Monday, May 10, 2010

Lunch with California Wives (the band, not the cougars)

Recently, I was able to catch up with Jayson (vocals, keys, programming and guitars), Dan (vocals/guitars) and Joe (drums), of the band California Wives,  for lunch to discuss plans for the future and memories of the past. The fourth member of the band, Hans (guitar), stayed back at the recording studio out in Wicker Park. So, you may be wondering where they got the name California Wives, huh?  Dan explains, “We went to Panera, and we were like, who goes to Panera?” They thought “California Wives do!” Done and done!

Dan, Joe, and Hans, all Chicago natives, met early on in life in a sort of Rock for Kids after school program, then later down the road, met Jayson. Each member of the band plays a role to make the band come together as one, Jayson explained. Dan and Jayson write the original songs, then play it for the group, where each member adds their own style to the song. The band is currently working on its EP and is recording in the studio right now. When asked about what has been the most memorable show thus far, they all chimed in and talked about a show up in Milwaukee in a small basement of an art gallery - The Jackpot Gallery. The space was really small, they explained, but the crowd was just really into the music which is why it was such a great experience for them. They also recalled a show they played in Omaha at The Cindy Benson, where Joe remembered “getting free PBR”. It was also a nice road trip in the Suburban, which included some male bonding.  For a firsthand account, you can check out some blog entries and pictures from the trip at their blog  As for in Chicago, their most memorable show to date was their first sold-out show at the Hideout and also a show they played at Schubas. They commented again on what makes shows so memorable is when the crowd is just really into the music. I asked if they ever get any stage fright and Joe joked that he just takes his glasses off and he can’t see anything. Then Jayson and Dan added that it's just something they have been doing for a long time and it's just so natural for them that they never get the sensation of “stage fright.” Natural born stars?!?!

As for now, these guys have high hopes and goals for the band: first, to get the EP done and then they would like to grow their fan-base and go on a world tour. Joe talked about wanting to travel the world, he thought what better way than going to small bars and performing, he said, “I would love to just play at some dive bar in Prague.”  These guys have quite the ambition and I don’t see them going anywhere but climbing to the top of Chicago’s music scene and beyond. For now, the next show they are playing is at Subterranean Sunday, May 16th at 7:30 p.m. What better way to end your weekend on a good note and hang out with Chicago's California Wives. You can also check out these guys sound at

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