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Chicago hardcore outfit the Bhopal Stiffs was formed in 1985 by singers/guitarists Larry Damore and Vince Marine, bassist Steve Saylors, and drummer Dave Schleitwiler. The band name is a reference to an ecological disaster which took place in Bhopal, India in 1984. Honing a melodic, mid-tempo approach very much in tune with the prevailing Windy City punk sound of the period, the group gigged steadily, in time becoming the de facto house band at the Chicago bar Exit. In 1987, the Bhopal Stiffs recorded a ten-song demo tape, with the single "Not Just My Head" following on the Dazit label later that year and played gigs in Indiana, Wisconsin, St Louis and many shows in Chicago. Marine exited the lineup in early 1988, with guitarist Ron Lowe stepping in and Larry Damore assuming sole vocal duties; the reconfigured group recorded the six-song E.P.A. record, issued on the Roadkill label. After contributing "Too Much Pain" to the There's a Fungus Among Us compilation, the Bhopal Stiffs disbanded in 1989; Larry Damore and Steve Saylors later formed Pegboy with former Naked Raygun guitarist John Haggerty, while Dave Schleitwiler went on to play drums for local groups Buzzmuscle and The Indicators, amongst others, and Ron Lowe became a recording engineer at the Chicago Recording Company. Harmless Records later compiled the Stiffs' complete recorded output on the CD 1985-1989. The band played reunion shows in 2001 and 2010.
Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in Illinois and the third most populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,716,450 (2017), it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States. Chicago is the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States, and the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, which is often referred to as "Chicagoland." The Chicago metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States; the fourth largest in North America ; and the third largest metropolitan area in the world by land area.
Hardcore punk is a punk rock music genre and subculture that originated in the late 1970s. It is generally faster, harder, and more aggressive than other forms of punk rock. Its roots can be traced to earlier punk scenes in San Francisco and Southern California which arose as a reaction against the still predominant hippie cultural climate of the time. It was also inspired by New York punk rock and early proto-punk. New York punk had a harder-edged sound than its San Francisco counterpart, featuring anti-art expressions of masculine anger, energy, and subversive humor. Hardcore punk generally disavows commercialism, the established music industry and "anything similar to the characteristics of mainstream rock" and often addresses social and political topics with "confrontational, politically-charged lyrics."
The Bhopal disaster, also referred to as the Bhopal gas tragedy, was a gas leak incident on the night of 2–3 December 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India. It is considered to be the world's worst industrial disaster. Over 500,000 people were exposed to methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas. The highly toxic substance made its way into and around the small towns located near the plant.
All four original of the Bhopal Stiffs lived in the general Brookfield/Riverside/LaGrange area growing up. Vince and Larry, despite being on the wrestling team together in high school, weren't close friends until they both met by chance at Illinois State University. There Vince & Larry would jam and after Larry dropped out of ISU they met up with Dave (who went to grade school with Vince) to get a band started. In the process of trying to find a bassist, one of the women who tried out suggested Steve to the group. The four of them began as a cover band called Blue Youth - doing covers of bands like The Cure. After decided they wanted to play their own music they briefly entertained the name The Shuttle Stiffs before deciding to go with Bhopal.
For awhile the band was practicing 5 days a week yet never playing out. They finally played their first show was at Exit, where the band members were regulars and friends of the staff. After awhile the Bhopal Stiff became an Exit house band, playing shows frequently and filling in time slots when needed. Joe Patelco (spelling), a manager at Exit, offered and eventually financed the making of the 7-inch. The band went into Chicago Recording Company with Iain Burgess in 1987 to record a ten song demo, two songs of which ended up on their 7-inch.
Tensions and bickering came to a head when guitarist and co-songwriter Vince Marine was kicked out of the band and replaced by Ron Lowe in 1988. They went back to CRC with Iain to record the EPA EP. After Vince left the spark and dedication for the band waned rapidly and the band was going through the motions, eventually breaking up in 1989. Larry, Steve and Dave started jamming with John Haggerty, who had just left Naked Raygun and joined a few of the Stiffs practice sessions. When things fizzled with the Stiffs the earliest incarnation of Pegboy was formed. It was not to be for Dave however, as John wanted to play with his brother Joe Haggerty, who became the drummer for the band.
In 2001, all the members of the Bhopal Stiffs (including Vince & Ron) did reunion show at the Fireside Bowl. In 2010 they played a show at Subterranean as part of Riot Fest.
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Stiff Little Fingers are a punk rock band from Belfast, Northern Ireland. They formed in 1977, at the height of the Troubles. They started out as a schoolboy band called Highway Star, doing rock covers, until they discovered punk. They split up after six years and four albums, although they reformed five years later, in 1987. Despite major personnel changes, they are still touring and recording. In 2014 the band released their tenth studio album and a world tour followed its release. Jake Burns, their lead singer, is the only member to have been with the band during all its incarnations, but in March 2006, original bass guitarist Ali McMordie rejoined them following the departure of The Jam bass player Bruce Foxton after fifteen years.
Larry Wallis is an English guitarist, songwriter and producer. He is best known as a member of the Pink Fairies and an early member of Motörhead.
Naked Raygun is an American punk rock/post-punk band formed in Chicago in 1980. Initially active until 1992, the band had several short-lived reunions afterwards and a full-time reformation in 2006.
