Still, Chicago Did Rock (In the 90s)

A few weeks ago something amazing occurred. A former Chicago music aficionado – James Van Osdol of Local 101 fame –  announced he wanted to chronicle the 90s Chicago rock scene – in book form. The only dilemma? He needed our help – the music fans who were fortunate enough to experience this era; more like a movement, really. James was short on cash, and in order to make our dreams a reality, he needed 17K. His deadline came. The flow wasn’t raised. And now, supposedly, the book won’t become a reality. Crushed? I’ll say devastated. But…

In the meantime, I’ll share some bands from that era I played ceaselessly. If I had the knowledge and expertise, like James has and hopefully will share, I’d try my hand at filling in the huge gap the lack of this book has created. All I have are memories, not knowledge or precision on the Chicago scene. It was James Van Osdol, who introduced me to the first band that made me realize good music rarely falls into your lap. One must make an effort. Luckily, his Local 101 radio show made it simplistic. That band, the truly first one that made music click for me, were the Smoking Popes.

Simplistic, concise tracks were the Popes specialty. Pop-punk with an edge; and that advantage, to me at least, was Josh Caterer’s unique voice – it was and still is today, laid-back, full of earnest romanticism, lovelorn, at times; sung like we’re sitting in that lounge with Josh hearing him pour out his heart for our enjoyment. 16 or so years ago, it wasn’t the meaning of these songs that caught me, but the fast-paced tempo of most numbers. As time went on, I realized the many facets of the Smoking Popes; and thank James and the Popes today for spawning an insatiable love for new, interesting music that required stepping outside of my element to discover…

Smoking Popes :: Rubella

Smoking Popes :: Under the Blanket

Disclaimer: Chicago did spawn countless bands and records in the 00s, too. Don’t misinterpret my title, faithful readers.


1 Response to “Still, Chicago Did Rock (In the 90s)”

  1. October 5, 2009 at 7:50 am

    Dude, Chicago did rock! It was a great time! A time that the younger generation still needs to hear about! We were hot! There were A&R Reps in the city, and even shitty bands were getting signed; it was “a scene!” Hopefully this book will see the light of day sometime! Good job giving it some press!

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