WBEZ | Vortis http://www.wbez.org/tags/vortis Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Vortis: Taking the system down…3 chords at a time http://www.wbez.org/content/vortis-taking-system-down%E2%80%A63-chords-time <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-September/2011-09-28/vortis (Tonee Vortis Louie Vortis).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Jim DeRogatis isn't just WBEZ's <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis" target="_blank">music critic</a> and co-host of<em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org" target="_blank"> Sound Opinions</a></em>; he's also the drummer for punk rockers Vortis. For those who like their music loud, fast and in their face then, Vortis could be the ticket. The punk rockers have performed what they call "agi-tainment" since the early 2000s, and on Friday, Vortis will attempt to move the masses at Chicago’s<a href="http://www.reverbnation.com/venue/1044085" target="_blank"> Live Wire Lounge</a>. DeRogatis has also been chronicling the life of the band in <a href="http://www.wbez.org/content-categories/67001">"The Vortis Diaries"</a></p><p><em>Eight Forty-Eight's </em>Alison Cuddy recently spoke with the band, who performed a number of tracks in WBEZ's Jim and Kay Mabie Performance Studio. Special thanks to Mary Gaffney for audio and Andrew Gill for video production.</p><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/29693347">"Bigger Tragedy"</a><br> <iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/29693347?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=ff0000" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="601" frameborder="0" height="338"></iframe></p><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/29691846">"Walking Down Lincoln"</a><br> <iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/29691846?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=ff0000" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="601" frameborder="0" height="338"></iframe></p><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/29690884">"Black Block" </a><br> <iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/29690884?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=ff0000" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="601" frameborder="0" height="338"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 28 Sep 2011 13:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/vortis-taking-system-down%E2%80%A63-chords-time Eight Forty-Eight 9.28.2011 http://www.wbez.org/episode/eight-forty-eight-9282011 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/episode/images/2011-september/2011-09-28/rosh-hashanah-shofar.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Congress appears to have learned from the last shutdown showdown—a short-term spending bill is expected to pass before money runs out Friday. But have Americans learned how to protect their own financial well-being amidst these budget battles and unruly markets? <a href="http://www.chicagonow.com/money-smart-guy" target="_blank">Money Smart Guy</a>, <a href="http://www.chicagonow.com/money-smart-guy/living-money-smart/matt-sapaula-bio/" target="_blank">Matt Sapaula</a>, helps <em>Eight Fort-Eight </em>plan for the financial future. Then, in the latest installment of <a href="http://www.changinggears.info/" target="_blank"><em>Changing Gears </em></a>Dan Bobkoff follows the story of Ron Bloom, who was appointed senior counselor for manufacturing by President Obama in 2009, but stepped down last month and has not been replaced. Then, writer <a href="http://www.ellenblumbarish.com/" target="_blank">Ellen Blum Barish</a> reflects on the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. And Punk rockers <a href="http://www.vortisrock.com/" target="_blank">Vortis</a> joined the show in WBEZ's <a href="http://chicagopublicmedia.org/studios" target="_blank">Jim and Kay Mabie Performance Studio</a> to talk about their new 7-inch release and to rock out!</p></p> Wed, 28 Sep 2011 13:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode/eight-forty-eight-9282011 The Vortis Diaries: Record release party http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-27/vortis-diaries-record-release-party-89693 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-27/Vortis record_DeRo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-27/Dero_VortisDiaries_v2.