|Origin||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
|Years active||1980–1990, 1992, 1995–1996, 2004–2009|
|Labels||Ruthless, Enigma, Touch and Go Records, Criminal IQ Records, Roadkill Records, Fever Records|
|Associated acts||Naked Raygun, Strike Under, Pegboy, Bloodsport,Trial by Fire|
|Members||John Kezdy, Robert McNaughton, Paul Zamost, Steve Economou|
|Past members||Earl Letiecq, Robert O'Connor, Chris Bjorklund, Joe Haggerty, Tom Woods|
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.
The Effigies' website states that they were one of the first punk bands in Chicago.This might be a complicated claim for a band not formed until 1980, but true in the sense that the Midwest resisted punk and was late to discover or appreciate it to any degree. In the years immediately after The Ramones and The Sex Pistols first released records (1977), Chicago remained dominated by classic rock, disco and blues; punk bands were anathema to the Midwest rock establishment and had few places to play and fans had few places to hear live bands. Despite revisionistic claims in its later advertised station history, even Chicago's "progressive" radio station, WXRT, was never very supportive of punk or even new wave, outside a few efforts of a couple of DJs relegated to late night slots. What most punk fans recall as the first "scene" in Chicago did not rise until the very early 1980s, when clubs like Oz and O’Banion’s started to provide venues for live punk. In a 1999 retrospective about the 1985 music year, Chicago Sun-Times music writer Jim Derogatis termed the heyday of The Effigies "the second generation of Midwestern punks," but this is correct only in describing the burgeoning young 1985 Midwest punk scene as it overtook the smaller, older scene which had cloistered itself in punk discos like La Mere Vipere and for all its excesses was musically passive, generating no bands and creating no music. By 1985,The Effigies, Naked Raygun, Strike Under and Big Black had been around for half a decade. There were no active punk bands in Chicago before them.
Attempts to characterize The Effigies as post-punk, hardcore and, to the extent it is distinguishable, Chicago hardcore, reveal the difficulty in pigeonholing the band's sound which is more expansive than the punk subgenres both musically and thematically. Even the catch-all "post-hardcore" becomes an inapt anachronism in light of the fact that the band's seminal releases pre-date the arrival of hardcore by several years. Indie rock pundit Steve Albini writes that "The Effigies were absolutely essential to the development of a healthy punk scene in Chicago. Between them and Naked Raygun, in the early 80s they basically kept the scene going until it developed momentum beyond them.""The Effigies were a moving force during a crucial and exhilarating time."
The history of The Effigies develops in three discernible periods, each marked by a different lead guitarist. The Effigies' original lineup consisted of John Kezdy (vocals), Earl "Oil" Letiecq (guitar), Paul Zamost (bass) and Steve Economou (drums). By 1984 Letiecq’s distractions had estranged him from the group, and in the words of Zamost, “we had problems with our guitar player. We had to switch guitar players....”Minor Threat guitarist Lyle Preslar made inquiries about joining the band. Robert O’Connor replaced Letiecq as lead guitarist and this second lineup released two LPs, Fly on a Wire, and Ink. These albums were engineered and co-produced with the band by Iain Burgess, and were distinguished from the recordings of the first lineup by their sublimated aggression and comparatively muted rhythms. They also hinted at another growing division in the band. As Burgess put it, "they got a lot of heat for the change in musical direction to some degree on the latter two albums that I worked on, Ink and Fly on a Wire. I think both of which have some really f*****g good songs on them, and some are, well, in my opinion, just not all that marvelous. I think John (Kezdy) would say the same thing. I’m sure he likes all the songs, but some of it we could have done better." It was at this stage the band began getting tagged with the ill-fitting post-punk and post-hardcore labels.
Perceiving the band's punk ethos as an obstacle to "mass appeal," Zamost and O'Connor joined O'Connor's wife to form a new band called Machines in Motion during the summer of 1986 to pursue a more commercial sound.Economou fell in with them. This effectively dissolved The Effigies in the middle of a national tour supporting their third LP, Ink. Prosaic and muddled, Machines in Motion were poorly received and broke up acrimoniously after only a few performances. The O'Connors dropped back into obscurity and Zamost began a long string of short-lived bands.
