Wednesday, June 24, 2009

516 First St, DeKalb, IL. 60115

Well, folks, it is official. I am very happy to announce the first Otis Ball & The Chains shows in 7 years. (Or something like that.) I'm coming home and I'm getting the band back together. And not just any ol' Chains, but the very first Chains! Mark yer calendars. Sat, August 22nd in Chicago and Sun August 23rd back in Dekalb at Otto's! Both appearance are a part of the big Dekalb Rocks Reunion. My buddy Tom Rose, who created the Dekalb Rocks Facebook group, has pulled the trigger on a weekend long event reuniting many of the great 80's Dekalb bands. happy hunting will be joining us, as will a great many more surprise attractions. I'll have plenty more information on this EVENT as we get closer.

Ah, Dekalb. Old days, good times I remember. After my three year tour of Illinois colleges and universities, I realized the music theory/composition major I was pursuing was not gonna get me not nowhere. Cept in deeper debt. I figured it was time to get some job and start rocking. Killer was studying up at NIU and I spent many a weekend visiting him the previous year. I always had a great time in Dekalb and my bass player was there. Bing, bang, bong.

Killer had been in the dorms the previous year. And his floor was just about all music students and a swell buncha swells they were. Dean, Free, WEZ-L and Doug are just a few that come to mind. Since I was moving to Dekalb, we figured we were gonna need a band house. Luckily, the Dekalb economy was propped up by band house developers. It didn't take very long at all to find 516 First St. And Doug, who just happened to be a drummer, was in. I think we each paid $90 a month. Utilities included.

We weren't in that house much longer than a year, but what a year it was! And that house is where Otis Ball & The Chains was born. We didn't play out that year, but we played in plenty! Lots of weekend jams with Doug, or occasionally WEZ-L, on drums and a few goofy parties. Which were captured for posterity, thanks to the camcorder I stole from my Pop when I left home. Here's a short reel featuring a few highlights, including a smoking Green Acres from Uncle Tiny Tim, back when he was but a nephew!

516 is also where I wrote and recorded a number of the songs that would make up the OB repertoire, including Walk On Water, Love You Til I Don't and Charles Manson's Birthday. And also a few that didn't make the trip to the future. Hot Day was the very first Otis Ball song ever broadcast on the radio. Tom Ellett debuted it on WKDI's Local Patrol. And I still remember sitting in 516 with Killer, waiting by the radio to hear that very first broadcast.

So just for fun, I put together a Hot Day video with some of that 516 footage. And it goes a little something like this.

Dekalb, I'm coming to see ya! Pretty yerself up all nice and put on that dress you know I like! Cuz I'm bringing Killer and Doug with me and we are gonna party like it's 1985!


  1. I hear that some of the other bands playing have letters like "s' and "b" and "r" in their names. I can't say much more right now!

  2. Personally, I'm holding out for A E and I. I think that'd be quite the Service, though I've heard they might only play the Sunday show in DeKalb. I wonder if the Chicago scene still remembers a band called Ring 13? rumor has it that they're reforming for this show. I'll believe none of this until I see it. Old school punk in Chicago? We'll see.