The Punk Vault

O’Banions reunion night

Friday Nite, Cheddar Nines, Glenda, Hannover Fist, and myself, went down to the city for a pair of old school punk rock affairs. It was a rare nite out for me these days and it turned out to be a hell of a good time.

After filling up on Potbellys before heading to the first show (thank you Klowns for treating me to the fine meal!), we drove through a quick rain storm to DePaul University to see The Effigies play there. We got there right as the second of three bands were starting their set. The show was in a classroom in one of the buildings on campus. It was dark, the only light coming from an overhead projector they had pointing at the wall behind where the bands were playing. It was about 100 degrees in there, I swear it was nicer outside. With as much money as it costs to go to DePaul, you’d think they would have had no trouble affording to turn on the air conditioner!

The Effigies at DePaul

I didn’t catch the name of the band that were playing when we got there. They were your typical hardcore band and weren’t bad at all. They played about a half hour. The Effigies played next, and ran through their current set which consists of lots of classics, and a few of their new songs that will be on a forthcoming album. The crowd, though small, seemed to be into it. Well, the ones that could take the heat were at least. We left about 10 minutes before they were scheduled to be done playing so we could make it over in time for the O’Banions reunion affair over at The Note as I didn’t want to miss Bonemen of Barumba.

The Effigies at DePaul

The Effigies at DePaul

We made the drive over to Wicker Park and found a pretty good parking spot that wasn’t a very far walk to the club. We entered and ordered up some drinks (thank you Hannover and J. Bear for the beers!)and soon found out the show was starting later than originally planned and the first act was about to start.


Vendooza were the first act and they were a pretty up-tempo rock band more than a punk band. I really know nothing about them as this was the first I heard of them. I’d soon learn that they share many members with TuTu and the Pirates. They played about a half hour or so and were pretty enjoyable. The singer kept the crowd amused between songs and was a pretty funny guy.

Bonemen of Barumba

Bonemen of Barumba’s stage decoration

Bonemen of Barumba

Next up were the sole reason I left the house that nite, the Bonemen of Barumba. I first discovered the Bonemen back in high school in the mid-80s. They put out a grand total of 3 records and I was the only one I hung out with who had heard of them and liked them a lot back then. I never got to see them “back in the day” so I was really excited about it. They played a mixed bag of songs, including one of their earliest from their first record (a 10″ EP). It turned out that Mark Panick was the only original member and the other former Bonemen were all MIA, either in prison, rehab, or otherwise whereabouts unknown. I enjoyed the set quite a bit and a partial Bonemen was more than I have ever gotten to see, so I appreciated the effort. The crowd seemed to be enjoying it as well.

TuTu and the Pirates

TuTu and the Pirates

TuTu and the Pirates were the next band up. They could be the first punk rock back from Chicago and if not, they certainly were one of the very first as I learned they were from the late 1970s. I’d never heard of them before this show but that is largely due to the fact I got into punk rock a few years later due to my age, and also the fact that the band never put out a record. Had they put out a record back then, especially if it was a 7″, I can guarantee that it would have ended up on one of those Killed By Death compilations and people with trust funds would be shelling out hundreds of dollars for it. They were a great, often humorous, old school punk band. Their “I Got Zits” song was especially entertaining. Again the crowd seemed to like it as well and everyone appeared to be having a really good time.

The atmosphere in the club that evening was very upbeat and positive. I am a few years younger than the people who frequented O’Banions, and wasn’t around for that particular era of Chicago punk rock, but it didn’t matter to anyone. The few people I ended up talking to were very friendly and all around the club people were smiling and there was just a really good vibe in the place. I never once felt out of place as someone who wasn’t ever at O’Banions back then and to me that was really cool. I wish I would have been around there at the time, as I imagine it was a lot of fun.

The Swingers were the next band, but at this point I got involved in conversation with Rob V (many thanks for the beers my friend!) and didn’t get any pictures of them or pay much attention to their set. What I heard in the background sounded on par with the other stuff of the evening, which means it was a good thing.

The Effigies

The Effigies

There was supposed to have been a set of old punk covers done by people who were in old Chicago punk rock bands, however those people apparently didn’t show up. Instead of that, The Effigies, who all showed up at the club after their show was over at DePaul, decided to play and did a 5 song set of old classics, and one new track. Who knew we’d end up seeing them twice in the same nite in different parts of the city.

After the show, we drove back home (well, I drove being the only sober one, and it being my car and all)and had a late nite meal/early breakfast at Denny’s (thank you Glenda, Cheddar Nines and Hannover) and called it a nite. It was a really really fun nite out, with good shows (well the O’Banions show was, the DePaul one while not at all bad, was just hampered by the heat) and good friends. It really meant a lot to me that while I’m currently down and out, that my friends took care of me since I had only the money to get in to the shows and none I could afford to spare for drinks and food. When I bounce back and find a new job, I am certainly going to return the favors, and/or throw a party in honor of my friends. As I write this, it is a full day later, and I’m still happy about how much fun it was.


  • First Chicago punk bands: Tutu and the Pirates were indeed one of the first handful of punk bands in Chicago, tho probably not the first. There was really no punk in Chicago until after the Ramones/Dictators $1 show at the Ivanhoe in July 1977. The post-metal Crucified were the first to record, by late ’77 or early ’78, and by both attitude and music have to be classified as punk. Psychedelic/punk Sundog Summit was playing out in ’78. The Rainboys, from Evanston, one or more of whom morphed into The Rabbits later, were playing some fast noisy surf stuff, garage, and Ramones covers at the Brewery in late ’77. Tutu and the Pirates, possibly with Skafish, did a show at the Brewery, possibly called the Golden Door for that show, in late ’77 or early ’78. All this was before O’Banion’s opened in ’78.

  • back in 72-73 there was a band called Thunder Thighs that played on the North Shore. One of the guys in TuTu played with them for a while. they were probably the first band in the chicago area to have a punk sensibility–they actually covered MC5 songs.

  • FYI: Immune System, Chicago’s “art school” band, played their first gig at a Wicker Park loft party in March 78. A short time later, double-billed with TuTu & the Pirates at N.A.M.E. Gallery on Hubbard Street. TuTu was not a “Chicago” band per se but hailed from the North Shore suburbs.

  • I miss all of you and look forward to jammin with my old friends again. I saw the movie and it brought back tons of memories. When they come around again, I will definately be a part of it.
    The original TuTu


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