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 45px; margin: 5px;" title=""></p><p>Since we first came together in the band a decade ago, guitarist Tony Vortis has been pushing to realize a longtime dream: He wanted to release some of our music on vinyl. And, though it took a while, we’ve finally pulled it off.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-27/record.jpg" style="width: 450px; height: 338px; margin: 5px;" title=""></p><p>Tony is not one of those obnoxious <em>LPs-</em><em>über-alles</em> absolutists and sonic-purity snobs, and he’s certainly not a hipster whose embrace of vinyl started some time after the first Record Store Day and the now-regular appearance of “<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/07/nyregion/07vinyl.html?adxnnl=1&amp;adxnnlx=1311717511-OmMMsdGc8CACL3eEgzMEiw">vinyl</a> <a href="http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com/turn_it_up/2008/10/vinyl-revival-h.html">revival</a>” <a href="http://www.needlengroove.com/?p=187">articles</a>. He just has a thing about the medium that… well, I’ll let him explain.</p><blockquote><p>“A record is a physical, real product. You interact with it. You take it out, and if it’s colored, cool vinyl, all the better: an unexpected, unique treat! You look at the D.I.Y. artwork and any fun inserts you get. Then you slap the wax to your turntable and apply a needle. The needle interacts with the grooves to create a real sound. And a record, for maximum effect, forces you to play it loud—what better thing than that for punk rock! There’s natural distortion, pops, and warmth. Again, you’re listening to something real and organic. And in our case, with a split 7”, you get two bands in one! It’s a community on a disc.”</p></blockquote><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Tony Vortis at the record release party. Photo by Kimisha Pierce." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-27/Vortis3.jpg" style="width: 350px; height: 508px; margin: 5px;" title="Tony Vortis at the record release party. Photo by Kimisha Pierce."></p><p>Eloquent fugger, isn’t he? Since the band released its first two albums on CD with a <a href="http://www.thickrecords.com/">Chicago label</a> that essentially croaked a short time later, Vortis has been content to press a limited number of shiny discs to sell at shows while mostly floating its music on the Net. (That is, at least for post-Professor discs numbers four and five; the third and last set with the former Vortis front man really didn’t get out there at all, for a number of reasons starting with slacker ennui—we were so slow to get around to it that there soon was a new set of music we were much more excited about, and it seemed cooler to just leave that one as a “<a href="http://flavorwire.com/164402/10-legendary-lost-albums">legendary lost album</a>.”) Since the band is a labor of love and mercenary concerns are nonexistent, we always have recorded just because <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/vortis-diaries-weekend-wall-wall">recording is a blast</a> and we’ve wanted to preserve the sounds of the moment before progressing to whatever comes next. So we embrace the advice <a href="http://www.toursmart.tstouring.com/">Martin Atkins</a> dispenses in his Tour:Smart seminars: Bands at the D.I.Y. level shouldn’t worry if people are downloading their music for free; <em>they should worry if people aren’t</em>.</p><p>Now, I’ve been playing in bands since I was 13, and with some two dozen groups since, I’ve acquired a rather lengthy D.I.Y. and indie-label discography that already includes one vinyl LP and six 7-inches. When Tony Vortis hyper-enthusiastically proposed that we cull a few songs from <a href="http://vortis.bandcamp.com/">our latest Internet release</a> for a joint 45 with our friends <a href="http://cathysantonies.com/">the Cathy Santonies</a>, I really was just going along for the ride—and I assume the same was true for Louie Vortis, since he doesn’t even own a turntable. The Santonies also seemed game largely because Tony was willing to do all the work, and he waxed as poetic when describing why he enjoyed that process as he did when spieling about why he loves playing vinyl.