We Wanna Be Free To Do What We Wanna Do

30 09 2013

Since the band has been off the road for two weeks, and my wife it out of town for work, I’ve had the opportunity to catch up on some “Classic Albums” on Netflix, good music nerd shit that the missus always votes down when we actually time to watch anything.  Disraeli Gears, Aja, Graceland, Paranoid, 2112, The Band, all the classic rock faves are there, but I stumbled on the Primal Scream “Screamadelica” episode last night, and took a blissful trip back to 1990 and realized how much of an influence it had on me. – BT

While Screamadelica came out in 1991, WHFS has been spinning “Loaded” and “Come Together” the year before and I was instantly hooked.  Considering that I was speeding along on a steady diet of Fugazi and Jane’s Addiction in high school, it’s still a little mystifying why a bunch of sampler-wielding E’d out Glaswegians would grab me…

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Gaga for Gehry

21 06 2012

Very excited to play Millennium Park tonight for Chicago Gospel Fest, at the incredible Frank Gehry-designed Pritzker Pavilion.  It’s the 2nd time the band has played here (my favorite venue in the city, and possibly the world, but I’ve never been to Red Rocks…), but this will be my 4th time on the stage:

  1. June 2007
    Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 played a free show, and Fela’s youngest son invited everyone up to dance.  Calamity ensued.
  2. July 2008
    After a lovely dinner at Tavern on the Park, my girlfriend and I rushed the (empty) stage, hopped two velvet ropes, and I proposed.  And then we were politely escorted off by security.
  3. September 2009
    Celebrating the European release of “Beat of Our Own Drum” and my impending nuptials, the band played at noon on a Sunday, for a healthy crowd of family, friends, tourists, and Jazz Fest early birds.
  4. June 2012
    Chicago Gospel Fest, here we come!- BT




Why Baltimore?

12 08 2011

Since interviewers are always asking JC about it, I figured it might be time for me to explain “Baltimore Is the New Brooklyn” since I wrote it. Short answer, it’s about gentrification. People want to live in Manhattan, but end up in Brooklyn because the rent is cheaper, and when Brooklyn gets too pricey…

But what does this have to do with a Chicago soul band?

In December 2006, I was writing for TimeOut and Antonia Simigis, the music editor, took me to Schubas to see a band called Celebration.

They had an arty TV On the Radio vibe and I assumed they were Brooklynites, but Antonia told me they were from Baltimore.  “I guess Baltimore is the new Brooklyn” quipped I, and started making connections in my head, thinking about how Charm City was ripe for artists and musicians to move in (there’s an art school, cheap rent, and it’s an easy drive to DC, Philly, NYC, etc). [I’m not here to pontificate on Dan Deacon and Wham City or debate the pros & cons of gentrification, or who belongs in a neighborhood; don’t shoot me, I’m only the bass player.]

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Reading Is Fundamental

10 04 2011

In case you haven’t heard, the Uptown Sound is getting ready to take another flying leap into the next project.  We’re the narrator/protagonist and house band for Bailiwick Chicago’s production of the Tony Award-winning musical “Passing Strange”.  You can read all about it here or get tickets over there, but while I had a second to breathe before we start tech week with the cast, followed by a week of dress rehearsals and previews, I was thinking about how much easier this whole endeavor was made by my ability to read music.  Kevin too.  Both of us have played in rock bands for 20 years, but before that we were playing in the school band.

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The More Things Change….

5 04 2011

Since Billy’s burning the candle at three ends these days (woodshedding his guitar parts for Passing Strange, making sure the new album gets done, and directing the highly anticpated new Second City show South Side of Heaven), we thought we’d dig up a choice interview from the early days, when we were gunning for the 2008 Metromix Rock’n’Vote title and Matt Pais stuck a mic in our face for the first time….

BB @ PA, BK, NY, photo by Jimmy Askew


1. How do you get pumped up for a show?

We read the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the UK Guardian. Oh, yeah, we also skateboard after we’ve smoked.

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