» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

May 30, 2007
Back in 2002, simply because of the rumors I'd heard about Tim Harrington and the show he likes to put on, I ventured out to Chicago's Empty Bottle to see the band Les Savy Fav. Little did I know that it would be the opening band, not the headliners, who would make the deepest impression that evening; I had been unexpectedly blown away by the openings, !!! (pronounced "chick chick chick, bang bang bang, pow pow pow" - as their scrawny lead singer would say between the songs that evening). Five years ago, if not still today, it was a bit unusual to see seven nerdy indie rock dudes standing on the small stage, playing instruments and dancing as big and as hard as they could in their limited space, persistent in getting the audience to move. !!! ran through their set at full bore and, by the time they stopped, everyone in the bar was dancing. Attempting to make a roomful of indie rockers dance is a notoriously uphill battle, but !!! did just that. Half a decade on they have done nothing but build a bigger and stronger dance brigade out of hipsters around the country. With three full length albums, two EP's and a covers release, !!! are still finding innovative ways to force indie rockers into dancing shoes. Last week the band rolled into Chicago on their latest tour, in support of the recently-released Myth Takes, and !!! singer Nic Offer was kind enough to sit down and catch up with me before he and his bandmates tore apart the Metro.

LAS: I remember seeing you guys five years ago and being amazed at how you were able to get everyone dancing. It was kind of unheard of at the time in indie rock circles - have you noticed the influence you have made on the scene over the years?

Nic Offer: Yeah, we definitely feel like we were one of the first in that wave of all those groups that happened... And yeah, it's hard to not notice how much more commonplace it is now, to incorporate those rhythms into indie rock. It seems like when we started we couldn't stand any of the indie-rock and we've kinda become one of the main forces behind today's indie rock, so it's kind of strange. I always imagine that the next wave that happens will think we're totally bullshit - and cheers to them!

How has Chicago treated you guys along the way?

I feel like Chicago has always been really great for us. I think the only show we did for Louden Up Now was sort of a nightmarish gig, so if anything we haven't given Chicago what they deserve. But that was just one gig in ten years of playing here. I feel like every other time has been great.

That was the show at the Logan Square Auditorium?

Yeah, some really old building full of windows and a bad set up... otherwise we would have been great! [laughs]

Do you ever feel bad about putting on a bad show?

You know, I always say I don't sleep well if we don't rock a town sufficiently. There's usually one town per tour that's gonna keep me up until we go back through and rock it correctly, but we will fuck up in some other town and that will keep me from sleeping. I think on this tour it's probably [Washington] D.C. - and Sacramento. Both those gigs kinda sucked.

Any particular reason?

You know, there's always some bullshit reason. You just have to suck sometimes. Even champions don't win every game.

I read a little about the recording process for Myth Takes - can you give me a little more background and detail about it?

Yeah, we just wanted to be in an environment where there were no distractions. Nashville was a place where Mario [Andreoni - guitar] could do his job so we all went there. We said it was like a reality show, because we all moved into this house and set it up. We had to buy cups and plates. Sure, it's kind of like a slumber party the whole time, but we also all came together to focus on creating the new record. We had to regroup and weigh what was important to us, musically, and just connect with each other.

Is there one moment or thing that you can all collectively focus on, or was it a challenge to get everyone together?

Everyone plays music for a different reason and everyone, even listeners, get something different out of it, so we all bring something different and special to the band, but the one thing that has always attracted us is the groove or the funk, and that's always been the uniting force. It's the thing that brings us all together.

Outside of recording and touring, how often do you guys get together and not play music?

Well, the guys that live in New York I see all the time, most of them. And the guys who don't live in New York, I think I only see them when we're working on music. We have text relationships.

You guys are considered as a "party band." How close is that reputation to the way you live your personal lives?

I feel like we're all jokes all the time, but that's not to say we don't take it seriously. We do. That was one of the things I think we were rebelling against when we started, the whole seriousness of indie rock. You could only make art if it's serious, which we all thought was bullshit. That said, there's no need to be fart-jokes all the time, but art is fun. All the best artists are funny, so we incorporate that into what we do.

A sense of humor seems to be making its way into a more prevalent place in the mainstream as well. There have always been humorous television shows and movies, but even hip record labels now have comedians on their rosters (cases in point: SubPop and Suicide Squeeze).

Yeah, there were no comedians back in the heydays of punk in the 70's. There was no famous punk comedian then. But then, maybe that's what the next rebellion will be against us. People taking it seriously. We are living in serious times, but I don't know what else to do. You can only do what speaks to you and it speaks to me to make jokes and have fun.

Have you always had that sense of fun?


What did you do for fun as a kid?

I was a big air-guitarist. I made my own cardboard guitars and would put on shows for my parents and entered in school talent shows. I kind of did that until I started playing in a band. There was no separation between the two. I think I was around ten years old when I was into serious air guitar playing, then I got a guitar when I was twelve.

If !!! could re-record the score to any movie, which do you think you would do best?

Probably Revenge Of The Nerds. We used to play on Halloween all the time and dress up as a group, and one year we were going to be "Revenge Of The Nerds" so we could play the song they played, but we didn't end up doing that. I don't know why... that would have been great.

But you don't have a black band member, so who would play Lamar?

Yeah, I guess that would be a problem.

How is playing with Holy Fuck?

They're really great. They're a great live band. I feel like people kind of get them and enjoy what they do. I think it's good to have an opening band that people appreciate instead of just have an audience annoyed while waiting for the headliner. They've got some good grooves and can get pretty trashy and improvisational. If people like us I think they can get them. It's different, but I think it's a nice compliment having them with us. We have another week of touring, so hopefully it will keep going the way it's been.

Later in the evening, following an appropriately stimulating set by Holy Fuck, Offer and the rest of !!! took the stage at the Metro and proceeded to deliver a set that lived up to the band's reputation. Be sure to check out a live review and photo feature from the show, which runs today as well.

SEE ALSO: www.chkchkchk.net

Bob Ladewig
Having been introduced to good music by his sister in the early years, Bob Ladewig has been searching out all the best in indie music ever since. He also rides a skateboard and performs/directs comedy shows and, like all great men, he's afraid of really growing up.

See other articles by Bob Ladewig.



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