</p><blockquote><p>“The process of making the 7” is likewise organic. <em>You</em> create the label for that record. After sending in the recording and label art, the record is pressed and sent to you in white sleeves. Then <em>you</em> create the artwork for the cover. <em>You</em> photocopy and cut the covers up. <em>You</em> craft any fun inserts. <em>You</em> assemble the final product (granted, it can be a monotonous pain in the ass to stuff records in sleeves, inserts in sleeves, then those into Mylar bags, but done with a few beers and friends, it becomes a satisfying party). The artist is more intimate with the product, just as the needle to wax is more intimate. You have greater control, and it’s cheaper!”</p></blockquote><p>Indeed. Though the number of vinyl pressing plants is far, far fewer now than when I made my first 45 toward the end of the indie-rock ’80s, there still are numerous reliable options out there, and Vortis went with the one most often recommended by bands whose platters we’d admired when we’d shared a bill with them. Founded in Nashville in 1949 as Southern Plastics, and counting Chicago’s Vee Jay Records (which issued the first 7-inches by the Beatles) and Motown among its clients at a time when many plants were reluctant to work with black-owned labels, <a href="http://www.urpressing.com/">United Record Pressing</a> (thusly rechristened in 1971) has been going strong ever since, a proud analog outpost amid the deluge of digital dementia.</p><p>Despite the relative rarity of vinyl these days compared to compact discs (which may soon become extinct themselves), the cost of professional production is comparable and very reasonable: The price for pressing 300 joint Vortis/Cathy Santonies 7-inches in randomly mixed colored vinyl (Tony’s idea) with plain paper sleeves and one-color printing on the center labels: $662. Sure, we could have spent a lot more if we wanted to go with fancier packaging or have United do the assembly work; the company’s Web site offers a handy <a href="http://www.urpressing.com/quotegen7.php">quote generator</a> spelling out all the options and costs. But, as Tony noted, doing it yourself really is part of the fun and some of the allure for folks who might want to buy one: “This isn’t a <em>piece of plastic</em>; this is some <em>art </em>that <em>we made!</em>”</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Louie Vortis and Radio Santoni. Photo by Kimisha Pierce." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-27/Vortis1.jpg" style="width: 450px; height: 368px;" title="Louie Vortis and Radio Santoni. Photo by Kimisha Pierce."></p><p>We did hit one speed bump. As a bridge between the Vortis side and the Santonies side, Vortis recorded a cover of the signature song by Poly Styrene and X-Ray Spex with Radio Santoni on guest vocals. Shortly after submitting the mastered music on CD, United sent the following letter:</p><blockquote><p><em>Dear Anthony,</em></p><p><em>It has been determined that this release contains a cover song, “Oh Bondage, Up Yours” by Marian [sic] Elliott. This song is available for license on the Harry Fox Agency website at <a href="http://www.harryfox.com/">www.harryfox.com</a>. Once the license is obtained, please forward the email with the approval…</em></p></blockquote><p>Our initial panic that we’d have to take the song off the record quickly dissolved when we discovered that Harry Fox, like most licensing firms these days, couldn’t make the process more simple or economical. The cost for us to license the classic tune (determined by the song, the medium on which it would be distributed, and the number of copies): $27.30, or .091 cents per copy. We were happy to pay it, and all the more so after its author <a href="../../blog/jim-derogatis/2011-04-26/poly-styrene-1957-2011-85685">lost her battle to breast cancer in late April</a> and it became our small tribute to one of punk’s greatest and most unique voices.</p><p>In any event, my initially nonchalant attitude toward the project quickly flipped and I was infected by a measure of Tony Vortis’ excitement when the test pressing arrived from Tennessee and putting the needle to the groove for the first time was as much of a kick as it had been when I did it for the first 45 I played on 22 years ago. It was amplified when my bandmate produced the stack of finished 7-inches that he’d lovingly assembled, and it peaked when Vortis and the Santonies played <a href="http://do312.com/event/2011/07/01/the-cathy-santonies-vortis-the-bumpus-hounds-and-the-p-y-t-s">a record release party a few weeks ago at Pancho’s</a> that for once actually was a <em>record </em>release party, instead of a gig merely celebrating a new <em>recording.