Friday, April 27, 2012

Music Reviews: Dan Vapid & The Cheats/Jetty Boys Split

When The Methadones broke up in 2010 after a 10 year run, a dark cloud loomed over the Chicago punk scene. One of our cities most beloved bands was no more. Then out of the bands ashes came Dan Vapid & The Cheats, and all it seems is right with the world once again. Everything we loved about pop punk and power pop is all wrapped up in this neat little package. Now hot on the heels of the bands self titled debut full length is their 7" split with Sheboygan, WI trio Jetty Boys. The release has 2 songs by each band. And truth be told, 3 of the 4 songs are damn good!

Side A kicks off with The Cheats track "One More Chance". If I didn't know it, I wouldn't have guessed this was Dan Vapid singing at first. Not that this is a bad thing. With this band Dan is bringing different styles of singing and playing to the table, and that is what sets The Cheats apart from so many one dimensional bands. This track has a super catchy chorus with some great harmonizing by the band. The playing is clean and powerful, as you would expect from such a killer line-up of players. The second track is a cover of the Pointed Sticks tune "Part Of The Noise". Even though The Cheats write and play some of the best original songs, they also play a mean cover! This is gotta one of the BEST covers Dan has ever recorded. It's just a true gem of a track. Guitarist Mike Byrne, bassist Simon Lamb and drummer Mike Soucy are playing tight and are having fun along the way. Such a great bunch of musicians, these guys are probably my favorite Chicago band next to Naked Raygun. And THAT is not bad company to keep.

Side B is all about the Jetty Boys and their brand of Wisconsin punk rock. I've had the chance to see this band live, and the energy is there and so are the playing chops. But at times I felt that the band was a third rate Green Day clone. Now that was the one time I saw them, so I went into this split with an open mind and open ears. The first track "Not Even Close" kicks off with a truly infectious guitar riff that would make even the most seasoned punk rock vet wish they would have come up with this line. The song is really good with more catchy sing along lines and chorus. The playing is tight and the production top notch. After hearing this track I wanna go back and listen to the bands other material. I am very much impressed. Now onto track 2, "Jimmy". To say it's not the best track on this release would be nice. But, it IS only a 2 track release by this band, so I won't be too hard on them. It DOES have an early 90's Green Day feel to it complete with singer/guitarist Drew pulling off his best Billie Joe style of singing. Again, I don't wanna trash this band, since I did truly enjoy the first track. I just wanna hear more songs with a less GD feel to em. But all in all I was impressed by this bands sound and passion for playing high energy pop punk. And I look forward to hearing more from them in the future.

4/5 stars

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Music News: New Lili Champ, Pool Party Music Videos

Ahhh, the weather's getting nicer, the new music is flowing out in mass quantities, the spring/summer shows are going on sale and NEW music videos are being released! And Lili Champ and Pool Party are just 2 of the new bands who have brand spanking new music videos out right now.

First up is the Lili Champ video for their single "Entrecerros". The song is featured on the bands newest release "Vientos". The video is a performance clip and is sung in Spanish. But like I've said before, if the music is good and you can feel it in your soul, it doesn't matter if it's in pig latin! Lili Champ hail from Santiago, Chile and are fast becoming one of this writers favorite new bands. If you like pop punk and are into bands like The Loved Ones and Dear Landlord, you'll like these guys. Check em out at....

Next up is the first video from Pool Party entitled "Raised By Wolves". The singe will be featured on the bands new 7" "Teenage Weirdo" coming out very soon on Mooster Records. The video is cool and funny and really just has to be seen to get the full effect. This Miami quartet are really talented and are a blast. Hell, the name really says it all! Be on the lookout for the 7". It'll sell out fast!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Interview with Sonny Vincent

Critical Mass: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass, Sonny. I've been a fan for more years than I can count and this interview is greatly appreciated. I know you're heading out on tour in a couple of days, and hitting stops in Europe as well as the U.S. until June. Will we be seeing more shows after this particular run of gigs?

