that's the best compliment I could get. That's
when you know you're a true live band. I can't stand all the bands
that play the tracks exactly and have all those drunk triggers. That's
whats wrong with rock. When we go on tour with bands, I'm not going to
name names but like, you'll catch their set and be like, 'this is
awesome,' and then they tell the same stories and same jokes. I guess
it works cause each town thinks they have their own witty jokes. But
on tour, it's like, 'ah shut the fuck up,' you know? We did Warped
Tour and Ice-T was on that. He kept saying, 'I'm no longer Ice-T. I'm
Ice-Motha-Fuckin-T, bitch.' The first few times it's awesome, but it
was like, 'if he tells that joke one more time, I'm gonna strangle him.'
He's a repetitive joke-telling dude, but he's cool as hell."

SPQ: I heard you guys have your own studio?

JM: "Chad (I. Ginsburg, guitarist) does. We put out an album last year
("Carver City," 2009) through Roadrunner Records that we recorded at
his place. It's called Studio CIG in Pennsylvania. It's on the
Delaware River. The last few records we did before "Carver City" we did
at random studios in L.A. and Hawaii and shit but there, you're on the
clock and you gotta watch your money and shit like that. When we're at
our studio, we don't have to worry about that. We can experiment like
crazy. If it takes six hours to get the right sound, then it takes six
hours. It's a pretty cool thing."

SPQ: Will there be a music video accompanying "The Afterworld?"

JM: "As soon as we get back from this tour, we're going to do that. All
I heard is that there was going to be girls and Bam (Margera) might be
the devil and it's going to be set in hell. Everybody's gonna be
raging in hell. It sounds like it's going to be fun. Hot girls and

SPQ: I read you filmed part of Jackass 3-D.

JM: "I filmed a couple of the days, but it's typical that they just cut
it out. I did a skit before where me and my brother were in this
shady-ass, murderer-looking van and we put Ryan Dunn in a plastic bag
with fake blood in it and we beat the hell out of him with rubber crow
bars and threw him in a dumpster and peeled out. The other cameramen
got people's reactions by the dumpster. It was so fuckin' funny. One
of the best skits of film but the test audiences thought it was too
real so that got cut out. I did some other stuff for Jackass 2 and
that got cut out. You can see me for like 2 seconds. They got me with
that invisible man thing. Wee Man dressed in camo. Whatever the
background is, they painted him like the background. My dad was in his
office and he has this weird-looking wall, so they painted Wee Man to
look like his wall. My dad's like, 'Jess, come here, I need you to
sign some paperwork.' I'm going down the stairs and Wee Man grabs me.
It's a fucked up thing when an invisible man grabs you, when you're
not paying attention. I do that every fucking day, you know. But that
day, I feel this midget grab me. My reaction was crazy. They'll use
that later I guess. But the movie's really good. We're stoked to be a
part of it. We've been friends with those guys for ages and they went
3-D on the new one. Now I realize those movies were basically made to
be 3-D. There's nothing like seeing someone get pissed on in 3-D."

SPQ: Your video idea reminds me of a video I saw on Beavis and
Butthead. What if cKy made it to Beavis and Butthead? I heard Mike
Judge is bringing it back.

JM: "I used to watch that show as a teenager and actually heard of a
lot of bands I'm into now because of that show."

SPQ: What if they trash talked your video?

JM: "As long as they're watching it and talking about it, that's great.
I saw them ditch a Ween video and then praise a different one. I dig
that video, and I checked out their record after that."

SPQ: You guys toured New Zealand and Australia in August. What was the
response like and how was the tour?

