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Local Music Notebook: Chicago's Door & Prince's Protege

"Chicago's resident heavy metal comrades, Dan Donegan and Mike Wengren of multi-platinum band Disturbed, shot a new music video for their band Fight or Flight, a side project with singer Dan Chandler of Evans Blue," Reel Chicago reported last month.

Now that video takes on new resonance.

"The video uses the narrative device of a secret society to question conspiracy theories surrounding vaccines, gun control, and depopulation among many others, with the album's provocative title laying out a premise for music fans to question what they see.

"The South Side rockers are no strangers to making videos, having shot several live performance-style vids over the years, including 'Down with the Sickness' at Tinley Park's outdoor venue. This latest effort however is a first attempt at a narrative, with Donegan himself providing the treatment.

"The band members exchanged thoughts on conspiracy theories and drew inspiration from documentaries like Zeitgeist. 'Some [conspiracy theories] seem very goofy, and some seem like there's a strong argument for it. All we're saying is maybe we should open our eyes and ask questions, to get ourselves closer to the truth.'"

While I don't agree with the band's choices to subjects to illustrate its point, such as debunked vaccine conspiracy and an anti-gun control message, conspiracy theories are only likely to burgeon given the recent revelations about our vast government surveillance system.

"It is our right to stand up and ask questions," Donegan told Revolver earlier this month.

"That is the only way to get to the truth! We shouldn't go through life being spoon-fed by the media or our government and accept everything we are told. The more we educate ourselves, the better we are at understanding what the future holds for us and our children. The message of this video is to lead you to those questions and for you to decide where you stand. Open your eyes and your mind and draw your own conclusions."

Here it is:


Chicago's Door
Ray Manzarek, who died last month, grew up in Chicago. From a 2011 interview he gave to M:

"My childhood involved lots of classical study and lessons. Plus I grew up on the South Side of Chicago. You can't imagine what Chicago radio was like in the '50s - it was blues all the time. I would come home from school, turn on the radio and listen to disc jockey Al Benson play Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed and Howlin' Wolf. Then suddenly here comes Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and all the rock 'n' roll cats. Little Richard completely blew me away. I was just 12. I didn't know what I was going to do at that age. All I knew was I loved playing music."


Handsome Is As Handsome Does
The Handsome Family, formerly of Chicago, got a New Yorker write-up recently on the occasion of their new record. Here's a selection:


Prince Protege
Prince "wants the world to hear 3rdEyeGirl: powerhouse drummer Hannah Ford Welton from Louisville, guitar monster Donna Grantis from Toronto and funky bassist Ida Nielsen from Denmark, who started playing with his larger NPG group in 2010," according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

That would be the Hannah Ford featured here in the Beachwood last August.

Also, Greg Kot reported last September that Ford was on her way to Prince.

According to her Facebook page, she still lives in Chicago.


Drive-By Trucker
Because of this post and subsequent exchange with Patterson Hood in 2008, this portion of a recent interview with Jason Isbell particularly caught my attention:

What's your favorite song about Alabama, other than your own? Or you can name one of your own if you want.

(laughs) "Well, I'm not gonna do that. I like the old 'Alabama Rag.' 'Oh! Susanna' is a good song. It's not necessarily the most politically correct material these days. But I like that. I think 'Sweet Home Alabama' is a good song. I don't see anything wrong with that one at all."

I do. Still.


Juke Joint Woman
Sweet Claudette at her recent induction into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame.


Little Birds
Katchafire & Maoli at a tribute to Bob Marley last month at Reggies.


Born in Chicago
"Only a spoonful of people know of the uplifting bridge between the North Side and the South Side," Dave Hoekstra writes for the Sun-Times.

"The mid-1960s connection between the young white blues musicians of Chicago and the northern suburbs and the blues masters of the South Side made music history. The kids fueled their teacher's spirits. The teachers taught their students well. It was beautiful.

"The documentary Born in Chicago goes deep into the muse of white kids such as the late Paul Butterfield, the late Mike Bloomfield, Charlie Musselwhite, Harvey Mandel and others. These hipster visionaries with dark sunglasses bonded with blues legends Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and drummer Sam Lay, the city's most underrated living blues musician.

"It took five loving years to make Born in Chicago. The doc clicks on several levels and drags in others. Musselwhite is an engaging storyteller who deploys Southern detail, and Siegel still delivers every memory with a new smile. Black-and-white footage of the forever young Bloomfield (1943-1981) is precious, and it establishes a kindred spirit with Jack White. White's sense of adventure is what these young Chicago cats were all about. A huge fan of Howlin' Wolf, White says, 'Don't tell me it is not the blues when you turn up more distortion.'

"And therein lies a problem in Born in Chicago.

You'll have to click through for explanation.

Meanwhile, here's the trailer:


Comments welcome.


Posted on June 11, 2013

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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