Lovers Lane
Copernicus Center

File: July 2012

| June 28, 2012

Ferris Bueller fans are all a-hoot, because the Hawley-Smoot Act Of 1930 has taken ahold of Congress, and our esteemed representatives debate the merits of tariffs on imported shoes. The music world, as ever, enters the argument with the return of beloved Zion-based power-poppers Shoes! Not only will founders John and Jeff Murphy plus Gary Klebe issue their first set of originals since 1994 – the 15-track Ignition, due August 14th – but Numero Group and Pure Pop Press are on board, as well. Beginning this fall, the former will reissue Shoes’ coveted works on vinyl (One In Versailles, Black Vinyl Shoes, Bazooka, Present Tense), with reprints of the stickers, lyric sheets, and iron-ons from the originals; each will be released separately, every two months. Pure Pop managing editor Mary E. Donnelly and the Chicago Reader‘s Moira McCormick have written Boys Don’t Lie: The History Of Shoes to chronicle their rise from home-recording specialists in the ’70s, through their Elektra years, and then the reversion to indie artists to present. Does anyone know what Vice President Bush called them in 1980? Anyone?


Last year, someone uploaded a video of a school-age Washington Park/East Sider losing his mind about Chief Keef. And so began the Where’s Waldo-like search, Who Is Chief Keef? Eventually it came out that Keef was 16-year-old Keith Cozart, a novice rapper with only a few tracks to his credit under house arrest in his grandma’s basement. Talk about an effective marketing campaign: by mid-2012, Interscope Records head Jimmy Iovine signed him to a multi-million-dollar record deal, fending off competition from Lil Wayne’s Cash Money and T.I.’s Grand Hustle. Interscope also gave him his own boutique imprint, GBE, that he’ll co-lead with his manager and cousin, and optioned the rights to a movie on the teenager’s story.

Keef – who shoots videos at Grandma’s with his friends – has slowly earned the respect of veteran, local hip-hop heads, though privately (and on message boards) there might be some bitterness. A mini war erupted in May when Young Chop, who produced the original version of Keef’s “I Don’t Like,” raged at an opportunistic Kanye West remix, and the Interscope news quickly buried the morsels of national press that more accomplished artists like King Louie and LEP Bogus Boys had slowly compiled.


In my parents’ house, the family-room shelves honor a collection of athletic trophies – mostly accrued by my brother and I, as acknowledgement of our participation (i.e., holding down the ninth spot in the batting order) in park-district baseball. Our piece de resistance, however, belongs to Dad, who at a company golf tournament was recognized for “Shortest Drive,” a prize he earned by knocking the ball backwards off the tee.

If my dad were Jack White, he’d be pissed if it wasn’t considered for the record books. The ex-White Stripes man has begun feuding with the Guiness Book, in which he feels he was refused a rightful place for a shortest-concert-ever performance his old band gave in 2007 (that was just one note). Its editors countered that “shortest” efforts are lightning rods for copycats, and then challenged White to pick something else. He has rallied, and now other indie-rockers are, too. On an unspecified date, White will attempt to “break the world record for most metaphors in a single concert.” White might be joking, but The Flaming Lips want in for playing the most concerts in multiple cities during a 24-hour period – eight – a record formerly held by Jay-Z. An octet of shows were scheduled to take place between June 27th and 28th and did the trick. And let’s not forget Melvins, who will attempt to play all 50 states (and D.C.) in 51 days beginning September 5th, including September 21st at Double Door.

— Steve Forstneger

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Category: Columns, File, Monthly

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  1. Blue Suede says:

    Excited there is a new Shoes record coming out. Cannot wait!