Reggie’s, a popular near Southside venue on S. State St. in Chicago, has two performance rooms: The Music Joint and the Rock Club. On Thursday August 27th, both sides of the venue were rocking with terrific punk music. Many of the attendees — including many of the performers it seemed — went from room to room and back. I was able to document both, as fortunately, the timing was such that there was not much overlap. Set up in one room occurred whilst performances occurred in the other.
The Music Joint, the smaller of the performance rooms, on this night hosted a two-in-one record release show. Benny and the No-Goods recently released its sophomore album, Nothing’s Cool, while The Mizzerables’ newest release is entitled, Whatever…This Sucks. In addition to a similar attitude, at least in terms of record names, the two groups have Joe Mizzi in common. Joe is, of course, the founder of The Mizzerables, as if that was not apparent by its name. He also plays guitar for Benny and the No-goods shows because in the studio, it is a one-man band. Shortly after their sets at Reggie’s, both Benny and Joe discussed with me how they felt the show went, their new: albums; and upcoming projects.
Meredith Goldberg (Dying Scene): How did you feel the show went? Joe pulled double duty of course. Both as frontman of his own band The Mizzerables and as second guitarist for Benny and the No-Goods live band.
Joe Mizzi: Aside from getting a scolding from afar by the Reggie’s staff for somewhat mockingly requesting the crowd to do some damage to the tables that were left surrounding the stage, I’d say it all went pretty well! I mean, Damian May, the singer of The Exceptions, one of my favorite ska bands from Detroit was there… so ya know. We got in and got out quick so people could go next door and see some little band called The Lillingtons, my wife tells me they’re a whole thing haha.
Benny NoGood: “This show was a great time. Joe (second guitarist in BATNG) had a record release for his main band, The Mizzerables, so we were a natural addition to the show. We opened the night to a solid crowd, and almost immediately, I broke a string, Justin had a problem with the DI box, Dom broke a bass drum pedal, and I knocked my mic stand over, so it was definitely a punk rock show. We had a great time, and the other bands on the bill were all amazing across both shows. Butchered (Chicago) just blew me away. Their intensity is just through the roof, and they’re a bunch of nice dudes. Saw tons of great friends who I don’t often get to hang with, too, so the vibe all night was just outstanding.
MG: Were you able to catch any of the bands playing on the other side of Reggie’s, in the Rock Club?
BNG: I’ve been friends with Mike from Amuse for a bit over a decade now, and I just love those guys. The Lillingtons were, of course, a big reason a lot of people were there, and they didn’t (do they ever?) disappoint.
JM: I didn’t watch that Lillingtons that night was selling records but saw them the next night haha.
BNG: Yes, as far as recording goes, it’s a one-man show. both albums were just me, that may change on the next one, as the lineups seem to be pretty solidified at this point.
MG: Benny, please tell us how it came about that Joe joined the band as a live player at second guitar; as well as the other live band members
BNG: I put word out that I was trying to put together a Chicago-based lineup, and Joe was the first to volunteer. We’ve been friends for several years, and this was a good opportunity to hang out more and finally play music together. Justin was next and came with the recommendation of Mike Muse from Amuse. I’ve known Mike forever, so I trust his opinion, and it’s worked out great. Dom came on-board immediately following, and it’s just been great playing with these guys. They’re all such outstanding players and people.
MG: Joe, was it hard to pull double duty?
JM: Not hard and of course it’s fun to play on stage more!
MG: And Joe, please tell me about making The Mizzerables new record, “Whatever…This Sucks.”
JM: The album itself came together really quick. I’m a “bursty” writer where I’ll get a bunch of songs and then break for a while rather than write every day like a Tim Armstrong says he does. With this album I went back to basics and focused more on melody than fancy guitar parts or riffs and listened to a lot of music I grew up listening to while writing it. Some comparisons we’ve heard are Methadones, Green Day and Descendents which pretty much nails on the head what I was listening to.
We recorded the album with Dan from 88 Fingers Louie last year. Recording the album was with Dan was great and this record would not be what it is without him. However, we did it in January/February and it was brutally cold. When we started vocals, it was pretty rough on my voice with how dry it was. I was literally bringing gallon jugs of water to the studio and I would tear through at least one each day. Somewhat smartly though, we recorded different songs at different times of the day to take advantage of the added rasp from the dryness as the day went on and I think that really played well.
MG: Benny have you always been political as a musician and in your life? “Nothing’s Cool,” features a song called “Donnie” about Donald Trump.
BNG: With Donnie, I just really fucking hate that guy and what he’s done to decency, discourse, the environment, women, the LGBTQA community, standards of governance, our standing in the world, and so much more. Honestly, just fuck him. There’s not even a nice way to talk about him without speaking the vulgar truth, so fuck it I don’t hold back, and didn’t in the song, either. It’s basically a rundown of his disgusting proclivities.
Beyond that, I feel like the arts and music community has a responsibility to use our voice and platform, however small, to speak to power. I get, and appreciate, that some bands are just focused on making fun music, and I do that with this band, for the most part… that said, there is still the drive to speak out I also tend to include an environmental message on all of my releases, and this one is no different. I hide it in the context of our bombs and pollution and destruction of the environment waking Godzilla in my song “Gojira”, but the message is there, and is delivered pretty plainly.
MG: What’s up next for you both?
BNG: Just to continue playing shows and supporting the latest album. I will probably, if pattern follows, release another project in the spring/early summer of 2020. We’ll see where things stand then.Re
JM: Winter is upon us again so we will be playing shows locally and around the Midwest for the next few months.
We’ve done the winter tour before and boy, we don’t have luck with vehicles in the cold. And let’s just say we aren’t the most mechanical bunch. In the meantime, I’ve been posting a bunch of cover songs that inspired the album and I plan to do more with those over the winter. In the spring next year we plan to spread our wings so to speak. No details yet, but I’m sure we’ll blast dates all over the interwebs when we have them. And some breaking news, we have already started discussions about recording 2 or 3 more songs in the coming months. I think what we are going to do is pretty exciting and we’ll have more on it soon!
Please check out photos from both shows at Reggie’s on this evening below!