JM: "We flew from England to Hong Kong then to Auckland, New Zealand.
It was the most brutal flight ever. The entire trip was completely
around the Earth so it was close to 30,000 miles of flying. When I got
home, I had no idea what day it was; no idea what was going on. I
slept for two days straight. Pure jet lag. The shows were awesome,
man. It's worth the flight once you get there. If I didn't see another
airport for 10 years, I'd be totally fine with that. I just want to
stick to the continent and drive. I don't care if I have to get to
Alaska, I'll fucking figure it out. But I had such a great time. The
crowds are amazing. It's just cool because not to diss rap or country,
but it's just all rock there man. Purely rock n' roll. There's hardly
any rap or hip-hop, just rock. And you know, when you go into clubs
and there's that dance shit. But I'll take that over a lot of country
and rap. All of that stuff is terrible in my opinion. There's good
country and good rap. But there's a lot of bad country and bad rap. I
dig the early Wu-Tang shit. Old school."

SPQ: cKy the band and cKy the skateboard videos came out roughly the
same time. Which came first?

JM: "We did the first album ('cKy: Volume 1') then the skateboard videos.
They came out at the same time and were both called cKy. That guy
Spike Jonze saw it and wanted to put cKy stuff with this other company
called Big Brother. That's what Jackass is; cKy and Big Brother people
doing their thing. With Spike Jonze behind the camera, you can do no
wrong. I haven't see 'Where the Wild Things Are' yet. I heard it was

SPQ: I read you're going to release a box set in the future.

JM: "That's the plan because we're lucky enough that Chad has a studio
pretty much at our disposal. It's been 15 years, so we just have a
massive amount of stuff built up from radio sessions to demo versions,
b-sides and all kinds of stuff floating around that's pretty rad and I
think now's the time to get it out there. We have so many concerts
recorded from Japan, England and Holland too. We're sitting on this
massive amount of stuff that needs to see the light of day. I'm
excited about it, man."

SPQ: Do you guys have a label in mind set to release that?

JM: "There are so many options nowadays. It's pretty cool. You can kind
of just work with a distributor. When you're a band like us that's
self-sufficient and you don't need tour support money, there's almost
no reason to have a label anymore. If you know what you're doing, you
just get a distributor, a public relations person, press and there you

2010 cKy Tour Dates

11/1: Flint, MI @ The Machine Shop
11/2: Cleveland, OH @ Peabody’s
11/4: West Dundee, IL @ Clearwater Theater
11/5: Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave II
11/6: Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock
11/7: Iowa City, IA @ The Blue Moose Tap House
11/8: Louisville, KY @ Headliners Music Hall
11/10: Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theatre
11/11: Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
11/12: Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Chance
11/13: Towson, MD @ Recher Theatre

YOU GUYS!!! Svengoolie is coming to Elgin!

I got really excited this morning when I read that WCIU's seven-time Emmy-award winning Svengoolie is coming to Elgin.

Legally known as Rich Koz, Svengoolie will be signing autographs and gracing Elgin with his presence from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, at The Hemmens Cultural Center, 200 N. Spring St. Svengoolie introduced me not only to the bizarre town of Berwyn, Ill., via television, but also cult classics like "The Car" (1977) and movies I later bought on DVD such as "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" and "Attack of the Killer Shrews."

I got twice as excited when I found out what was going on at 8 p.m. at The Hemmens -- an interactive showing of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show!"

I've always wanted to attend one of these, but only select theaters do them, and I was always discouraged because I'd have to drive out just before midnight to catch one, and it was expensive, and yadda yadda yadda. I have no excuse to miss this one, though, 'cause it will be practically in my backyard. People are encouraged to dress up for a costume contest too, which should be interesting. I kind of want to dress up as Svengoolie, hang out in the lobby closer to the entrance and see if anyone asks me for an autograph or a picture.

On the musical side of things, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" has an incredible soundtrack.

About seven years ago, I bought a compilation put out by Springman Records called "The Rocky Horror Punk Rock Show," which offered covers of the original soundtrack by pop punk bands like Elgin's own Apocalypse Hoboken, Chicago's Alkaline Trio and others.

Anyway. Rocky Horror tickets are $7 and can be bought at The Hemmens website or by calling its box office at 847-931-5900. See that website for more details as well.

-- Jason Duarte, Freelance Writer

Link to story:

ESO: Fun for more than just the family

At 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra will present a Halloween "Spook-tacular," the first part of the ESO Family Fun Series.

