Split a Six Pack with Andy Kiel of Moon Furies

Want to know more about Chicago’s local music scene? Here’s the plan of attack: one musician, six questions. Let’s check them out, see what turns them on. If you like ‘em, turn ‘em up.

Another Six Pack, another awesome Chicago band. Moon Furies is relatively new to the local music landscape, but they’ve already got the city dancing. Young and ambitious, this dance-rock outfit is getting ready to embark on a journey some might call crazy, some might call suicidal, but no doubt will be a blast: 100 shows in 100 days. And no, this isn’t just a booty-shakin’ booze-fueled bacchanal. Andy, Jim and Andrew are undertaking this daunting task in an effort to create awareness and raise funds to aid cancer research at the locally-based Kellogg Cancer Center.

Six questions from yours truly, six answers from Moon Furies guitarist Andy Kiel. Here we go…

Ok Andy, How did Moon Furies get together? And where’d the name come from?

While Moon Furies is a bit of a newer band, our history reaches back over 150 years.  Jim and I first met when we were a mere four years old.  We shared a common bond in our love of finding new ways to destroy our Crash Dummies — a totally sick toy from our childhood. Ever since, our imaginations have been running wild and we’ve been constantly creating; from petty kid games to childhood record labels to our former band, Relativity (an alternative-rock band).  When college came around, Jim and I went our separate ways in hopes of finding the answer to life — which was quite fortunate, because it was at this time that I met Andrew.  Jim moved to Chicago a few years later, and of course, we couldn’t help but start writing music again.  After spending a bit of time shaping our new ideas, which were more electronic-based than anything we had previously done, Jim and I began experimenting with different drummers.  The moment we saw Andrew’s tattoo of the number 42, we knew it was perfect fit.

As all bands do in their early phase, we threw around what seemed like millions of ideas for band names, but of course none of them had quite the right touch.  Out of nowhere though, the ’70s cult film “The Warriors” showed up on our doorstep.  I don’t know who came up with the names for the gangs in that movie, but they must have been on some ill drugs or a genius.  “Moon Furies” is a fusion of the “Moon Runners” and “The Baseball Furies” gangs.

Playing dance music in Chicago means facing audiences notorious for not dancing at shows. Do our crowds deserve that reputation?

I think in some instances Chicago crowds are more hesitant to dance than crowds in other cities, but that doesn’t mean they don’t dance.  At our shows, it’s a bit like “flash dancing”.  Once it gets going, everyone in sight takes off their pants and starts dancing like Tom Cruise in “Risky Business.”

If you look at Chicago’s trending music scene, there are DJs and there are more traditional rock bands. When you want to dance, you go to a dance club.  When you want to listen to music, you go to a rock venue.  Why not fuse them?  Are they really so different?  It’s for this reason I’m especially excited about our upcoming performance at Debonair on June 9.

How would you say the city has influenced your music, or you as a musician?

I came from a smaller city in Wisconsin where cows were common, and they made lifetime supplies of toilet paper. It’s also the manhole capitol of the world. Holla Neenah, WI. Seriously though, next time you’re going over a manhole cover look down.  I bet it will say it’s from Neenah, WI.

Exploration of an artistic soul can be very different in a city such as Chicago, because there simply isn’t the same type of community support where I grew up in Wisconsin.  It wasn’t until I moved here that I felt free to fully let go of my barriers and try to explore who I really am and what I have to offer to this world.  This continual experience defines who I strive to be as a musician.  I’m always trying innovate and cross new boundaries.

So, Moon Furies is getting ready to play 100 shows in 100 days. Where are you most excited to play? Imagine a world with no limitations — where in Chicago do you play your 100th show?

I’m honestly most excited to play on the streets.  I’ve always wanted to see what this would be like.  It’s such a raw means to share your passion with the world and such a unique opportunity to spontaneously interact with so many different people from across the world.  Sure, there will be cold or rainy days, and I imagine we will inevitably have plenty of people walk right by, completely ignoring us.  However, the individuals whose attention we will catch will make it all worth it for me.

My most pressing goal in life is to be the first musician to perform on the moon, so that would be pretty awesome (Yo, Richard Branson, hit me up).  However, for this project it would really mean most to me to end our adventure by playing anywhere with Andrew’s mom present. Whether it be the Pritzker Pavilion or Andrew’s parent’s backyard.

Speaking of shows, got a favorite local band to see live? To play with?

Those are both extremely hard questions. I think my favorite Chicago band to play with to date is probably The Earth Program. They are pretty fun and unique. My favorite artist to see live is definitely Andrew Bird. His songs are so intricate and well produced and he can pull off his show as a one man act (excluding production crew of course…)  He has a fascinating musical mind.

And finally, the “High School Counselor Special,” where do you see yourself in five years? Ten?

Five years: Touring the World. Ten years: Touring the Universe.

Check out Moon Furies talking about their upcoming 100 shows in 100 days project here:

Want more? Check out their debut album, Mercury, at http://moonfuries.bandcamp.com. You can name your own price! Can’t beat that. For more info/music/videos/nonsense you can also head over to moonfuries.com, twitter.com/moonfuries and facebook.com/moonfuries. Man, social networking is exhausting.


Gene Wagendorf III

About Gene Wagendorf III

Gene is a writer who has spent his entire quarter century of life as a resident of Chicago. When not exploring the city he can be found wandering flea markets and garage sales or having a cigarette between classes at Northeastern Illinois University, where he hopes to acquire a degree in the next quarter century. His favorite smells are old books and bowling alleys. His poetry (how embarrassing!) can be found in issues of Kill Poet, Ditch, Word Riot, O Sweet Flowery Roses and Vowel Movements.

One Comment

  • Andrew kiel
    October 10, 2012 | Permalink | Reply

    Awesome, music is life………

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