The Sometimes Family at Subterranean 11/29/09


The Sometimes Family is a five-piece Soul/Folk band, based in Chicago, IL. They derive their sound from a combination of guitar, flute, organ, bass, drums, and four vocal parts. This assortment of instruments lends itself nicely toward the soul sound that made up a good portion of popular music in the sixties and early seventies.
I have seen this band play on numerous occasions in the last couple of years. In any given month, you can find them playing at any one of Chicago’s storied venues. Tonight was no exception. One only has to have a couple of conversations with local musicians in order to learn about how the Subterranean was once used as a hideout for Al Capone, and other gangsters of note. If you ever get the chance to see the green room at this place, you won’t find it hard to imagine yourself sitting around with a few other mobsters, drinking illegal whiskey, and waiting for the next plan of action to unfold, as weaponry might be readied for the next shootout, which of course, could have been at any given moment.
This is really a great image to keep in mind when seeing bands play there, or if you should ever have the good fortune of playing there yourself.
Having seen this band a number of times before, I already knew most of the set by heart, and could certainly sing along with nearly every song that was played.
Somehow, this band still managed to blow me away. This might be the first time I could say this particular phrase about this particular band.
Perhaps it was due to the incredible sound at the venue. The person who was running sound really knew what he was doing, in order to get the best sound out of the system. One of my biggest annoyances is going to a club, and having the sound cranked way too high for anyone to really enjoy what is happening. The sound here was loud, sure, but not deafening. It was appreciated. Also, I was able to hear the organ parts more distinctly than at other venues where I have seen this band.
Perhaps it was the change of drummers. Although it has been several months since this change was made, I have not really seen them play with the new drummer. He really adds a lot to the band, and he is very much in tune with everything that is happening.
But mostly, I think that it just happened to be a combination of all factors together in one place, at one time. This band is tight. You can tell by listening to them that they either must put in an incredible amount of time rehearsing the songs, or just have incredible musical chemistry. My hunch is both. They smile, and interact with each other on stage. From an outside eye, it seems that it would be a great deal of fun to play in this band. It is a good thing to see a band smile at each other, and to the crowd.
The crowd was an intimate gathering of around thirty. The folks who were there really enjoyed themselves, even getting into the spirit with occasional dance moves (a rarity in Chicago), and also calling out for an encore after the set was over.
The highlight of the evening, for me, was a song played somewhere near the end, which I believe was called ‘on and on’. I hadn’t heard it before, but it really resounded deeply with me. I started to get a feeling that I had been transported back in time, to a club a few decades ago, and that if The Sometimes Family were to keep playing songs for several more hours, I think I could lose myself completely in their sound.
This quintet of Chicago musicians really has something special to offer the city’s music scene, and lovers of live music would be wise to take a listen.

-all photos courtesy of David Sameshima. One can find David's photos of The Sometimes Family compiled here, a Flickr website.


1. Stand Up
2. It's Slow, but it Feels Alright
3. Apocalyptic Rap
4. Love
5. Put your Hands Together
6. Pockets and Peppermint
7. If its Love
8. On and On
9. It's a Wonder


10. Shallow ShareThis

Hungry Jack Outfitters



I have been intending to insert a few videos of my taking a break this week, actually in the city of Chicago. Classic November cold, rainy day kind of activity. But I can't seem to track down my memory card extractor device. What are those things referred to as? Either way, here's a brief entry that covers a few interests of mine: guitar and the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota.

I've been trying to figure out, through some very cursory research, greater information on northern Minnesota, for a possible relocation in the distant future. In doing so, sometime in December of 2008, I encountered this website of a fella that runs a canoe outfitter north east of Duluth, MN. The name of his operation is Hungry Jack Outfitters. The business is family run and is situated on the shores of Hungry Jack lake by the Canadian border.

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Anyway, you might give this guy's blog a glance, if you are interested. He apparently crafts guitars in the winter time when everything shuts down. I'm still investigating. Hopefully I can take a week up there to just volunteer or embark on a trip of some sorts among those remarkable lakes. He might change his mind if he catches wind of this blog that I have begun to keep.


