Eugene Chadbourne discusses how the Chicago creative music scene stayed alive in the 80’s and 90’s, prior to its recent resurgence.
It was not until several new venues such as The Empty Bottle and the Lunar Cabaret appeared in the 90’s that more progressive musicians had a reason to leave the house regularly. Prior to that, percussionist Michael Zerang, whose musical family includes several percussionists playing traditional Arab music, gets credit for driving the bus when everyone else had fallen asleep. “He kept things going in in the 80’s before a lot of the other free players moved to town.,” Chicago composer and multi-instrumentalist Jim O’Rourke says to describe more than Zerang’s drumming ability. Zerang was one of the fellows who ran the shows in the various gig spaces in the historic Links Hall building, former meeting place of the Wobblies. Brothers Steve and Chris DiChiara were also active, inviting out of town musicians to Chicago for gigs, as well as making music under the band name of The Blitzoids.