SV: Yeah Chris- I am nearly packed and out the door.. so I will have to make brief answers to your questions with less ground breaking concepts and philosophical insights than usual. As far as touring I will probably keep it to a minimum. The tour we are about to do has some long ‘hell drives’ and that can be fun but also boring….everyone goes a little bit insane on those drives.

CM: The band on this tour is billed as Sonny Vincent and the Bad Reaction. Can you tell us who's playing with you this time around?
And how did you get together with the band?

SV: The Drummer is  Luis ‘Weege’, he plays with a number of people in Los Angeles, most notably the band called ‘Sorrows’ who were also playing Max’s and CBGB along with my band ‘Testors’ back in the day. Luis is too young to have been in the original line up of the  Sorrows, but when I saw him play a yard party in California last year, I knew he was the man for this tour. Lot’s of fire, passion and ability to crank, smoke, spike and swing. The guitarist is Josh and the bassplayer is Jon, they are from the bands Carbona’s, ExHumans and Beat, Beat, Beat.. Again young guys with dedication, passion, fire and hell bent to rise above all bullshit in order to live deep in the music. Also they also like to have some fun, just like me. I met them all through contacts in Atlanta (Warren) and L.A (Joey Pinter).

CM: Your last release, Bizarro Hymns, came out last year. Will we be seeing a new album with The Bad Reaction in the coming months?

SV: I could imagine that might happen.

CM: For those who may not know, you were part of the original New York punk scene on the mid 70's with your old band The Testors. You played now legendary places like CBGB's and Max's Kansas City. What was it like playing in NYC in that era, when punk rock was a lot more primitive and dangerous?

SV: We all felt like we were at the edge of the world , gazing over that edge and seeing a pile shit that had been created by conservatives, nazi’s, and disco music. We intended to disrupt the process that was in place to kill rock n roll . We disrupted it!  We did it!!! And tore stuff up in the process!  The legacy of Jerry Lee Lewis found it’s way into the left nut of Lux and the right nut of John Lydon. The rest is history I guess, and probably the best is yet to come considering the times.
No time to go too deeply into it. As far as telling in detail what it was like. It was an inspired moment in time. The music was blasting from the clubs and just walking around in our self made clothes was intense. The people didn’t know what to make of us. It seemed very, very threatening to them. Anyway it really was over the top and wild a lot of the times. The music got its raw edge back and we were walking around in outfits that pissed everyone off. Sort of like the 50’s part 2.. in terms of the public reaction. There definitely was a primitive, raw and dangerous vibe that scared some people and attracted others.
CM: Will there ever be a full on Testors reunion?

SV: We did the two shows last year, one in NYC and one in Atlanta. But I’m not sure if we could do much more than that. Maybe another show or two sometime. Who knows? It was fun but it took a lot to get them together.

CM: You've played along side Scott Asheton (Stooges), Cheetah Chrome (Dead Boys), Wayne Kramer (MC5), Bob Stinson (Replacements) and Greg Ginn (Black Flag) among so many others. All of them are musical influnce's on today's music scene. Who are some of your personal musical influences?

SV: Some of my faves to play with were-Tony Fate, Speedo, Andy, Mario (the RFTC boys’) Certainly Scott Asheton. And forever Bobby Stinson. Also my line up from Hannover was a pisser.Talk about tearing it up! But you didn’t ask that… anyway I decided to mention that since I saw a list of names.
 But my music influences are I suppose diverse. I like anything that is pure, wild, fun or deep.

CM: You've pretty much kept busy your entire career. Where are some of your favorite places to play live and why?

SV: I don’t have any real ‘favorite’ places to play. I only think of what is the experience onstage. This is all I see and all I care about. I would rather do a brilliant show in a dump than a bad show with a stupid soundman in a luxurious casino.
Although it is very nice to see all the places and meet lovely people.
Paris, Zagreb, London, Zurich, Madrid… it’s a long list.
Mostly having a good sound is important to me.