John "Jake" Burns is a singer and guitarist, and is best known as the frontman of Stiff Little Fingers.
Pegboy is an American punk band from Chicago, Illinois with a relatively large cult following. They were founded in 1990 by John Haggerty, along with his brother Joe Haggerty, Larry Damore (vocals/guitar), and Steve Saylors (bass). Both Damore and Saylors had been members of Chicago-based hardcore band Bhopal Stiffs, whose 1987 demo had been produced by John Haggerty. Pegboy's 1990 debut EP, "Three-Chord Monte", was also the first release by Quarterstick Records, an offshoot of Touch and Go Records. Steve Saylors dropped out in 1992 after job commitments prevented him from touring. Steve Albini, a longtime friend of the band, filled the bass slot on the "Fore" EP. Former Naked Raygun bassist Pierre Kezdy became the permanent bass player in 1994. After the reformation of Naked Raygun, Mike Thompson took over for Kezdy on bass.
Steve Bjorklund a/k/a Steve Björklund a/k/a Steffan Bjorklund was born ca. 1960 in Chicago, Illinois. He was an early figure in the first punk rock music scene in Chicago. He briefly attended Roycemore School in Evanston, Illinois. His first known recorded appearance was in July, 1978, as a guitarist-singer with the protopunk-garage-New Wavish band The Rabbits, who opened a show in Schaumburg, Illinois by power-pop up-and-comers Pezband.
The Effigies were an American punk band from Chicago, Illinois, United States. The band played its first show in 1980 and was active initially for approximately a decade, undergoing multiple personnel changes with frontman John Kezdy the only constant, before disbanding in 1990. The band released 5 albums and several EPs, most on the record label they founded in 1981, Ruthless Records, which was distributed by Enigma. Later albums were on the Fever Records and Roadkill Records labels. They toured the U.S. and Canada and played notable venues, including CBGB, Maxwell's, First Avenue (nightclub), Mabuhay Gardens, Paycheck's (Detroit), Exit (Chicago) and The Rathskeller, among others. They also received a significant amount of national airplay on college radio at a time when it was the only medium for alternative music.
Ruthless Records was the name of a Chicago punk record label. Founded in 1981 by the Effigies, it was not a real business, but a name used by Chicago and Minneapolis punk bands from 1981 to 1990: Big Black, the Effigies, End Result, Naked Raygun, Rifle Sport and Urge Overkill. The Effigies operated the label from its creation in 1981 until 1984, when they found the label to be distracting from their priorities with the band. They handed the label over to Big Black founder Steve Albini, who ran the label until it dissolved in 1990.
John Haggerty is an influential Chicago guitarist. A key member of Naked Raygun during their heyday (1983–1989), Haggerty formed the band Pegboy, with brother Joe Haggerty on drums and Steve Saylors (bass) and Larry Damore (vocals) of the Bhopal Stiffs, upon leaving Naked Raygun.
Throb Throb is an album by Chicago punk band Naked Raygun, released on Homestead Records in 1985. It was the first of the band's releases to feature the musicianship of John Haggerty whose guitar playing distinguished the band's sound during the 1980s. Quarterstick Records reissued the album in 1999, and added an early version of "Libido" as bonus material, which originally appeared on the Flammable Solid 7".
Iain Burgess was an English record producer and audio engineer. He helped define the sound of the Chicago post-punk music scene in the 1980s and early 1990s, working with a number of key underground bands, including Big Black, Naked Raygun, The Effigies, Get Smart!, Ministry, Green, Bloodsport, Pegboy, Poster Children, and Bhopal Stiffs.
Jettison is the third album by Chicago punk band Naked Raygun, released on Caroline Records in 1988.
All Rise is the second full-length album recorded by Chicago post-hardcore band Naked Raygun in 1985 and released on LP by Homestead Records in 1986. When Quarterstick Records re-released all of Naked Raygun's early albums in the late 90s, two bonus tracks were added to the CD album.
Joe Haggerty is the drummer for Pegboy and is known for his dense, energetic, relentless and varied drumming style. In the mid-1980s he was the drummer for the Chicago punk band Bloodsport. In 1987, three of the members of Bloodsport, including Haggerty, went on to join a re-formed version of the Effigies. When the Effigies folded in 1990, Haggerty became a founding member of Pegboy, along with his brother John Haggerty.
Three-Chord Monte is an EP by Pegboy, released in 1990 through Quarterstick Records.
Strong Reaction is the debut album of Pegboy, released on September 15, 1991 through Quarterstick Records.
Fore is an EP by the punk rock band Pegboy. It was released in 1993 on Quarterstick Records.
Pierre Kezdy is a Chicago bass player, known for playing with various Chicago punk bands, including Naked Raygun, Pegboy, Strike Under, Arsenal, and Trial By Fire. Kezdy was interviewed for the film "You Weren't There" and two of his bands were profiled. He is also the younger brother of Effigies frontman John Kezdy.
Understand? is the fourth album by Chicago post-hardcore band Naked Raygun, released in 1989 through Caroline Records.
Raygun...Naked Raygun is the fifth album by Chicago post-hardcore band Naked Raygun, released in 1990 through Caroline Records. The album was recorded at Chicago Trax and was co-produced by Keith Harbacher and the band. It was the band's first album with their new guitarist Bill Stephens, who had replaced John Haggerty. This was the last album by the band before they broke up in 1992.