About A Girl – Nirvana

September 13, 2012

About A Girl – My friend Holly asked me to submit a tune for Murder Studios “vol. 1 the NIRVANA compilation.” My first reaction was “there will be no guitars.” Seriously, if you can’t compete you need to run the exact opposite direction. Which is how this version came about. Employing my trusty Roland TR-77, I was carried off into a circus world. But everyone one knows that after the show is done, pain and sadness creep back into town.

The Rolling Stones by Johnny And The Creeps

November 5, 2011

Halloweekend 2011, one to remember. I wanted to do something more embellished with a bigger band. A set that would be familiar to the audience, have some big hits but could also include songs that weren’t tarnished by mainstream radio. Plus I really wanted to perform sans guitar and focus on singing and dancing! Thus the idea was born to become The Rolling Stones era 1972.

Dave and Russ were in, we just needed to find two guitar players, a piano player, two horn players and a female vocalist. Hmmm… It was actually weird how easily it all fit together. As the players came on board I felt really lucky to know so many talented musicians in Chicago.  We practiced a handful of times, drank quite a bit of bourbon and gained a new appreciation for a band who can be incredibly sloppy and then moments later lock down into a groove beyond belief.

Dave had to stand still as Bill Wyman which is hard for him to do. Russ changed his snare hand technique to mimic Charlie Watts which was impressive. Phil is just a natural as Keith, born from a deep respect. Matt wove his guitar into the mix where there was no distinction between lead and rhythm. Dan was a locomotive behind the piano. John and Matt punched the horns and percussion into place. Holly belted out harmonies like there was no tomorrow and I tapped into my inner rooster.

The crowd was so enthusiastic and our performance was spirited to say the least. All in all it was one of the best gigs I have ever played.

Our friend Evan Sears was able to capture most of the show from front row. Here are links to the videos.

http://vimeo.com/31355059

http://vimeo.com/31375700

SET LIST:
1. Brown Sugar
2. Bitch
3. Rocks Off
4. You Can’t Always Get What You Want
5. Tumbling Dice
6. Happy
7. Let’s Spend The Night Together
8. Gimme Shelter
9. Jumping Jack Flash

Nirvana by Johnny And The Creeps

November 1, 2010

Due to a last minute cancellation, I was offered a slot in Last Alley’s Halloween show. The band who dropped out were supposed to be Nirvana, the Unplugged set. I would have never chosen to cover their music becasuse it comes preloaded with a lot of “history” but all the promo materials had already gone out so it seemed odd to choose another band. Plus the show was only a week away and they were a trio, Johnny Ant The Creeps is a trio, seemed like a fit.

There was no way for us to do the acoustic material justice and distorted guitars have a nice way of covering up mistakes. So we tried our best to channel the chaotic energy of this nervy group. Staying away from the obvious hits we reaffirmed our love and appreciation for this throat wrenching, ear pounding music.

We were lucky to have Evan Sears, a gifted photographer, in the audience the night of the show and he was able to get some great video footage.

Here is a link to our performance.

http://vimeo.com/16397522

SET LIST:
1. About A Girl
2. Been A Son
3. Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle
4. Very Ape
5. On A Plain
6. Drain You
7. Breed

Tommy James And The Shondells by Johnny And The Creeps

July 29, 2009

In high school I found a 45 of “Mirage” in a used record bin. I remember being impressed by the song but a little confused. Was this really the same tune that Tiffany was covering? The music of Tommy James has been overshadowed by bad renditions that were big hits and it doesn’t help that “Mony Mony” reached archetype frat rock status. In 2008 I was asked to play Last Alley’s annual Halloween show and I chose Tommy James. Everybody thought I was crazy.  What people don’t remember is that he recorded a lot of very catchy, wonderful pop songs and I wanted to breathe new life into them. Anyway, the gig was terrific and we were able to record our efforts about a week later, this is how the set went.

01 Hanky Panky

02 I Think We’re Alone Now

03 Crimson And Clover

04 Dragging The Line

05 Mirage

In Between Days – The Cure

November 24, 2008

“In Between Days” was the song that sold me on The Cure. I saw the video on MTV in ’85 and I was blown away by the hypnotic sound, the synthetic pining, the bird like camera movements, the glow in the dark socks! Well, I immediately went and bought the record and spent the next few weeks realizing there was a musical world beyond REM and The Replacements. In my head the interpretation sounded like Merle Haggard but I think it ended up like John Denver.

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy – 1910 Fruitgum Company

June 21, 2008

“Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” has to be one of the most banal songs of all time. But late one night I heard it playing on a classic rock station and I was stunned at how disturbing the lyrics were. “Love you’re such a sweet thing, good enough to eat thing.” Well, of course visions of Jeffrey Dahmer started spinning in my head and I got the idea to record a “darker” version of the song. I don’t think it turned out weird enough. I’d like to hear Tom Waits do a version.