Review of Band "Trainwreck" from Chicago Flame (http://www.chicagoflame.com)
|Trainwreck: Pioneers of Wreck-and-Roll
Early in October, Chicago got its first hit of Trainwreck's new album, The Wreckoning at the Beat Kitchen in Roscoe Village. Trainwreck, featuring most notably Kyle "Klip Calhoun" Gass and JR "Daryl Lee Donald" Reed (AKA Kyle Gas and Lee from Tenacious D), is a blend of Rockabilly, Prog-rock, boogie, and classic rock (a genre they've coined "wreck-and-roll"). Between the tasty jams, the audience can enjoy the comedy from the bands banter and the side jokes/characters they come up with. I was lucky enough to interview both Kyle and JR about the band and the album. to attempt to get a closer look into their world.
A few days before the show, I had the opportunity to get some bits of wisdom from Kyle. When asked about the name, Trainwreck, he mentioned it was for two reasons: because the band was a meshing (train wreck, if you will) of different musical styles and ideas, and in case the band didn't kick off, they would already have the name Trainwreck. As for The Wreckoning, Kyle said the name was simply because the album was long anticipated and overdue. The band itself started 8 years ago, and has evolved from country to more various styles and have become more entertaining, as Kyle puts it. When I asked about starting a band, the most important thing about the process is that you have to love what you do, because when listening to your music it's easy to tell.
Along those lines, when I asked about the members of Trainwreck, Kyle commented that it's important to play with people that you know are talented. Since he has known each member for 8 years and JR for 20, that was certainly covered. As for his favorite songs on the album, Kyle said that songs "are like children, you can't pick a favorite."
The show itself that weekend was certainly something to remember. The decent-sized crowd made the show more personable. When the band stepped onstage, you first noticed they had an Ozark's meets Elvis look to them, which along with the occasional cowbell, highlighted there rockabilly influence. The diverse music they played, from the fun and upbeat "Brodeo" to the classic rock "Rock Bolder Mountain" ensured that inebriated fans of all tastes were entertained. To ensure each member enjoyed the spotlight, Boy Johnny, Dallas, and John got to perform their own songs as well. The only downside to the show was that the crowd was single-handedly able to kill what was surely going to be the latest dance craze: the cobra.
After the show, I was lucky enough to speak with Trainwreck vocalist JR Reed. I asked him to expand on his 20 year relationship with Kyle, and he mentioned they were both theatre majors at UCLA. After graduation, they were involved in an acting group with Jack Black and pursued various projects like skits here and there. He mentioned although the crowd was smaller than the band expected, he enjoyed playing and mentioned that no matter what, you still get to play. Fortunately for those following Trainwreck, JR talked a bit about how he loves Chicago and the Midwest (especially the food) and that the band certainly has plans to come back. As for other projects, JR mentioned his series on FX The Militia, his work in commercials, and other projects that are under construction at the moment. He also mentioned that Boy Jonny did work behind the scenes as a producer for a few bands as a producer, including Trainwreck. As for influences, JR listed classic and southern rock, including Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Beatles. When I joke about when the Trainwreck TV show was coming out (from their song "TV Theme") he mentioned that Trainwreck was actually more than interested in looking into a TV show.
As Kyle mentioned in the interview, you have to love what you do since the audience can tell. While watching Trainwreck perform, whether it was Kyle wailing on the flute or Dallas singing about how he wants to dance, I could see exactly what he was talking about. Trainwreck is a combination of comedy, rock, and a style all their own. By checking their website at (http://www.trainwreckwithkg.com/), you can both check out some songs from their latest album and see when they'll be performing; two events you don't want to miss.