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Holy Shit! Hits the Fans

Jun. 25, 2008
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  A sonic screech sounds as Holy Shit! rips into their 12-minute set in the basement of a Riverwest punk house called Mint Mint Chocopocalypse. About 30 or 40 people huddle around the band, and once they get going it becomes hard to separate the band and the audience.

  The basement is lit by a single bare bulb. The singer flails wildly, his hair flying back and forth. There is a problem with the microphone and it constantly cuts out, leaving the image of a mute wild man screaming his head off. The music plays at breakneck speed, with one song instantly bleeding into the next. This type of show is the hardcore heartbeat of a local scene of several bands, many of which share members (Holy Shit! members can also be found in the bands Total Boring, Uh-Oh, Truthdealer, Dinosaur Pills, Chinese Telephones, The Kind of Jazz Music That Kills and the Andrew W.K. cover band TabMan W.K.).

  I talk later with drummer Eric Apnea, guitarist Andy Junk and bass player Anthony Schwader in the Riverwest flat shared by Apnea and singer TabMan. TabMan is named for his obsessive love of Tab soda, empty cans of which are piled on a coffee table. The four formed the band in 2001.

  The band had just played a show the day before at a bar in Chicago called The Mutiny.

  “We got smashed; it sucked,” Schwader says. “I had three half-pitchers of Long Island iced tea. I broke a bass string and just ran into the crowd.” Junk points out a mark on his forehead where he collided with Schwader’s bass. He admits he doesn’t remember it happening.

  The band has released a few 7-inch records in the past, and a self-titled 12-inch last year. That album is being re-pressed this year on vinyl and CD. The group also received recognition in the March cover story for seminal punk zine Maximumrocknroll.

  A month after the interview, Holy Shit! had just wrapped up an 11-day tour that started in Ohio, hit Alabama and Georgia and came back up through Kansas. They were on tour with local rapper Juiceboxxx, who’s known for his wild showmanship. The band and Juiceboxxx loaded up into one minivan and headed south.

Junk says it was a strange match up, and the two groups drew different crowds. “Some people just sat there in shock, like ‘What the fuck is this?’” Both parties agree the tour was a good time, though.

  “Holy Shit! are the sickest thrashers in the game, no doubt. Touring with them was a blast,” Juiceboxxx tells me by e-mail from his tour of Germany.

  One of Holy Shit!’s favorite shows was in Huntsville, Ala., home of their friend’s band, Thomas Function. The two bands have been swapping cities for eight years.

  “It was a great tour,” Junk says. “No disasters.”

Holy Shit! plays July 2 at Borg Ward with Life Trap, Citizens Patrol and Bored Straight.


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