In 1987 Kezdy reunited with Letiecq and added Chris Bjorklund (Strike Under, Bloodsport, Trial by Fire)(bass) and Joe Haggerty (drums). In 1988, Letiecq departed again to form the band Jack Scratch with Dave Bergeron, formerly of Bloodsport. Bjorklund moved to guitar and Tom Woods became the Effigies' bassist. Coincidentally, Bjorklund, Haggerty, and Woods had comprised the rest of Bloodsport.In 1990, the Effigies called it quits and Kezdy pursued a career as an attorney. The original line up reunited for a one-off show in 1992. They came together again in late 1995 and early 1996 to play a few Chicago shows to celebrate the reissue of their Remains Nonviewable compilation CD on Touch and Go Records.
After seventeen years of unremarkable musical projects,Economou and Zamost sought a rapprochement with Kezdy. The Effigies re-formed in 2004 and in 2007 released their first recording in nearly 20 years, a full LP titled Reside, which was a return to their earlier form. The album was produced by Andy Gerber, who once played with Zamost and Economou in the band Laughing Man. The most recent lineup consisted of original members John Kezdy, Paul Zamost, and Steve Economou, and new guitarist Robert McNaughton, who had previously been in the bands Pop Media, We're Staying, and along with Zamost, The Indicators, The Lemmings, The Greys, 80 Proof Preacher and People Like Us. McNaughton composed music for the film Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Since 2010 Economou has also been collaborating with Steve Bjorklund and keyboardist LizB in the band High Value Target.
The cover of the band's record "Haunted Town"constitutes the first use of the Chicago flag as a countercultural geo-signifier. Consequently, the flag was adopted as a motif within the nascent Chicago punk scene and later became fashionable outside the milieu of music.
In late 2010, The Effigies were slated to play a Riot Fest show commemorating the re-release of the 1981 Busted at Oz compilation.The show was to be at a Chicago venue called the Metro and featured a number of reunited groups that had appeared on the original compilation. Due to the band's long-standing objection to the Metro as a venue – alluded to in a 1993 interview with bassist Zamost – the show was moved to a smaller club, the Double Door. Initially agreeing to fill out the original lineup for what promised to be a compelling show, guitarist Letiecq pulled out within weeks of the show and just prior to the event posted a note on the Riot Fest website declaiming against the endeavor and vowing for unstated reasons never to perform with the original members again. Without their guitarist, the remaining band members withdrew from the show rather than appear as an unrehearsed and falsely billed original line-up.
John Kezdy is the older brother of Naked Raygun bassist Pierre Kezdy.
The Effigies can be seen in You Weren’t There , a 2007 film about the Chicago punk scene from 1977 through 1984.
Post-hardcore is a punk rock music genre that maintains the aggression and intensity of hardcore punk but emphasizes a greater degree of creative expression initially inspired by post-punk and noise rock. Like post-punk, the term has been applied to a broad constellation of groups. Post-hardcore began in the 1980s with bands like Hüsker Dü and Minutemen. The genre expanded in the 1980s and 1990s with releases by bands from cities that had established hardcore scenes, such as Fugazi from Washington, D.C. as well as groups such as Big Black and Jawbox that stuck closer to post-hardcore's noise rock roots. In the 2000s, post-hardcore achieved mainstream success with the popularity of bands like My Chemical Romance, AFI, Underoath, Hawthorne Heights, The Used, At the Drive-In and Senses Fail. In the 2010s, post-hardcore bands like Sleeping with Sirens and Pierce the Veil achieved success and bands like Title Fight and La Dispute experienced underground popularity.
Naked Raygun is an American punk rock/post-punk band formed in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago in 1980. Initially active until 1992, the band had several short-lived reunions afterwards and a full-time reformation in 2006.
Chicago developed a hardcore punk scene in the early 1980s. Chicago Hardcore is now characterized by fast, hardcore punk rock with familiar sounds to Boston, New York, and Los Angeles hardcore. Chicago Hardcore was, and still is, characterized by fast punk beats, angry protest lyrics, and melodic singing. In addition, the Chicago hardcore sound is considered one of the pioneering sounds in the creation of post-hardcore music.
Santiago Durango is a Colombian guitarist remembered for his work with the 1980s punk rock groups Naked Raygun and Big Black. Mostly retired from music as of the early 2000s, he works as an attorney.
