The Effigies is an early post-hardcore group from Chicago. The band, first formed in 1980, was active for approximately a decade, undergoing multiple personnel changes, with frontman John Kezdy the only constant, before disbanding in 1990 . The band released 5 LPs and several EPs, most on Ruthless Records and distributed by Enigma. They toured outside of Chicago, notably including a live performance at CBGB in 1983, and received some radio airplay, principally on Northwestern University's WNUR and other college stations.
The Effigies' website states that they were one of the first punk bands in Chicago . This is a complicated claim for a band not formed until 1980, but true in the sense that the Chicago market was very late to discover or appreciate punk to any degree; in the half-decade after The Ramones and The Sex Pistols first released records, Chicago remained dominated by blues, heavy metal, and even disco; punk bands had few places to play, and punk music fans had few places to hear live bands. Chicago's "progressive" radio station, WXRT, was never very supportive of punk. What most punk fans recall as the first "scene" in Chicago did not occur until the 1980s, when clubs like Oz and O'Banion's provided venues for live punk. Chicago Sun-Times music writer Jim Derogatis "correctly" terms the heyday of The Effigies "the second generation of Midwestern punks."
The Effigies are generally considered hardcore or post-hardcore and, to the extent it is distinguishable, Chicago hardcore. Indie rock pundit Steve Albini writes that The Effigies "were a moving force during a crucial and exhilarating time".
The Effigies original line up consisted of John Kezdy (vocals), Earl "Oil" Letiecq (guitar), Paul Zamost (bass) and Steve Economou (drums). Robert O'Connor replaced Letiecq in 1985. In 1986, the entire band dissolved but in 1987 Kezdy reunited with Letiecq and added Chris Bjorklund (bass) and Joe Haggerty (drums). In 1988, Letiecq departed again to form the band Jack Scratch with Dave Bergeron, formerly of the local band Bloodsport. Bjorklund moved to guitar and Tom Woods became the Effigies bassist. Coincidentally, Bjorklund, Haggerty, and Woods had comprised the rest of Bloodsport. In 1990, the Effigies called it quits and Kezdy pursued a career as an attorney. The original line up reunited for a one-off show in 1992. They came together again in late 1995 and early 1996 to play a few local shows to celebrate the reissue of their Remains Nonviewable compilation CD on Touch and Go Records.
The Effigies re-formed in 2004 and in 2006 Released their first recording in nearly 20 years called "Reside" . The album was Produced by Andy Gerber, who once played with Zamost and Economou in the band "Laughing Man" The current line up consists of original members John Kezdy, Paul Zamost, and Steve Economou, along with new guitarist Robert McNaughton, who had previously been in Pop Media, Were Staying and along with Zamost in the Indicators, Lemmings and The Greys. McNaughton also is known for composing music for a number of films, including Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.
In 2010, The Effigies were slated to play Riot Fest at Metro, initially reuniting with Earl in what promised to be a compelling lineup in a large venue called The Metro. Due to differences with the owner, they refused to play the Metro and were responsible for moving the show to a much smaller venue, the Double Door. The show was sold out, The Effigies dropped out and the remaining bands and fans who couldn't get in became upset.
The Effigies can be seen in You Weren’t There a/k/a You Weren’t There: A History of Chicago Punk, 1977-1984, a 2007 film about the Chicago punk scene from 1977 through 1984.
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