</em></p><p>There might be something to this vinyl fetish after all.</p><p><strong><em>Vortis photos by <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vortis/70066989660?ref=ts#%21/kimisha.l.pierce">Kimisha L. Pierce</a>.</em></strong></p><p><strong><em>Vortis <a href="http://www.abbeypub.com/punk-legend-cj-ramone">plays at the Abbey Pub at 9 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 5</a>, with C.J. Ramone, Johnny Vomit, and Spare Change. And, yes, Tony Vortis will have 7-inches for sale.</em></strong></p><p><strong><u>THE VORTIS DIARIES</u></strong></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-05-31/vortis-diaries-rock-%E2%80%99n%E2%80%99-roll-rituals-87198">May 31, 2011: Rock 'n' roll rituals</a></p><p><a href="blog/jim-derogatis/2011-03-09/vortis-diaries-stage-patter-sucks-83444">Mar. 9, 2011: Stage patter sucks</a></p><p><a href="blog/jim-derogatis/vortis-diaries-finding-catharsis-cal%E2%80%99s">Jan. 27, 2011: Finding catharsis at Cal’s</a></p><p><a href="blog/jim-derogatis/vortis-diaries-evening-pancho%E2%80%99s-new-and-far-superior-ronny%E2%80%99s">Dec. 15, 2010: An evening at Pancho’s, the new (and far superior) Ronny’s</a></p><p><a href="blog/jim-derogatis/vortis-diaries-trip-milwaukee">Nov. 14, 2010: A trip to Milwaukee</a></p><p><a href="jderogatis/2010/10/the-vortis-diaries-dance-fever/39314">Oct. 11, 2010: Dance Fever</a></p><p><a href="blog/jim-derogatis/vortis-diaries-road-trip-madison">Aug. 30, 2010: A road trip to Madison</a></p><p><a href="blog/jim-derogatis/vortis-diaries-weekend-wall-wall">July 26, 2010: A weekend at Wall to Wall</a></p><p><a href="blog/jim-derogatis/vortis-diaries-evening-fcked">July 12, 2010: An evening with F*cked Up</a></p><p><a href="blog/jim-derogatis/vortis-diaries-six-hours-ronnys-saturday-night">June 21, 2010: Six hours at Ronny’s on a Saturday night</a></p></p> Wed, 27 Jul 2011 13:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-27/vortis-diaries-record-release-party-89693 The Vortis Diaries: Dance Fever http://www.wbez.org/jderogatis/2010/10/the-vortis-diaries-dance-fever/39314 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2010-October/2010-10-26/HotHeavyVortis4-1024x766.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><a rel="attachment wp-att-39320" href="/jderogatis/2010/10/the-vortis-diaries-dance-fever/39314 /dero_vortisdiaries_v25"><img style="width: 450px; height: 40px;" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-39320" title="Dero_VortisDiaries_v25" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Dero_VortisDiaries_v251.jpg" alt="" /></a>&nbsp;<code> </code> <a rel="attachment wp-att-39323" href="/jderogatis/2010/10/the-vortis-diaries-dance-fever/39314 /hotheavyvortis4"><img style="width: 450px; height: 336px;" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-39323" title="HotHeavyVortis4" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//HotHeavyVortis4-1024x766.jpg" alt="" /></a></p><p>From the point of view of the musician onstage, there can be no better sight than to look out mid-song and see a throng of people dancing.</p> <p>On a good night, when the band is in synch and firing on all cylinders, the non-verbal communication between members locked into the same rhythms, anticipating one another&rsquo;s next moves and simultaneously reacting to and spurring them on, is the most intimate exchange that people can have outside of sex.</p> <p>When listeners are dancing in response to these sounds, this deep and visceral connection extends into the audience, the feedback loop expands, and the energy swap grows ever more intense.</p> <p>You play harder, tighter, maybe a bit faster, and certainly with more spirit. You have to: The dancers depend on it. And it essentially is as close as you can get in modern days to one rock &rsquo;n&rsquo; roll ideal of recreating <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacchanal">the bacchanalia of ancient times</a>.