CM: Is there a website you wanna plug where fans can get your complete tour dates, up to date news on releases, and get some merch?

SV: has the merch and  photos, bio, etc. And my friend Steve in NYC created the ‘official’ Facebook page where I am an administrator. I am in there for now during the infancy of the page but later it will be Steve’s job!
CM: I can't thank you enough for talking with Critical Mass, Sonny. To say I'm stoked for your gig in Chicago on May 28th would be putting it mildly. Have a great tour and we'll be seeing you in Chicago next month! Thanks again Sonny.

SV: Hey that will be the last date on the tour, guess we will know the songs by then!!!

Sonny's tour dates and booking info. Go see the man live! You won't regret it!

USA Tour ‘Sonny Vincent And The Bad Reactions’
USA Tour Dates Below>>>>>>>>>>>‘Sonny Vincent And The Bad Reactions’
'77 Punk Legend Sonny Vincent (Testors) is going on tour in May with his new band The Bad Reactions featuring members of Carbonas/Ex Humans/Beat Beat Beat/Sorrows. Sonny has a Testors single to be released on Windian for Record Store day and a solo album in the works. He will be playing both solo and Testors material. For booking please email cityslangbookingdc at gmail dot com.

Thur 26 Blue Star Bar LA CA
Fri 27 Soda Bar San Diego CA
Sat 28 Meat Market Tempe AZ
Sun 29 Ms Lips Lounge El Paso TX
Mon 30
Tues 1 Beerland Austin TX
Wed 2 Siberia NOLA
Thur 3 Party Florence AL
Fri 4 Spilledge Athens GA
Sat 5 Southern Comfort Atlanta
Sun 6
Mon 7 The Other Basement Nashville TN
Tue 8
Wed 9 The Get Down Asheville NC
Thur 10
Fri 11 Strange Matter Richmond VA
Sat 12 Quarry House Tavern Washington DC
Sun 13 Level Room Philadelphia PA
Mon 14 Brighton Bar Long Branch NJ
Tue 15 Lamp Post Jersey City
Wed 16 Don Pedro Brooklyn NY
Thur 17 Delancey NYC
Fri 18 Pas Lounge Somerville MA
Sat 19
Sun 20
Mon 21 Gooskis Pittsburgh PA
Tue 22 Hot Trash Radio Cleveland OH
Wed 23 Carabar Columbus OH
Thur 24 Now Thats Class Cleveland OH
Fri 25 Pj's Lager House  Detroit MI
Sat 26 Mulligans GR MI
Sun 27 Louies Kzoo MI
Mon 28 The Burlington Chicago IL
Sonny Vincent performances in Germany with U’lers

May 31, June 1, June 2  2012

31.05.2012: Cortina Bob, D-Berlin
01.06.2012: Atomsmasher Festival, D-Dresden
02.06.2012: Engelsburg, D-Erfurt

Monday, April 23, 2012

Interview with Miguel Chen of Teenage Bottlerocket

Critical Mass: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass, Miguel. I really appreciate it. The new Teenage Bottlerocket album, Freak Out, comes out in July. I know you guys just shot an 80's hair metal inspired video for the albums first single. Can you give us the title of the first single and when the video and single will be released?

Miguel Chen: No problem buddy. We just shot a video for a song called "Headbanger." I'm not sure when the video will be ready or when any songs will be premiered yet, but we'll keep everyone posted as soon as we know!

CM: Like the last 3 TBR albums, the new one was recorded at The Blasting Room in Fort Collins, CO. Who was the bands producer this time around?

MC: The record was engineered by Andrew Berlin. He's worked with us on all of the projects we've done at the Blasting Room, however this time he was the only engineer on the project. We've just worked with him for so long he's like our secret 5th member. Andrew co-produced the record with us. Jason Livermore mastered. We're really stoked on how everything turned out!

CM: On the bands last album, They Came From The Shadows, there was the signature TBR sound mixed in with songs like "Fatso Goes Nutzoid", which was a faster paced song than anything up to that point. Can we expect any new surprises this time around?

