Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Preparations must be made in advance of both listening to and going to see a live performance by the Velcro Lewis Group. They're mostly selfish precautions though - like hiding the beer, hiding the hard alcohol, hiding the weed, hiding the secret stash of beer and booze. If you feel like seeing it get all fucked up - and by "it," we mean everything, everyone, all of us, all your possessions, all of our possessions, all of your order, all of our bearings - then do nothing. If you feel like throwing a rager, a knock-em-down, drag-em-out rager, then just sit there and prepare yourself for the fires. Prepare yourself for a concussion, for seeing stars and birdies and for waking up the next morning thinking out-loud that you should do more things like that more often. The Chicago band isn't just a bunch of rowdy, blues 'n rock and roll bunch, set out to destroy and pillage, no sir. It's a group that seems to have every right to cause as much disruption as they see fit, for it's with good reason. They've been gutted by a woman, or a whole series of women who have taken them to the cleaners. We're not in any position to judge, for they might have been less than adequate boyfriends or husbands, but the preliminary call is that these women were cold and heartless and the ire that the men in this steaming hot band of longhairs and blue-collared Joes is completely justified. They got worked by mean women, but also, more times than they'd like to admit: by bat shit crazy women. What we learn from these fellows - Velcro Lewis and Hawk Colman do all of the tellin' for the group - is that despite all of the obvious reasons to just let all of these unfortunate collisions with the products of insanity and the machines of diabolical, psychological manipulation go into the land of the forgotten, these women still got to them. They still left their smell and their bruises on them and something like that is going to take more to shake than one would like to think and this might be where the binge drinking and kicking and wailing come into the picture. Oh baby is that some of the greatest therapy ever created. The songs on the band's debut full-length, "White Magick Summer," will go a long ways in helping as well, providing a churning and burning soundtrack to the recap of how it all went down and how it all went haywire. It's a record of men losing their heads and losing their sleep right along with them. It's a record that summarizes all of the hard times, by making them somehow sound like good times - like the kinds of times that, as a young man, you were hoping that you'd get yourself into on Friday and Saturday nights in college. Well, maybe not. The songs that the band that often gets drunk and engorged on beer and Polish sausage (in that order) before recording sessions writes are filled with the sorts of doozies of stories about love and the opposite sex that make you feel like never wanting to use the phrase "the fairer sex" ever again. They will make you happy that you yourself lead a rather boring life because you could never keep up with these guys. But you're damn happy to hear about their exploits with their whack-jobs sometime later on.