Nathaniel Seer - performing at Uncommon Ground 2 on Saturday Nov 21 2009


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It is a weekend of music this time around for Chicago, as it is, really, any day. I would need to tri-locate to make the shows of four acts that have informed me of their shows on Saturday in Chicago. I can't do it, but I can put up a quick post, though. I'll have to leave it at this.

There is a picture I have here, and it is of Nathaniel Seer. I had the good fortune of hosting him last night after his performance. This is a bit of a teaser, the photo isn't the best in quality, but it captures a spirit, and that is mattering most. More to come later on Nathaniel Seer!!!

Where: Uncommon Ground 2
Address: 1401 West Devon Ave
Show time: 10PM-10:45PM
Cost: more than likely there will be a request for a donation nearing $10
Reservations: Yes! Make reservations by calling 773-465-9801

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...and the photo of Nathaniel Seer

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"Pal, I'd rather be hurt than paid.".


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I just finished this brief interview on the You Tube and it was the last few seconds that convinced me that it needs to be posted on a blog that generally focuses on music, and its pursuit.


Over the Weekend...



Here's a snap from Sunday Nov 15 2009. Spent the weekend with some of my band mates and a great engineer and his wonderful dogs, rescue dogs, actually. The activity that occurred over the time spent was equal to that of medicine for a soul that was under the weather, perhaps a tinge anemic. The canine in the photo truly did not care for photography, especially when the lens was aimed at it specifically. The dog had great personality and reminded me far too much of my legendary dog, Cliff. Doesn't pop culture usually follow with the quote, "Sniff, sniff."? Just mention Cliff and I'll pretty much be distracted from what I am involved in when the name gets mentioned. Nevertheless, a weekend hanging out with a dog that has a bit of the Akita breed in it, is the kind of activity I would not hesitate to sign up for. And on top of that, the dog had visible graying hair in the face. Excellent. I also was having loads of fun recording some pieces with one of the bands in my life, which was the primary focus. The whole weekend was a great thrill, I can vouch for the band that it was the same for all involved. A consistent thread, almost overwhelmingly, that has come before my eyes in seemingly everything I am doing or reading or hearing, in the past two weeks, is this simple message about the importance, and it has a quality of imperative attached to it, of pursuing the things that one is passionate about. There are very lucid memories of peak moments from the weekend when the band was recording, when I was reminded of how music is very much a tangible and intangible passion in life, for myself, all band mates, and the friends/acquaintances that I wish to report on through this mechanism of the blog. Roses now, but I also know that passion wanes and goes through its seasons. I suppose now it is fair weather. Soon, surely, there will be passion that will have run low on fuel. Maybe this is another reason for the blog, to talk about it, and let's others talk about through it their words or their songs. Just trying to be honest with this qualification. I have gone through a number of cycles with this passion and this pursuit, I can only hope that I have somehow learned how to preserve a core piece of what makes me feel inspired and charged up when I hear music that stirs me, the same music that makes me want to make music, all the while somehow ending up on the other side of having forged a way through the cycles of pursuing one's passion.


- Mr. Whiskers ShareThis

Living by the lake



Today I was in the middle of one of my regular errands associated with work. This particular errands get me to a location where I can enjoy a remarkable view of Lake Michigan, up close. Today was not any different from any other time that I have seen the lake: always full of surprises in the way viewing the lake takes me away from the day's trials and tribulations, etc. I should make a note to myself that I need to journey once more up along the Circle Tour, just north of Kenosha and Racine, up toward Milwaukee, then the stretch that leads out of Whitefish Bay (it is no surprise that the real estate is expensive there) to Sheboygan and all of the little spoken of places along the coast of Lake Michigan, at least on its western side. The west coast of Michigan is another love affair I'll surely be blogging about before too long. Actually, I'll more than likely post a few items on that come late Jan 2010, as one of the bands I am is hoping to schedule a few weekend runs in that area, specifically South Haven, Michigan.

This blog is becoming an omnibus of sorts, and will probably get out of control. I was fawning over the choppy waters of Lake Michigan about 30 minutes ago with my new little camera device, trying to capture the waves and the change in the weather. Certain moments, when one is watching the lake, really make it clear why the fellas on the Edmund Fitzgerald sank during that horrific November storm (the 'November gales' as the maritime community refers to them) years back. The waters were ferocious today. This body of water is so large it easy to forget that it isn't an ocean. Even the rip currents all along the coast claim human lives each year, they can be so strong.

Well, here is a video clip that I took. The rain was beginning to fall and I had to create a canopy with my hands. In lieu of such detail, one can forgive the little insert of my left hand acting as a buffer from the rain, top left screen. The last thing I need is a rain-damaged camera.


another band practice shot


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I was probably hacking away at the glockenspiel during this section of last night's practice. I have very patient band mates when it's my turn to play glockenspiel. One can often find me laughing at myself when I attempt to play them bells.


The light got me today



Not a great photo, but the burst of light this morning and the crisp northern Illinois air was the perfect morning greeting.


Nice endcap to the evening



A quick photo from band practice last night, in the garage.

- Mr. Whiskers ShareThis



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Well, now that the funnies have been mentioned, I can carry on with the true intention of the blog. Just another set of today's photos, though, for this entry. As well, I am trying to prepare for a few other notable events coming up in the local Chicago folk music scene, namely a few shows that will be taking place in December 2009. Formulating ideas and further interview questions. This is proving to be a fun exercise. Stay tuned...

I got the Swine flu nasal mist today. I asked if they had flavored ones, the nurses didn't, but it wasn't half that bad after all.

A couple of photos coming up here. The first is a view of Lake Michigan. I have had the pleasure of seeing this particular view for the past four years, always in the autumn season, and always without a camera. Times have changed. Now, that is a great Dylan song that I should put on the blog in the future, 'Times have changed'.


I have been admiring the Asters in bloom this autumn, as well. There were still a few remaining blossoms that I was able to capture on the digital image. Their colours in recent weeks have been beyond brilliant. My newfound interest in perennials has been quite a journey. When I learned of Asters and had nearly immediately begun to see them in the prairies nearby, especially in Lake County, it had been, and still is, a source of excitement because they stand out with their bold statement. The following photo I enjoyed a great bit because of the balance of the the blossoms that are already spent. As Craig Ferguson says, "Oh yeah, that's the good stuff.".

Asters at Northwestern Univ

And I wanted to add another photo of Oak leaves. I was held up by this tree as I was traveling westward along one of the area residential streets. The sunlight was just perfecto for this shot. These oak leaves are so hardy and durable, they rarely go unnoticed. It is always a great moment when I come upon these leaves, either on the trees, or on the floor of the earth. I grew up with a Pin Oak tree in St. Louis, it is a great tree, it was back in my younger years. By all accounts this week, the acorns are overwhelming to clean up after this particular growing season. I guess it is pretty accurate to say that the tree and my family grew up alongside one another.


Stopped the car to snap this



We are always archiving and documenting, aren't we?

The maples have been standing out this week, they are pretty much the last vestige of foliage in these parts of north Chicagoland. There is another tree with a yellowish/golden hue in the caption (right side of the street), just don't have that one figured out yet by name.

The oak leaves grab my attention when I am walking around and have the time to really get a good view of the details. Thought I'd share this. I found this leaf, amongst the many, along the lake shore by Northwestern's campus. Great grey cloudy day. I am trying to put the new camera through its paces. We'll see what I find out as the months advance.

- Mr. Whiskers ShareThis

Berlin Wall



Today is the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I can't pretend to know the significance of this event. A former co-worker was from Poland and he remarked a great bit about the history of Europe in this last century for his country. I remember the news as it came over the airwaves with our family's chosen conduit of news information: Tom Brokaw from NBC. I believe CNN was around by that time, but as I came up, my weeknight evenings were spent at table indulging in mom and grandma's delicious food at 5:30PM listening to and watching Tom Brokaw on NBC's Nightly News. Apparently Brokaw went back for today's commemorative events that were scheduled outside the Brandenburg Gate. He is much more grey of hair than he was in 1989. I grew up with him, I remember that voice. It is burned into my mind.

Strange as it is, I also think about Klaus Meine from the German hard rock band The Scorpions. Not only Klaus but the the rest of the band. I saw them in concert with a friend of mine at the now non-existent St. Louis Arena while they were on the 'Tease Me Please Me tour', early 1990's for certain. I can't recall the exact year but I recall sitting stage right and I nearly vividly remember that stage design. I think the Scorps (short for Scorpions) designed a tarantula with their Bon Jovi lights that hung over the stage. The tarantula came down over the band at strategic points during the show. Fun memories. Great show, excellent band.

One song from their album 'Love at First Sting' comes to mind, it is the song 'Crossfire'. Military snare drum beat, metal guitars played through big Marshall stacks (more than likely JCM 800's), and the high-pitched screaching voice. I love Klaus, though. I probably should provide a link to the song 'Winds of Change', but I really have had enough of that song. It is an interesting musical piece for sure, but it was played far too much for my tastes over the radio circuits in St. Louis, Missouri. But with 'Crossfire' I think Klaus is trying to provide a commentary on the situation in Western Germany prior to the Wall's being toppled, perhaps Europe and Eastern Europe, in general. Not necessarily poignant, the song, but perhaps it is. Either way, metal prevails, as do my base instincts. Maybe the shredder guitar just gets into my bones and rattles me a good way. I have no idea.

But with the Berlin Wall falling asunder surely these fellas in the Scorpions must've experienced elation beyond their wildest imaginations. Either way, in this link I'll provide below, you see that most of the band is still intact these days. I think they lost a member or so in the rhythm section, not sure if Herman is still there (didn't do the research). Either way, I love these guys because they are pretty odd to the critical community, but that is precisely the point about music: it is for all, and not just for the critical. Music is for joy and it is ubiquitous. And this band has surely had its share of critics. They don't seem to want to age, their lead singer is a little eccentric, as is one of the guitarists and the singer is balding which typically doesn't bode well with the Metal Music community. It could potentially be a strange experience to see them live. Beyond all of this, they are still doing it. God love 'em for it. Can you imagine the flack they have received over the years? It might have crossed their minds to throw in the towel. I am glad they didn't.

It has been decided that there will be two videos linked for this posting. I kind of enjoy this current video of them playing this past summer 2009 in Gdansk, Poland, the song 'Coming Home'. After watching it in full, it is clear that the rhythm section has been replaced, but the two guitarists and the singer are the same as in the 80's and 90's. The second link provided will apparently be simply the audio of the song 'Crossfire', from the 'Love at First Sting' album, with a picture remaining constant on the screen. It provides audio that is representative of the song to which I am referring. It will serve the purpose effectively enough.

I am realizing that I had hastily put together this Scorpions blog posting, but it was the anniversary that was the primary driver here. I love my 80's metal, however I do still wish to dedicate a larger portion of this blog to bands and other musicians that I have played shows with. I'd have loved to have played a show with Kevin DuBrow and Quiet Riot, but now he is dead from that cocaine overdose last year, so I can pretty confidently assume that I won't be writing about any future shows I would've shared with them. I'll do my best to temper some of the strong impulse that exists within me to carry on continuously about the brilliance of 80's guitar shredders. (please see video attached as a sample)

A posting that I hope to publish by week's end, next week, will hopefully be a nice little interview with a singer-songwriter that will be rolling into town on Nov 21, 2009 (Saturday) to play a show in the northernmost reaches of the city of Chicago. I just got off the phone with this person today and I was, thankfully, able to seek and obtain permission from them to submit interview questions. This is a momentous occasion as it will mark the very first interview with an artist for this here Derelict Songs Blog. I only hope the final product that gets published does the person and their craft justice. It will be informative to go about this project as it will provide early data for how the archetype of these blog interviews will develop and form for subsequent publishings/submissions.

Part of the blog will engage other personal interests. I might draw on a few other ideas that other bloggers employ in their efforts, namely photography. It is all coming around and to a light. Throwing darts. Just throwing darts. Or, pasta.

(creation of the blog was begun on Monday November 9, 2009 - 20th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall)

Thank you for reading!

- Mr. Whiskers


'Coming Home' live in Gdansk, Poland (June 2009)

'Crossfire' audio from the album 'Love at First Sting', with a still of the album cover


This process begins today


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This has to happen sometime, so I have chosen now as the day or the hour. Goals? How about expectations first. I'd love to provide eloquence and erudition, but I am certain I will fall woefully short of such an endeavor or lofty ambitions. But I suppose the story proceeds that I grew up with my own favorites within what is called 'music'. I'd like to share commentary on songs, or even bodies of song that I might have on repeat play within the confines of my car or my messy bedroom, if you can call it a bedroom.

And so it begins. Mr. Mister. I came up with four older siblings. In growing up, I won't suggest that I was advanced in my pursuit of the underdog band or songwriter, I pretty much took what was fed to me. The bulk of my music came from KSHE 95, the radio station in St. Louis, Missouri (94.7 FM). I hope to continue reflection on KSHE as this blogging process continues and advances. It will more than likely require referencing in subsequent entries. The pink pig with black shades on and headphones. Real Rock Radio.

Mr. Mister. When I think of this group I think of the 80's. I thinkof Miami Vice. 'Vice' is a central piece that figures into my understanding of the 80's. I hope I am still impressionable, but certainly in the first ten years of anyone's life they are impressionable. It was no different for me. With this band I recall the remarkable voice and the song that paid the band members' mortgages, 'Broken Wings'. I have no idea what the song is about, who can truly conjecture what a song is about? But who needs to know true meaning regarding song-smithing? I guess maybe that is the purpose of the blog: I think there needs to be more written about bands that don't get on the more popular blogs. If there isn't a chance to get on more popular blogs, then create one and make it work. I will.

OK. Another tangent, and that suits this blog perfectly well. Currently I am hacking away currently at the bass guitar in two bands, and so when I listen to 'Broken Wings' I hear the beat that is kept by the lead singer/bassist/chief songwriter Richard Page. Cheezeball as ever, that I am. There is no regret.

Commentary is sure to vary. Questions regarding the importance of a certain song will be entertained. Surely reflections on composition will occur. Am I qualified? Absolutely not. I craft songs by sound and not by understanding of theory. I listen in my car to songs because I feel them at the time or during the moment, and most often need them. There won't be easy answers on this blog. There will undoubtedly be easy conclusions that might very well be the very opposite of anything resembling complexity.

Why write about Mr. Mister? And why not? This will be a question to ask of every entry on this blog. Good questions these will be, and they should be asked. Music seems to be attached to time and often to place. Again, Mr. Mister launches me back 23 1/2 years to 1985 when I heard it on the radio. There is nothing remarkable about how I heard the song. The remarkable piece is that the song is still viable for me and always will be. Does this song need to be compared to any other song? Not sure. Does it need to measured? What would be the purpose? And assuredly there are far better questions to ask. No matter, the music moves. And that is probably what it is supposed to do.

What will be the parameters of this enterprise? There are none determined yet. There are certainly some goals that I wish to achieve. As a fledgling musician who plays in a few local outfits already, it is apparent that blogs have rivaled and in many ways surpassed the impact of what 'Rolling Stone' magazine used to be for bands. So one must go with it! Yet there exists a tremendous gap within the genre of the blog, as it has come to exist, and that is what is of greatest concern. I am one that appreciates some of the more popular blogs that come to mind, but none of them can remember the Hoyne show at the Mutiny in Dec of 2003. Believe me, I have tried to find anyone writing a review of that show. I have tried to find photos of Guy Grace playing bass on floor, Dangerous D on the drums and Mike Rizzo belching out the classics from that yet to be produced full-length that the Chicago music community desperately yearns for. What about reviews of those early Dragonfly Red shows at Bar Vertigo on Western Avenue? Is there a living record of these morsels of history? How about Ben Summers solo sets at Uncommon Ground from 2005? Why is this stuff lost? And what has been lost? The bigger blogs can't handle all of it.

The future is promising. Elsinore has added a new member to their fold in 2009. Adam Faucett just finished 7 to 8 weeks of travel with his 3-piece band, stretching across the entire expanse of the country. Bile Greene is back in Philadelphia crafting more precious gems out of that lovely little Vox amp of his. William Blackart just underwent knee surgery, you can count on that man coming up with good material during his convalescence in Russellville, Arkansas. E.P. Hall has a new album coming out this November and is putting on a cd release show in less than two weeks. There are so many more. The parameters are set, I suppose.

Contributors to this blog, I can only hope, will expand and increase in number. Good music is happening everywhere and it isn't getting enough attention. Believe me, to some, the Avett Brothers are still unknowns, but how many more times do we need to read about them on blogs, which by creation are and were supposed to be tools of shouting out loud the merits of new and upcoming bands? This blog may only mention a few of the local favorites in limited amounts, this might be best as I can only hope they gain greater numbers of adherents to their songs and their live shows. It is my hope that I can convince some of my friends/acquaintances/band mates to contribute thoughts to this blog. There won't be a measuring system, there won't be a yardstick, and such a choice and direction is purposeful. It simply isn't an interest of mine, and if this blog is under my e-mail, then maybe that is my only request of my contributors: lay off the harsh criticisms.

Well, another parameter has been cast: the promotion of the lower tier, primarily, but also to reflect on some of the music that moves me and has moved me historically. No apologies if there is an entry about Tom Kiefer's rhythm guitar playing, the singer of the 80's metal band Cinderella. I must define what consists in the lower tier, as a phrase or a description. What does it involve? It is nothing more than bands that are not making it to these other well-known blogs. It is no description or criticism of talent. The talent is there, it just isn't getting the recognition it deserves.

The format, hopefully, will be expansive. Hopefully this blog can provides links to live shows, videos, mp3's (with permission, in most cases), schwag, concert reviews, live webcasts, websites, etc. This blog will concern itself with music and the endeavoring toward making good music ubiquitous.

A few apologies to begin with. I wish I was a creative writer, I am not. Do I read enough? I do not. Will I reference enough film when I provide reviews of concerts? I will not. Will there be order to this? Does there need to be order?

This is not a club. This is borne out of frustration that a band like Facing Winter is not getting enough recognition for the significant work that they are doing and have done. The house show they played in West Chicago in Feb 2009 was incredible, did anybody ever write about it or produce some good, representative photography of the event? Of course not. I was there, but I didn't even think to bring a camera. My fault.

What about that show at the A Zone on Milwaukee Ave with Brown Stuff (John Bellows) sometime in the winter of 2003? The show took place in the basement of the A Zone. The Coughs played there. Fantastic show, first time I had seen The Coughs. Brown Stuff gave away his tapes out of a brown paper bag after the show, only accepted donations. It was a beautiful event. That crowd was not pleased with George W. Bush, as I recall.

Let's get on with this.

First up is a link to the Mr. Mister song 'Broken Wings'. Remember, this blog seeks to provide an outlet. My own posts won't reveal a refined taste in music, it will only reveal what I enjoy and for my own reasons. I will not portend to speak for my fellow contributors, of which there are none currently. I hope by the 58th blog entry I might have 3 contributors on the roster. It is a lofty goal to ask someone to contribute to a blog that references Cinderella in its inaugural blog posting. I know my tastes can tend to separate the wheat from the chaff. I ally myself with the chaff.

Enjoy the blog!


Thank you for reading. Support these bands if they interest you!

- Mr. Whiskers ShareThis