MC: There's nothing too crazy or off the beaten path, but there are a few surprises. It's definitely a TBR record, we've just been playing together for so long that we've grown together as a band. It's hard to describe really, but it's the same while being different, if that makes any sense. I really think these are some of the best tunes we've ever written and we're all really stoked for everyone to hear them.

CM: You guys have been touring for quite a few years now, and are planning on hitting the road again for this album. Are you guys hitting any cities this time around that you haven't played up til this point?

MC: None that I can think of. At this point we're booking a bunch of dates in the US and Canada and I would say for the most part it's places we've been. We're playing a lot of cities that have been good to us in the past and we're really excited to come back.

CM:  Can we expect the new album to be released on color vinyl? And can you disclose the color at this time?

MC: I actually have no idea, haha.

CM:  Besides the new full length, you guys just released a limited edition 7" with a couple of Joy Division covers. How did that come about? To be honest, I never would have pegged you guys as Joy Division fans.

MC: The whole 7 inch was Kody's brain child. He mentioned wanting to do a few Joy Division tunes and that Clearview was interested in doing a limited 7 inch. I think we all liked the idea of doing something sort of off the beaten path and covering a band most people wouldn't expect us to like. We tracked the tunes at our practice space/studio at Brandon's house and sent them to our friend Felipe at Green Door Recordings in Denver to mix and I think they turned out pretty rad! Clearview doesn't do many releases these days, but when they do they go all out. The record and packaging will stoke record nerds such as ourselves.

CM: Can we expect any other releases from TBR in 2012 whether it be another 7", some tracks on a compilation or even a DVD at some point?

MC: None planned. We just put everything we had into the new record because it was our first full length in 3 years and we really wanted it to be the best record we could put out. Those will be our only releases this year, but we will be busy touring and playing as many shows as we can!

CM: Now the time in the interview where you get to plug anything and everything. Got any websites or bands you wanna plug?

MC:Check out our friends Redbush from Laramie. They're going on a midwest/east coast tour next month and everyone should check them out! Their lead singer JD and I started a punk band called Stat Dad, check that out too.

CM: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass, Miggy. I'm extremely stoked to get the new album in my grubby hands, and of course see you guys live again. It's always a pleasure to talk with you man. Please give my best to band and we WILL be seeing you guys real soon. Thanks again. 

MC: No worries Chris. We're always happy to talk to you!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Interview with The Bollweevils

On Saturday April 7, 2012 I was very fortunate to sit down for an exclusive interview with Chicago punk legends, The Bollweevils. The band were set to hit the stage at Brauerhouse in Lombard and breaking in a new bass player. The guys were very candid and open about their career, former band members and what the future holds.

Critical Mass: Thank for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass guys. I appreciate it. Since returning as a band in 2006 you guys have played a few shows as headliners as well as opening for Raygun at Riot Fest and at the HOB. Then the shows kinda slowed down. Will we be seeing more shows in 2012?

Miguel: We'll be playing more shows. If I had my way we would definitely play more shows.

Daryl: There will be more shows this year. We're actually looking to expand and do more shows outside of Chicago which is something we didn't get the opportunity to do earlier with The Bollweevils. And now we had some opportunities arise, so now we're gonna try and exploit those as much as we can.  

CM: In November a new song appeared on Facebook and you guys were quoted as saying "New song that will never see the light of day." Will this tune ever be officially released as either a digital single or on a 7"?

Ken: Well, our plan was to record a bunch of stuff. And we were trying out a particular engineer and a particular recording studio. And even though we liked some parts of it, we didn't like it (as a whole). But at the same time we gotta throw some stuff out there and see what sticks. What did you think of it?

CM: I liked it. I thought you could have thrown it on any of the old records.

Ken: Now, there ya go. (To Daryl) What do you think of that statement?

Daryl: Well, it all depends on what you mean. Does it sound like old records? And it's not...

CM: Well, Heavyweight sounds like it could have come out a year ago. It doesn't sound dated.

