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'STACHE! chicago-based cover band deluxe offers working-man's rock

A band called wha? 'stache! ...?
Okay...usually I don't like to spend my "live music" leisure time going to see/hear rock cover bands, especially when it comes to garnering viable content for this ROCKzology blog of mine...(images in order of appearance: Ryan Schoonover-lead vocals, Jay Pullano-rhythm guitar/vocals, Terry Karaboyus-lead guitar, Pat Aquilino-drums, Kevin Glenn-bass guitar/vocals) I like to experience live music where originality is displayed (a reason for my great love of jazz music in particular-checkout my other blog JAZZzology) with two exceptions...Tributosaurus and Chicago Catz...the band 'stache! has just become my third...all three of these cover bands are Chicago-based, but thats about the only thing they have in common besides a desire to offer up a high quality performance. I consider Tributosaurus a fantastic cover band of classic rock where they strive to create authenticity of sound and music detail applied to their folio of songs by devoting each of their once-a-month shows at the venue Martyrs to re-creating a band from the classic rock era incorporating whatever configuration of musicians is needed to be authentic...Chicago Catz I believe to be the best rhythm and blues cover band without a doubt in the Chicago area, if not the midwest, in fact, probably in the country...their music will just not let you stand still, you have to dance! And now this is where a band like 'stache! comes in...they are not r&b particularly or are trying to re-create with great accuracy a particular rock band from the past...'stache! just does really great, solid, rock versions of cover tunes from various bands ranging from the 70s, 80s, 90s through today...and they do it professionally, with style and a performance that continually engages their audience.

I met with three of the 'stache! band members pre-show (which I typically don't do-usually interviews are done after-show but I was short on time)...lead singer Ryan Schoonover, rhythm guitar/vocals Jay Pullano (only been with the band 5 months) and drummer Pat Aquilino (the other two members are Kevin Glenn bass/vocals and Terry Karaboyas lead guitar)...the band was formed only two years ago (they are so good it seems hard to believe) with an average band-performing experience of seven years for each of the five members...they have a repetoire of about 150 to 200 tunes with about 80 to 85 that they play on a regular basis for their 6 to 8 gigs per month. When I asked them why they weren't expending their talent on doing original stuff, Jay matter-of-factly responded without hesitation, "It's for the money", then pensively adding, "...and the music". Besides, all the band members have day-gigs anyway. Okay...that's cool...did the same thing myself once, for the same reasons. So what's with the name? Their moniker Ryan indicated is really a business-generating gimmick which is humorous, fun and marketable and it refers to the word "mustache" they can advertise having "mustache shows" or "mustache parties", where people have to come wearing a mustache or some such thing as that...whatever works I guess. Most of the band's following is based in the city of Chicago and they are actually the only other cover band that is ever allowed to play the Martyrs venue besides Tributosaurus, since the spot usually devotes itself to promoting up and coming original-music rock bands and arcane pop music shows. As the 'stache! website states, the band offers "songs that soundtrack your life". Here is an example of their typical set list currently:

Sex on Fire - Kings of Leon
Are You Gonna Be My Girl - JET
Mr. Brightside - The Killers
Last Nite - The Strokes
I Believe In A Thing Called Love - The Darkness

THE 90's:
Basket Case - Green Day
Self Esteem - The Offspring
Santeria - Sublime
Buddy Holly - Weezer
Cherub Rock - Smashing Pumpkins

Inside Out - Eve 6
Flagpole Sitta - Harvey Danger
My Own Worst Enemy - Lit
Song 2 - Blur
Possum Kingdom - The Toadies

THE 80's:
Wanted Dead or Alive - Bon Jovi
Take Me Home Tonight - Eddie Money
Your Love - The Outfield
Jack and Diane - John Mellencamp
867-5309 - Tommy Tutone

Dirty Little Secret - All American Rejects
All The Small Things - Blink 182
The Middle - Jimmy Eat World
Love And Memories - OAR
Semi Charmed Life - Third Eye Blind

Mr Jones - The Counting Crows
Wonderwall - Oasis
All For You - Sister Hazel
Laid - James