Government Issue was an American hardcore punk band from Washington, D.C. active from 1980 to 1989. The band experienced many changes in membership during its nine-year existence, with singer John Stabb as the only consistent member in an ever-fluctuating lineup that at various times included notable musicians Brian Baker, Mike Fellows, Steve Hansgen, J. Robbins, and Peter Moffett. Government Issue originated from the Washington, D.C. hardcore scene but added elements of heavy metal, new wave, and psychedelic rock on later records. Though this has caused the band to be sometimes overlooked in relation to other Washington, D.C. hardcore acts, their stylistic diversity made them influential to later punk rock groups. Government Issue performed occasional reunion shows in the 2000s and 2010s with various lineups, until Stabb's death from stomach cancer in 2016.
Articles of Faith was a Chicago-based hardcore punk band originally active between 1981 and 1985. The band's later work is credited with superior songwriting and with foreshadowing the emo sound. Originally a Springsteen/Clash cover band called Direct Drive, the group changed both its music and name after frontman Vic Bondi visited Washington, D.C. in 1981 and saw a Bad Brains show that he describes as an “epiphany.” AoF typically showed funk, reggae and jazz influences, accompanied by lyrics bemoaning the difficulty of finding freedom and fulfillment in consumer society. While the band's influence was blunted by being based in Chicago, it maintained close musical and thematic ties to the Washington DC / Dischord Records scene. Drummer Bill Richman, a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party briefly left the band in 1984 due to the waning of the band's political emphasis; he returned later to record In This Life. Bondi had already left Chicago by the time AoF disbanded in 1985; In This Life was issued two years later. The original lineup reunited for a European tour in 1991. The final show of this tour was recorded and issued as part of the Your Choice Live series.
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.
WZRD is the student-run radio station at Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, Illinois, US, founded in 1974. The station serves the Chicago area. The station is licensed by the FCC to Northeastern Illinois University. WZRD broadcasts on a freeform radio format.
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.
Strike Under was an influential Chicago punk rock band of the early 1980s. It was started by Steve Bjorklund after the demise of The Rabbits. The principal musicians, besides Bjorklund, were his brother Chris (guitar), Pierre Kezdy (bass), and Bob Furem (drums).
Breaking Circus was a post-punk band from the 1980s, based in Chicago and later Minneapolis, founded by guitarist and vocalist Steve Björklund.
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.
The Faith was an early American hardcore punk band, from Washington D.C., with strong connections to the scene centered on the Dischord label. Along with Minor Threat, The Faith were key players in the early development of hardcore, with a (later) melodic approach that would influence not just associated acts like Rites of Spring, Embrace and Fugazi, but also a subsequent generation of bands such as Nirvana, whose Kurt Cobain was a vocal fan.
You Weren't There: A History of Chicago Punk, 1977–1984 is a 2007 documentary film about punk subculture in Chicago from 1977 through 1984. The film was written and directed by Joe Losurdo and Christina Tillman, and profiles the punk bars and local bands that gave rise to the city's punk rock scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Losurdo was the one-time bass player for the Chicago-based 1980s hardcore band, Life Sentence, although his group is not profiled in the movie. Reviewer Max Goldberg of the San Francisco Bay Guardian called the film "a thrillingly exhaustive survey of early Chicago punk."
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.
DA! was a Chicago-based post-punk band of the early 1980s, known for their songs "Dark Rooms" and "Time Will Be Kind". Their sound was influenced by artists such as the Cure, Gang of Four, Bauhaus and Siouxsie and the Banshees.
Jeff Dean is a punk rock musician and recording engineer based in Chicago, Illinois. He is best known for playing guitar in The Bomb with Jeff Pezzati of Naked Raygun, and Noise By Numbers with Dan Vapid of The Methadones.
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. He plays a Gibson G3 bass guitar.
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.
Punk rock attracted kids who tended to think more about music,” says Mr. Kezdy, 45, now a prosecutor and a member of the Federalist Society in Illinois. “So you would think that they would also put thought into their politics. And if they thought about it more, there is nothing punk rock about voting for a party that wants to put more government in your life.
Kezdy, himself, is noteworthy for being of a politically conservative mind in a subculture that tends to the progressive.
The Indicators aren't terribly indicative of much of anything, save for an overabundance of pedestrian concerns.