Ken: Well, it started out as a demo, and if it turned out good (it would be released). But there were parts that each of us were not happy with. So, unless we're all happy with it...

Daryl: We'll still play it live.

Ken: That song will probably come out again, just re-recorded.

Daryl: Yeah, that's the thing. It has to be redone. We were not happy with the engineer...

Ken: No, we were happy with the engineer. We just didn't like parts of the recording.

CM: The bands been around, on and off, for well over 20 years. Do you feel that there are more people interested in the Bollweevils now than during your initial run as a band?

Daryl: No.

Ken: No.

Pete: I think it was exciting riding that initial wave after getting back together, there was a lot of excitement there. And now it’s just faded.

Daryl: Yeah, the opportunities we had stopped. I mean, the iron was hot and we could have struck it a bunch of times, but we never did because there were circumstances that were beyond our control.

Ken: There's interest. I think the problem is that now we're able to do some more. Whether it’s playing more shows or whether it’s recording some more that will kind of enhance that. At least we didn't come back and suck. At least I don't think we did. I've seen some bands come back and embarrass themselves. So, I'm happy we've never done that. But I think, in the works, it’s been let’s do this and let’s do this, so now we're trying to do that. And part of that interest is playing places like Brauerhouse. It's a nice normal sized venue, and we're playing. And that's kinda what we wanna do. We wanna build that back up.

Daryl: How many bands come out and play in the suburbs?

CM: Not many.

Ken: And that's where we cut our teeth. We've played the suburbs and we've played in the city.

Daryl: We used to play the Elmhurst VFW hall, and that place was packed!

Ken: So that's always been what we've done.

Daryl: We do our own thing, we walk our own way and we get it done. And I don't think we suck when we play.

Miguel: I just wanna say that when they came back around, that was my first opportunity to see the band. So I was very fortunate. And now here I am in the band. It's kind of a fucking cool thing.

CM: Pete, you have been in the band since reforming back in 2003. How did he get involved in the band?

Pete: I actually used to play in a band with Ken here called Kronk. And that was what, in '93? I played in the Four Squares too. And we played at the Fireside (Bowl) all the time. But Kronk is what started it all.

Daryl: Pete really was the glue that kinda made us stay together.

Ken: Yeah, actually without Pete we really wouldn't be a band. I mean fuck Miguel. (Laughter)

Daryl: If it wasn't for Pete and the ability for us to get together and have a guy keep time really well, and who was a good friend, and fits into the band well...we could have played with anybody from the very beginning...

Ken: If we would have had Pete from the beginning we may never have broken up.

Pete: Thank you.

Ken, Bob, when we got back together, Bob pretty much said that if Pete's not playing drums then I'm not in. So, that was the happiest day of my life because I've always wanted to play in a band with him.

Daryl: He's the longest running drummer in the bands history, going on 10 years now.

CM: Do you guys have any contact with your former drummer, Brian?

Daryl: No.

Ken: I don't.

Pete: He wanted to split the songs with us, with me, when we first reunited. He wanted to play half the songs, and I play half.

Ken: I just threw up a little in my mouth (Laughter)

Daryl: The only time I've seen Brian was socially. And I saw him out at a show. But at the same point we haven't kept contact with him. Not really. There's no grudge or anything like that. We're adults so we don't need anything like that. There's no animosity. He's got his own life. He's got a wife now and he's doing what he does with his animals.

Ken: Brian's a stand up guy.

Daryl: He works with the zoo. Last time we talked to him he asked what was going on with the band, so y'know. The bands doing what the bands doing. I'm glad he's back on the Chicagoland area doing what he's doing.

Ken: We're glad he's doing well. Good for him and his wife.

CM: Speaking of former members, you have a new addition, Miguel. How did you get involved in the band?

Miguel. Basically I ran into Daryl at a concert, a Descendents show, and we were both wearing the same shirt and I thought that was cool (Laughs).

Ken: What shirt? A black shirt? (Laughter)

Miguel: It was a Descendents shirt and we were just bullshitting around at the show. And I asked him how Bollweevils were, and he said they were looking for a bass player. I said "well I play bass."  And I tried out and it worked out pretty well.

Ken: Bob lives way out of the way, so as far as playing shows...and he's got 2 kids. So, it was a major undertaking. So, when he decided he didn't wanna do this anymore, and we did, we said, y'know, unless somebody really fits in and kicks ass we're just not gonna do it. It's not worth it. And Miguel came to practice and I think we knew within the first 5 minutes that he was the guy.

Daryl: We had him learn 4 songs and he came in with 8 and it put pressure on us to remember the others.

Ken: I was asking Miguel "How does that song go?" (Laughter) But yeah, for me it was the first 30 seconds. For the other guys it was the first couple of minutes.

Daryl: It's funny because we had a few people we were gonna try out for the band, and I just told him (Ken) that this kid Miguel came to me at a show and wanted to try out.

Ken: I'll tell ya, I've played with Bob since we both learned our instruments together. And it's a pretty tough act to follow. For me, it's a pretty tough act to follow. So I was pretty happy when the kid did it. Thanks Miguel.

Miguel: It was pretty tough for me too because he was the guy in the band. Bob's always been the guy. I always played along to his bass lines learning songs. I was like I wanna follow this guy with momentum rather than one up him and do something completely different and bastardize the sound. So, it's like Bob was a big influence on me to learn. And coincidently we play really similarly. And it wasn't even intentional.

Ken: Bob is one of the most underrated bass players in general.

Daryl: If it wasn't for him living so far way I think he would still be playing with us.

CM: So you guys are still close considering he's not in the band anymore.

Daryl: Yup.

CM: Ken, when I interviewed you back in June of last year I asked if any of the old albums were gonna be reissued at some point in the future. And at that time you said there were no plans, but that you would be willing if a label was interested in doing so. Has there been any talks with any labels about reissuing those classic albums?

Ken: I haven't pursued it. Although The Feds (Ken's post Bollweelis break-up band) record is out there on iTunes because of whoever took over the distribution of Dr. Strange Records, and before hand, it's still out there. They had The Bollweevils stuff too. But I kinda got that back. But The Feds stuff, I haven't done that yet. That's actually, no offense to these guys, that's actually my favorite band I ever recorded with on record. As long as it's out there I'm happy with it. As far as the other stuff, nothing yet.

CM: If a label came up to you guys would you be interested in reissuing the old records?

Ken: Yeah, the master plan would be to find somebody willing to put out some of the new stuff and then tie that in with the old stuff. When it comes to a label, we're pretty loyal and we wanna work for a label. We just don't want someone to put out our record. We want to kick our ass and bust our ass for our label. And it's hard. And I think that kinda puts some people off sometimes in this weird sort of way. They're just sort of used to putting the record out. That's how it was when we were starting out. So, if that happens, expect it all to follow along. And part of the reason for that is down to what we can do show wise, and we didn't think it was fair. We started off on Riot Fest Records. And he was pretty excited about putting some stuff out. But if we couldn't do it, then it's probably not a good deal for him. So, we'll see what happens.

CM: Will we be hearing any more new material from the band this year? You guys have that one new song, but are there any songs in the vault that we can expect to hear at some point in the near future?

Ken: We have about an albums worth plus of songs.

CM: That were recorded recently?

Ken: No, they haven't been recorded yet. As soon as we play a few shows and get back out there I think that's the plan to record them and get them out there.

Daryl: We play news songs when we play live, which is the thing. So, the thing is we had songs we were working on before. But because of the distance between members before we just couldn't get it together. But now that we have kind of a cohesive team that can get it done, we do have songs in the works. Miguel's been working on songs too and bringing them to the table.

Ken: The funny thing about The Feds record is that two thirds of that record was supposed to be the next Bollweevils record. And that's kind of a shame that two thirds of that record was supposed to be the next Bollweevils record.

Daryl: I used to listen to that record and think "I could sing over that."

Ken: Uh, I'm not so sure of that. (Laughter) Maybe we should just do a whole Feds set one day and see how that goes. (Laughter)

Miguel: This will be the last Bollweevils show ever. (Laughter)

Daryl: We're just glad to be back and glad to be playing out again. It's a fucking blast.

CM: Well, I wanna thank you guys again for talking with Critical Mass. I really do appreciate it. And I'm glad to heave you guys back again.

Pete: Thank you.

Daryl: I seriously wanna thank you for interviewing us.

Ken: Thank you.

Miguel. Thanks.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Interview with The Napervillain MILF's

The Napervillain MILFs are Chicagolands "Anti Cover Band Cover Band."  They play a wide array of material from Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" to Husker Du's "New Day Rising". And they do it their own way, putting a harder edge to certain songs while also staying true to the original style of others. I recently had the chance to speak with singer/rhythm guitarist Michael Mazza and lead guitarist Michael Cox before their set opening for The Bollweevils at Brauerhouse in Lombard on Easter Saturday April 7, 2012. Here's what the guys had to say about their sound, what's next for the band and how they came up with that kick ass name!

Critical Mass: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass, guys. I appreciate it.

Michael Cox: Well thanks for talking to us.

CM: For those new to the band can you give us some history on the band and who's in it?

Michael Mazza: Well, we've got Michael Cox on lead guitar, myself on vocals and rhythm guitar. And we're in the process of finding a new drummer right now. Larry Ohler is playing his last show with us this evening. He was a temporary drummer to get us off the ground.

MC: We owe Larry a great huge debt of gratitude.

MM: We actually booked our first show in December without a drummer. So we actually had our show on schedule at Reggie's, and had no fucking drummer. So he kinda bailed us out. So he's played the first gig with us and has played 4 or 5 gigs since then.

MC: He's also done double duty between Perversions (Larry's full time band) and Napervillain MILF's where he would play 2 sets in one night. So, Larry's the fucking man as far as I'm concerned.

MM: And we also have Walter Kiefer on bass.

MC: Walter will not be with us tonight. He had something come up in Ohio.

MM: Yeah, he had a family reunion which is not very punk rock (laughs)

MC: But we have the very VERY capable Steve Brown filling in for him tonight. So he'll be helping us out.

CM: You guys call yourselves "the anti cover band cover band, declaring war on crappy cover bands like 7th Heaven". Can you elaborate on that?

MM: Yeah, I play in an original project that's been going for 8 years.  And every winter we go on hiatus from December to March because our lead guitar player drives a snow plow. And the dude's on fucking call like all the time. And I kinda wanted to keep playing out in that 4 month window and keep the chops us. And I really love playing out, so I thought "hey I wanna form a cover band." And originally it was gonna start as a Cult tribute. And then I figured the window for something like that would be about 7 people, so I kinda ditched that. So I figured I would start a cover band, but a cool cover band doing Replacements, Husker Du, Guided By Voices. That kinda stuff. So I called Michael, who I went to High School with and found out we had a lot in common music wise. So I called him and said come on over and we'll jam. And since then it's been going really well.

MC: Like Michael said, we got together last year, and tried to kinda work through a master list of songs that we would like to cover. Songs that we thought would be a really kick ass cover. Songs really off the beaten path. And we're sifting through this list and we got on the discussion of 7th Heaven (a local Chicago area tribute band). And Mike's got this great 45 minute rant about how these shop working Napervillain MILF's go crazy for them. They LOVE this shit! And I said "Well, we should just call ourselves Napervillain MILF's" as a big fuck you to them.

MM: If I have to hear "Don't Stop Believing" at a show I'm just gonna shoot myself. I mean who wants to hear that?

CM: Nobody!

MM: So yeah, I think there's kind of a niche for doing what we do 'cause no one else is doing what we do. We're playing deep cuts, mostly punk and balls out rock but no one else is doing it right now.