Cover bands are great for dancing...and I love to dance! If the guitar riffs are half-way accurate and the vocals are close to the original these type bands can usually pull off a good job of imitation...but this band, 'stache! seemed to go a step beyond that, injecting energy and enthusiasm throughout their performances. At one point during the show lead singer Ryan yells out jokingly, "Don't want to hear any "B" sides today?"...on the first tune they opened with "American Girl" their 4th tune they had a request from the audience for "I don't want to lose your love tonight" to celebrate a couple's 30th wedding anniversary (Jerry and Collette) which the band immediately obliged...about a dozen people on the dance floor by the fifth was great how the band did not break between songs, but drove right into the next one to keep people on the dance their tenth tune the room had about 100 people there to check them out. The great venue they were playing at is a spot that was recently renamed "Fitz's Spare Keys" which is located in downtown Elmhurst, Illinois (home of my old school Alma Mater Elmhurst College) about a half mile north of the train station on York offers a mini-bowling alley and pool tables along with a horseshoe-shaped bar area that is separate from the back room where the stage and an ample supply of couches, tables and high-top table seating is available with a nice over-sized dance floor. The couple sitting next to me watching the band, Mark and Kathleen, seemed to really be getting into the music (particuarly Mark)...when a band can get people moving in their seats thats a pretty good sign that they are above average in their renditions. The first set consisted of about 16 songs (such as "What I Like About You", "Love and Memories", "Slide", "Last Night", "All The Small Things"). They did about another 20 tunes for their second set (for instance "Dancing With Myself", "Dirty Little Secret", "Free Fallin", "The Joker"). The band had a sign-up list on a clip board at the front of the stage encouraging people to get on their distribution list for the band's shows, with Ryan adding "We really don't have time to spam ya!". The band's sound is tight and clean and comes off professional, but also full of fun. Ryan makes for a good emcee and communicates with the crowd from time to time getting them engaged in the show and ensuring everyone is enjoying themselves. This cover band is very good at what it does...and what it does well is to make sure you know that its party time...its not like the cover bands of old...they keep it fresh and the audience wanting to hear more...youthful energy abounds...definitely not your father's 'stache! 'Nuff Sed.


Band Members:
Ryan Schoonover-lead vocals
Jay Pullano-rhythm guitar/vocals
Pat Aquilino-drums
Kevin Glenn-bass guitar
Terry Karaboyus-lead guitar


Next Show:
Saturday October 2nd, 10:00 PM
Uncle Fatty's
2833 N Sheffield Ave
Chicago, IL 60657

Here is a video of the cover band 'stache! :


Announcing ROCKzology's Official Youtube Channel

Finally, the ROCKzology Official Youtube Channel has arrived! It went live on September 21, 2010 and is a way to compliment the ROCKzology blog ( ...presenting ROCKzology's favorite Youtube videos on the topic of global rock music, featuring videos of rock bands that have been reviewed by the ROCKzology blog (including interviews) and any other info related to the world of rock music. So...get ready to rock, then point your web browser to (or just click on this link), sit back, relax and while away the hours enjoying all that the new ROCKzology Official Youtube Channel has to offer. "Nuff Sed.


UPDATE: ODAYIN Rock Band Wins Third Place In Detroit's CityVoter 2010 "Vote 4 The Best" Contest

Odayin, the band reviewed here on ROCKzology in August 2010 during a Chicago-area tour (read the original ROCKzology review by clicking here), has won third place in the Detroit, Michigan CityVoter "Vote 4 The Best" Contest, landing in the top three for the category of "Arts & Entertainment - Local Bands" out of 223 bands entered from the Detroit the band Odayin states in their reaction to the announcement made at 6AM Saturday September 25th, 2010 on WDIV-TV channel 4 Detroit (Post-Newsweek Stations, Inc./ affiliate station), "We are thrilled to have finished in the Top 5 for Best Local Bands in Detroit. Thanks to all who voted for us!". You can read the original posting here from ClickOnDetroit. A total of 239,649 votes were cast overall for the contest. Odayin videos are also featured currently on the new ROCKzology Official YouTube Channel, the ROCKzology Wikizine and on Congrats you deserve it! 'Nuff Sed.


TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION red dirt metal band lives up to its name

So...I ventured forth into the night to catch a show where a favorite band of mine, PARAGON (refer to ROCKzology's review of them here), was opening for Texas Hippie Coalition, the 5-piece heavy-metal-texas-centric-southern-rock band from that state of the Union that has given us everything from such notable historical contributions as The Battle of The Alamo, the assassination of a President (JFK) & the assination of a President (GWB) (I attended his first inaugural but passed on the invitation to the second), pools of black gold, Tex-Mex chili, and Lone Star Beer to what I consider to be their greatest cultural contribution to America which is the live music scene located in the town of Austin, boasting more music venues per capita than any other U.S. city (approx. 150).

Currently based out of Denison, Texas (according to their Facebook...but their Wikipedia profile says its Chickasha, Texas...?), Texas Hippie Coalition, also known by their initials as THC (intended as a subtle reference to their admiration for the psychoactive substance found in cannabis, no doubt, which was made known vocally throughout their show via song and speech by the singer fronting the band Big Dad Ritch) is basically a throwback to the heavy-metal days of old with a country-fied spin, offering up a Jimmy-Page-lead-guitar-look-alike in the personage of Randy Cooper, a bass-guitar-on-hip-wielding John Exall, a dark-haired-adrenaline-driven-drummer by the name of Ryan "The Kid" Bennett (recently replacing the group's former drummer Carl), a rockin-rhythm-guitarist-but-sometimes-lead that goes by the single name of Crawfish, completed by the band's frontman, lead vocalist "Big Dad Ritch" who could probably double as the bouncer/security guy for this outfit, gauging by his behemoth size and monolithic-styled black-leather-Stetson-cowboy-hat.

