In early 1980 a heavy metal band called the Corrosives dissolved when their vocalist left for greener pastures. The remaining members, John Kezdy (guitar), Paul Zamost (bass), and Steve Economou (drums), soldiered on, with John struggling to sing and play guitar. The results were a mess, and they decided to find another guitarist. John ran into Earl Letiecq (late of Cortland, NY's Wreck'N Crew) at a punk club, and he agreed to join the band. With that addition, the Effigies were born.
One of Chicago's first hardcore bands, the Effigies very quickly became one of the city's best. They were seemingly born mature: Barely a month after their debut they were opening for Black Flag. Three months after that they recorded two songs for the Busted At Oz LP. Compared to the EPs that followed, it's obvious that the band knew what they wanted to do--and did it--from the very beginning. No experimentation, no finding their feet, no stumbling. They avoided the pitfalls of thrash, oi, politics, and fashion, making music that was compelling in its simplicity, honesty, and sheer power.
Following in the footsteps of Black Flag, the Fix, and Husker Du, the Effigies toured early. And like those three bands, when the Effigies played, they gave it everything, blowing minds across the country. They released a string of powerful records, becoming a well-regarded national act. When their first album, For Ever Grounded, hit the streets, they began to attract attention from outside the hardcore community. The record's sound was an amalgam of Joy Division, Gang of Four, and the Ruts, all filtered through the band's own brand of disaffected rock. The sound was hard, brittle, and two steps removed from what every other hardcore band was doing.
By the time they recorded their second album, Fly On A Wire, they'd jettisoned Earl Leteicq for Robert O'Connor, a more conventional new wave guitarist. Their sound was explicitly post-punk by now, funky, dissociated dance music with an edge, rather than hardcore you could dance to. It was interesting, but too raw for the dance crowd and too dance for the punk crowd. When they released their third album, Ink, the edge was gone completely. The band's lineup shifted several more times, and within two years they were finished.
The original band reformed in '95, celebrating Touch and Go's CD reissue of Remains Nonviewable, but didn't last long, leaving a poorly recorded live 7" to document their sound. In 2004, the band reformed again, with Robert McNaughton on guitar. Their debut, almost a year ago as I type this, was a sight to behold. Despite a decade of inactivity, a new guitarist, and a generation (at least) difference between them and the crowd, they managed to demolish the two opening acts and induce a little permanent hearing damage in anyone who got too close to the stage. They were loud, intense, and dedicated. Still.
Obik / dementlieu.com
As far as I know the information on these pages is accurate and complete, but it's more than possible that there are mistakes, and it's a certainty that there are omissions (particularly in the gig list). If you spot any, email me!
To celebrate the release of the new Effigies CD, here's a brand new Effigies website! Well, it's not exactly brand new, since I've been working on it for more than two years at this point, but you know what I mean. It's also not finished, but I'll probably die of old age before I actually finish it.
Added some more flyers.