MC: And the thing is, the way Mike and I have a theory on this, is that you take 5 women who go to see 7th Heaven for whatever odd reason. Out of those 5, you have 4 who are perfectly happy with the music and its right up their alley. And that's fine. This is America. It's a free country and you can listen to crappy cover bands if you want. Now you take that 5th girl in that gaggle of 5, and maybe she listens to The Cure, she listens to (Naked) Raygun, she listens to Pegboy, she listens to, y'know, all the great music that came out in the early 90's and 2000's, the music of our generation. So, we're looking for that 5th girl in that gaggle of 5 who wants to hear a good Raygun cover, who wants to hear that Pegboy cover, who wants to hear Shot Baker, Husker Du and The Replacements. That's kinda what our niche market is.

CM: Do you guys do any original music, and will there be any original material in future?

MC: We're pretty successful as a cover band operation.

MM: Don't say cover band.

MC The anti cover band cover band. I think we have a good thing going. Mike's got his outlet for his original music through Collectors. I don't have an original project right now, to be honest with you. My hands are kinda full right now.

MM: Yeah, it's kinda two different enemies, so I actually really have a lot of fun doing this. So I think it'll continue to be just covers. But cool shit. Y'know it doesn't have to be Bon Jovi and fucking Journey all the time. The tribute scene in Chicago is kinda....

MC: Wacky to say the least.

MM: There are some cool tribute out here. There's a Clash tribute and a Husker Du tribute called The Husker Dudes. So there are some cool tribute acts. But in terms of covers bands there's really no one doing what we're doing right now.

MC: During the genesis of the band, to backtrack slightly, a week before our first show I dragged Mike out to see the Nefarious Fat Cats. The Nefarious Fat Cats are Jake Burns (Stiff Little Fingers), John and Joe Haggerty (Pegboy) and Mark Derosa (Dummy). And during that infamous meeting (with Mike) I said "You have to come to this Christmas show at Liar's Club. THIS is what we gotta be like!" And he heard me screaming that until the cows came fricking home. And he came out to the show and within the first 3 songs, I mean John Haggerty on guitar. What more can you ask for?

MM: What did I say?

MC: The first words out of his mouth were "I quit!" (Laughter)

MM: They were fucking amazing.

MC: Those were the guys we looked up to as far as setting that goal.

MM: Those guys play out twice a year and they're better than any cover band in the city. Easily!

MC: Hands down. So that's who we look up to, to set the goal as as far as being the anti cover band cover band. It's The Nefarious Fat Cats hands down.

CM: I know Jeff from Naked Raygun has joined the band on stage in the past for your cover of the Raygun classic Rat Patrol. I take it Jeff's a fan?

MC: Jeff is gonna be singing with us tonight again. He will be doing 2 songs with us tonight.

CM: Both Raygun songs?

MM: No. One is a surprise, don't give it away.

MC: Yeah, one is a surprise and we can't give it away. But he will be singing 2 songs. And Jeff said it was an honor for him to sing with us. And for Jeff to say that...

MM: We're honored to sing with HIM.

MC: Yeah, we're honored to back him up. Jeff's just a real nice guy. He's very personable when you talk to him. And he's just a regular guy. And for him to wanna get up on stage with us is a blessing. We're very humble.

CM: What's next for the MILF's? Any big plans for the rest of the year?

MM: World domination. (Laughs)

MC: We have a few tricks up our sleeve. We have some shows we're working on. Nothing confirmed that I can say right now. But we have a few tricks up our sleeve. Just stayed tuned and check us out on Facebook.

MM: Yeah, we plan on playing out about once a month. A steady stream of gigs coming.

CM: Is there a website you guys wanna plug where we can get up to date news on gigs and get some merch?

MC: Check us out on Facebook.

MM: We also have a Bandcamp page where you can check out some of our live shit. We're probably gonna put some stuff up from tonight's show.

CM: That sounds great. Thanks again for talking with Critical Mass guys. I really do appreciate it.

MC: Thank you for talking to us. We're big fans of Critical Mass and it's great to talk with you.