The orchestra will perform John Williams' music for the Harry Potter films. Tickets to each show in the Family Fun Series are $45 per adult and $30 per child.

Randal Swiggum will conduct the "Sppok-tacular" at the Hemmens Theatre, which seats 1,200 patrons. Swiggum joined the Elgin Symphony Orchestra in the 2005-2006 season as its education conductor. He works with the education and artistic departments in designing, developing, administering and evaluating all education and community engagement programs offered by the Elgin Symphony Orchestra.

Swiggum also conducts the annual Kidz Konzerts, a Music In the Middle program that takes place in April. According to the Elgin Symphony Ochestra website, Swiggum is very active in music education and enjoys a diverse teaching career that has spanned first grade general music, high school choir, college orchestra, music theory and conducting. He is also the music director of the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra.

There are three concerts in the ESO Family Fun Series. The other two are "Bring On the Brass" at the end of January and "Beethoven Superhero" in April.

-- Jason Duarte, Freelance Writer

Link to story:

Elginites The Brokedowns and Bust! host release in Chicago

Remember that band from our awesome city I was talking about a few weeks back? You should. They were called The Brokedowns.


All went as planned, and the band's debut album on Red Scare Records, "Species Bender," was released Tuesday, Sept. 14. This Saturday, Sept. 25, The Brokedowns will be hosting a release show for "Species Bender" at Ronny's (2101 N. California Ave.) in Chicago with fellow Elginites, Bust!, Vacation Bible School and The House That Gloria Vanderbilt and Double Bird, from Minneapolis.

It gets more like a party, now that I think of it; the show is a double record-release gig for both The Brokedowns and Bust! The Brokedowns have "Species Bender" (if I may be so redundant), but Bust! also is releasing "Suck Kuts" on a 10-inch LP.

I hope The Brokedowns play "I'm a Ritual" and "Done With Funk" off the new album. Actually, I hope they play the bass intro to "I'm a Ritual" before every song, and also at the end of every song, cause it rules. Anyway.

The show starts at 8 p.m. and is 21+. Go show Elgin's sound some love.


* The Brokedowns

* Bust!

* Vacation Bible School

* The House That Gloria Vanderbilt

* Double Bird

-- Jason Duarte, Freelance Writer

Link to story:

BREAKING: Mad Maggie's to close, reopen Friday with new name, management

I found out yesterday that Mad Maggie's is no more. In fact, the signs are being taken down today.

But that doesn't mean there will be a lack of music.

After one of the Mad Maggie's owners, Ted Kurita, bought out his partner Sean Davis, the place is in need of new management, said Evie Ferrie, former co-manager of The Gasthaus. Ferrie and former Gasthaus co-manager Larry Herman met with Kurita, who them an offer to be his partners. They accepted and will be managing what is to be called The Hangout, opening Friday and taking the place of Mad Maggie's.

The Gasthaus, in need of new management, will continue hosting live music. All the shows that were booked into December by Ferrie and Herman will happen.

"Some of the bartenders will be following me," Ferrie said.

At The Hangout, Ferrie and Herman will hire a new staff and make a lot of changes.

So what does this mean for music in Elgin? Nothing bad. It's change, and a breath of new life for the local music scene.

"We plan to have an underground area that Fil will bartend for us here Sunday through Thursday - a punk hangout," Ferrie said.

There will be live bands on any of those days downstairs. Ferrie hopes to bring in bigger acts with The Hangout's 1,000-patron capacity.

On Fridays, they plan to have teen dance parties for 17-20 year olds. On Saturdays, they'll have bands early and DJs late. Ferrie said they want to focus more on the food as well. The upstairs of The Hangout will be sports-themed.

"In October, we hope to open for lunch with a buffet and a pizza place inside," Ferrie said.

So long as the rock 'n' roll doesn't stop, I'm a happy guy.

-- Jason Duarte, Music Blogger

Link to story: