The Claudettes, The Imperial Sound

The Claudettes

The Imperial Sound

Sat, December 10, 2016

9:00 pm

The Hideout

Chicago, IL

$12.00

Tickets at the Door

The Claudettes
The Claudettes
Pianist Johnny Iguana formed the Claudettes, who feature Berit Ulseth on vocals, Zach Verdoorn on bass guitar and vocals and Matt Torre on drums. Johnny, who has toured internationally with his own cult-favorite rock band oh my god, is currently a member of two Grammy-nominated blues groups: Chicago Blues--A Living History and the Muddy Waters 100 Band. Johnny has toured or recorded with Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, James Cotton, Carey Bell, Lil' Ed and more. The Claudettes combine the Chicago blues-piano tradition with the energy of rockabilly and punk and the sultry sound of '60s soul-jazz to create a thrilling new spin on American roots music.
The Imperial Sound
The Imperial Sound
The roots of this band go back a very long way. Kenn Goodman and Rick Mosher met in college in 1980, where they shared a love of both music and good-natured provocation; they started a new wave band, and also published a phony college newspaper that ridiculed frat culture. Their band played mostly originals, unusual for their scene, and they had success on the local circuit, playing virtually anywhere and anytime, for any number of people (this era included an opening slot for the biker band Black Oak Arkansas). The band recorded two 45’s, got their songs played on the local radio station, and totally ruled the scene.

But Kenn and Rick had bigger ideas. Soon they had dropped out of college, started a new band, and relocated to Chicago, where Kenn led the way in starting Pravda Records, a label and store located in the Cabaret Metro building (the store is long gone, and so is the “Cabaret” part of the club’s name). Soon Pravda was one of the most recognized record stores in the city. Kenn and Rick were busy with the Pravda label as well, releasing records by a number of bands including [band and band]. During this time the label was perhaps best known for producing a pair of tribute albums to K-tel Records, a compilation of 1970’s one-hit wonders performed by well-known local and national bands including [the Smashing Fufkins, Mojo Nixon, The Posies…].

Along with running the store and the label, Kenn and Rick were busy with their new band, The Service, which by now included Gary Schepers on bass. The Service was a mainstay of Chicago’s new-music club scene in the 1980’s, and the band’s four albums are full of sturdy, no-nonsense songs and inventive arrangements. Their music has aged well, as critic Peter Margasak noted in the Chicago Reader on the occasion of Pravda’s 25th Anniversary in 2010: “I still have an awful lot of underground rock records from the mid- to late 80s, before media and marketing geniuses cooked up terms like "alt-rock" and "indie rock," and few of them have aged as well as my Service albums… They were the epitome of the midwestern rock of the time—unfussy, exuberant, and with a certain elegance in its simplicity.”

The Service was a hardscrabble band with more songs and passion than money in the bank, but they toured constantly despite $2 per diems and shared single motel rooms (a past memorialized in the Imperial Sound song “6 to a Room”). They had a good run, but after several years the pressure got to them – Kenn, Rick, and drummer John Smith split off to form The New Duncan Imperials, a band as noisy and irreverent as the Service were poetic. NDI enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top of the city’s club scene, and by the start of the 1990’s were selling out shows throughout the country; they made inroads into Europe as well. Their recorded output – 10 releases in all -- is an avalanche of chaotic, absurdist power pop. These days the band is often referred to as “legendary.” No one is arguing.

Fast forward two decades: NDI performs when the feeling is right. Kenn runs Pravda as a successful indie label and publishing company, and works onstage with Andre Williams and Expo 76, among others; Rick is a history teacher and artist. The two men share a history and a sensibility that defies the years, and now they have a new project in which to pour their remarkable energy. The Imperial Sound is a band forged in decades of shared experience and challenge, both sublime and ridiculous. The Imperial Sound is a group of veterans drawing on decades of experience, yet they sound anything but tired -- the songs are fresh and the vibe is driving and melodic. This may be a band with a past, but it’s also a band with a future.

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Venue Information:
The Hideout
1354 W. Wabansia Ave
Chicago, IL, 60642
http://www.hideoutchicago.com