My bandmates and I debuted our new live show on November 17 at Mama and Me Pizzeria in Homewood, Illinois. In all, we played 36 songs, including original music going back to Pop Go The Jerrys, as well as covers of songs by Chuck Berry, Herman’s Hermits, David Bowie, the Kinks, and others. In addition to playing a lot of songs live for the first time, we debuted our new drum head.
It was not our first time playing at the venue. On September 28, we played just over an hour after a rousing set by The Big Boppers. That evening, we played mostly original songs, but did include a few covers, including Tommy James and the Shondells’ 1966 hit, “Hanky Panky.” Originals included three songs from The Jerrys’ new six-song EP, The Wind Cries Jerrys: “Chicago USA,” “Ms Wonderful,” and “Anna Marie.” Watch “Ms Wonderful” live at Mama and Me Pizzeria below.
For the record, field-testing of my new Fender American Elite Telecaster guitar is now complete. Not once during the entire show did any string slip out of the nut. My repositioning the string guide to the “1960s Telecaster” position was the simple solution to a big problem. After a proper setup, the guitar should be ready to play for a long time.
Last month I had the opportunity to field-test my new guitar, a black Fender American Elite Telecaster. The Elite is the best guitar I’ve ever owned. The first time I picked it up, I felt as though Fender had made the guitar just for me, perfect in every way. I couldn’t wait to use it at an upcoming show at Mama and Me Pizzeria.
Several songs into our set, however, I noticed that the first string had slipped out of both the nut and the string guide. As my style more closely resembles Pete Townsend’s than Segovia’s, I assumed the fault was mine and placed the string back where it belonged. No biggie—until it happened again. And again. In all, I must have repositioned the string a dozen times that night (it was the only guitar I’d brought). My “perfect” guitar had failed the test.
String Guide Placement
After more research than I care to admit, I concluded that Fender’s factory placement of the string guide did not provide adequate pressure on the string to keep it in the nut, at least for my playing style. In Fenderspeak, the guide had been placed in the “’50s Telecaster” position on the Elite instead of the “’60s Telecaster” position level with the A string tuner. Additionally, the fix seemed like something that even I could do, so I did it.
Since moving the string guide to the ’60s Telecaster position, I’ve played at full throttle, almost daring the string to come out of place. So far, the issue appears to be resolved, and the modification left only a small hole in the headstock where the guide had been originally. Field-testing of the American Elite Telecaster resumes at our next show.
The Jerrys played on Thursday Night Live at WZRD Chicago 88.3 FM on April 26, 2018. The 10-song set included new music from The Wind Cries Jerrys, covers of songs by Tommy James & the Shondells and The Kinks, and power pop songs pulled from the Jerrys’ catalog:
1. Be Yourself
2. Anna Marie
3. I Even Love You More Than Elizabeth Hurley
4. Ann Taylor Girl
5. New Wave
6. Hanky Panky
7. Space Cadet
8. Chicago USA
9. Every Girl
10. Where Have All the Good Times Gone?
Those familiar with the Chicago punk scene will recognize the drum head as the one used for Silver Abuse, as Robert Porche also plays with that band. Stay tuned for a new and improved drum head, as well as a possible live album later this year from The Jerrys.
Last week I attended the Social Media Strategies Summit in Chicago. I enjoyed the conference, which was held at the Union League Club. Summit sessions focused on evolving and developing social media strategy, content creation and storytelling best practices, and video strategy and marketing best practices.
Presenters represented brands that included Microsoft, Walmart, Kickstarter, The Hershey Company, and American Family Insurance. Several sessions deserve mention for being better than the rest:
“Case Study: Best Practices for Storytelling when Working with Influencers and Partners” (Sarah Scroggins, Advocate Health Care)
“Lessons in Unconventional Innovation” (Ryan Riess, The Hershey Company)
“Predicting the Future of Social Media” (Ian Beacraft, Epsilon)
So, would I recommend attending the summit? You bet. The conference is a great way for social media and digital marketing professionals to get up to speed on what some of the big players in the field are doing to take their brands to the next level. I’m glad I went, and I got to meet some cool people besides–now on to all of those notes I took!
My new single, “Chicago USA,” is now available as a free download. The song is a tribute to two of my favorite childhood songs, “Downtown” and “I Know a Place” (both made popular by Petula Clark), as well as my contribution to songs about Chicago. I’ve nothing against “Sweet Home Chicago,” but it’s time for a new Chicago song, and this is what I think it should sound like:
There’s a place I know
where you can go.
Every time you go there
you feel good.
It’s a real cool place to be.
It’s the kind of place for me.
It’s where I want to be–
to be found
going down wow!
There’s a place I know
where you can be
anything you want to.
It’s all good.
It’s such a sight to see!
It’s just right for me.
It’s where I want to be–
going round wow!
Many songs about Chicago and songs that mention Chicago have been written and recorded over the years, and as one might expect, there’s a huge list of Chicago songs on Wikipedia. Among those about Chicago, here are the ones that stand out to me:
Back to Chicago (Duke Tumatoe)
Chicago (That Toddlin’ Town) (Fred Fisher)
Chicago Bound (Jimmy Rogers)
Chicago (Sufjan Stevens)
Lakeshore Drive (Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah)
My Kind of Town (Chicago Is) (Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen)
Sweet Home Chicago (Robert Johnson)
We’re All Crazy in Chicago (Jonathon Brandmeier)
As a songwriter, I’ve always wanted to add to the list, and I’ve done just that with my upcoming single by The Jerrys, “Chicago USA.” Not just another Chicago song, the tune is also a tribute to two of my favorite childhood songs, “Downtown” and “I Know a Place”—both written by Tony Hatch and made popular by Petula Clark. Stay tuned.