Prior to the show the instrument soundchecks were handled by two roadie-technicians rather than the musicians themselves. The show started with an intro announcement yelled by a third roadie posing the question to the crowd gathered in front of the stage, "Are you ready to get your ass kicked?". They played a fest of eleven tunes even though their set-list that I was given listed fifteen. They opened with "Cocked and Loaded" from their newly released CD entitled "Rollin" which established their heavy metal sound with the guitars using feedback and sustain techniques and the drummer Ryan Bennett doing a showy cross-over display of sticks to skins; second was "Texas Tags" accompanied by the statement from Big Dad Ritch that "...we're from Texas, don't f**k with us..." coming from their first/self-produced CD "Pride Of Texas" a song that has a chorus line that states "...mess around with me, and your blood will be spilled..."; third was the title track from their second CD by the same name "Rollin" (again Ritch lets the audience know that they wanted to title it "Roll A Big Fat F**k'n Joint" but that the F word would have to be removed so they decided to just call it "Rollin'" clever...the bass player John Exall got very animated during this one running all over the stage and then would prop the guitar up on his hip or hold it with the neck straight up while playing...something different for the show; fourth tune was "Property Line" where Ritch pronounced about the song's theme "you can't just grow anything over should own a little piece of property where you can do what you want to do...don't you cross that line" was on this tune that the country sound was first evident mixed with the metal...great guitar solo by Cooper on this one, just not long enough; fifth was a tune dedicated to the late Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell (promoting the charity Ride For Dime) "Clenched Fist" Ritch telling the crowd to forget the moment of silence but to yell and raise a clenched fist instead; sixth was "Groupie Girl" "...for the Ladies in the house..." as Ritch said, seventh "Intervention" a song where Ritch conveys the message that he "...doesn't like people telling him what to do..."; eighth tune was "Flawed" where Ritch says "...its about me...I'm that SOB from Texas..."; ninth "Back From Hell" inspiration for the tune came from a time he "...rode a bull and got hurt real bad...scars are cool..."; tenth, one of their better tunes, was a southern-burnt-sounding rock anthem (another from their first CD "Pride Of Texas") called "River Bottom" where Ritch states "...the coalition is growing like a weed...", lyrics offering up the words "...guess thats the way I'll be smokin' THC...thats where I'll be while drinkn' whiskey..."; and ending the show with their biggest hit to date (most radio airplay) "Pissed Off And Mad About It" which I believed to be the best tune of the show.

So there seems to be basically three themes (aside from Texas) running rampant in most of THC's tunes...anger, weed and whiskey...wrapped up in an old musical saddlebag of red dirt heavy metal...couple that with gyrating guitarists, a pounding rhythm section and an over-sized growling-vocal Stetson-covered Texan fronting the band, the "Texas Hippie Coalition" appears to be striking a chord with some of the metal rocking least in controversy (leaving shows before fans could meet them or get autographs, some calling them Pantera Wanna-BEs with Dean guitars, some saying they are too old, etc.), if not their music...but there is nothing new here in presentation or musical invention. The musicians are all very technically proficient but I believe their talent is being wasted...where is their originality of sound? This is a missed opportunity to make something new in metal. They definitely lived up to their name with a display of over-inflated Texas-ego, the hippie-ish long-haired tokers image and their musical campaign to form a coalition of people in the same mode of thought (coalition-a pact or treaty among individuals or groups, during which they cooperate in joint action, each in their own self-interest, joining forces together for a common cause)...staying true to their moniker and in typical hippie form (having lived through that era), the band managed to skip out on me for the interview I was hoping to have with them after the show (assured by both their Tour Manager Zack Higgins as well as Big Dad Ritch telling me "about 20 or 30 minutes")...or more likely they had toked up so much...they forgot...leaving me to wait an hour only to find them gone from the venue having taken off in a haze of blue smoke...they essentially left me "Pissed Off And Mad About It". 'Nuff Sed.

New video of their hit "Pissed Off And Mad About It":

Texas Hippie Coalition video of the tune "Leaving":

Big Dad Ritch - lead vocals
Randy Cooper - lead guitar specialist
John Exall - bass guitar
Crawfish - rhythm/lead guitar
Ryan "The Kid" Bennett - drums

CMG Group
Creative Management Group

Carved Records