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a rel="attachment wp-att-39324" href="/jderogatis/2010/10/the-vortis-diaries-dance-fever/39314 /levequebacchanalia"><img style="width: 450px; height: 347px;" class="size-full wp-image-39324" title="LevequeBacchanalia" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//LevequeBacchanalia.jpg" alt="" /></a></p><p style="text-align: left;">Vortis has been spoiled by several spontaneous and extended outbursts of dancing at recent gigs: There was a fair amount of moshing when <a href="http://blogs.vocalo.org/jderogatis/2010/10/jderogatis/2010/07/the-vortis-diaries-an-evening-with-fcked-up/29382">we played with F*cked Up at the Empty Bottle</a>, and the slamming was absolutely nuts during our <a href="http://blogs.vocalo.org/jderogatis/2010/10/jderogatis/2010/08/the-vortis-diaries-a-road-trip-to-madison/35496">late-summer road trip to Madison</a>. When the fine fellows in Royal Pines asked us join them on a double bill Saturday at <a href="http://www.viaducttheatre.com/cms/">the Viaduct Theatre</a> booked by Christa Meyer, formerly of the sublime <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?search=puerto+muerto&amp;IncludeBlogs=84">Puerto Muerto</a> and now in the process of putting together a new cello-driven group in between the duties of her day job, we wanted to do something special to mark our first time at this wonderfully friendly and eclectic venue tucked beneath the soon-to-be-dismantled bridge on Western near Belmont.</p> <p><a href="http://www.myspace.com/hotandheavyburlesque">Hot &amp; Heavy</a> to the rescue.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 451px; height: 675px;" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-October/2010-10-26/Viva-La-Murte.jpg" alt="" title="" /></p><p style="text-align: left;">Chicago&rsquo;s hardest-rock burlesque troupe was formed about two years ago by the indomitable Danielle Call, a.k.a. Viva La Muerte, who may be small in stature, but who looms very large indeed as an undeniable life force. (She likes to describe herself as &ldquo;a little hell-raiser.&rdquo;) Starting with a handful of friends but now numbering 18 dancers who join her onstage at different gigs, Hot &amp; Heavy grew out of Call&rsquo;s two big loves: heavy metal and horror films. &ldquo;And naked girls and metal just seem to go together!&rdquo; she said.</p> <p>This is not your grandmother&rsquo;s burlesque troupe. In addition to the louder, nastier sounds that power it and a penchant for macabre twists and wicked humor in many of the routines, few of the girls fit anybody&rsquo;s stereotype of a Playboy bunny. Their allure is in the sheer, unbridled, self-empowered joy that they display in unselfconsciously expressing themselves through dance, thoroughly losing themselves in the moment, and in the process taking off (strategic pieces of) clothing.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a rel="attachment wp-att-39326" href="/jderogatis/2010/10/the-vortis-diaries-dance-fever/39314 /hotheavyvortis2"><img style="width: 450px; height: 336px;" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-39326" title="HotHeavyVortis2" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//HotHeavyVortis2-1024x766.jpg" alt="" /></a></p><p style="text-align: left;">The Viaduct was the scene of Hot &amp; Heavy&rsquo;s biggest triumph to date&mdash;a full-scale burlesque rendition of the Pink Floyd epic &ldquo;The Wall,&rdquo; which they&rsquo;ll reprise with 10 shows every weekend in January at the same venue&mdash;and when Call asked if Vortis would like them to join us for our Viaduct debut, we couldn&rsquo;t say no. We&rsquo;ve collaborated with the troupe a few times before, and the girls (and occasionally a guy) did their routines between sets. This time, we wanted to try something different, incorporating them into the set itself as a sort of bizarro-world/punk-rock take on the &ldquo;Shindig&rdquo; or &ldquo;American Bandstand&rdquo; dancers of yore.</p> <p>This would be no easy feat, given the take-no-prisoners or pauses, banter-free, rapid-fire, express-train delivery that the band favors. Imagine trying to dance in time to a hurricane. But we sent Call and the girls a rough practice-space recording of our set&mdash;a typical 20 songs in 27 minutes&mdash;and she said they were up for the challenge. As indeed they were.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a rel="attachment wp-att-39334" href="/jderogatis/2010/10/the-vortis-diaries-dance-fever/39314 /hotheavyvortis1"><img style="width: 450px; height: 335px;" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-39334" title="HotHeavyVortis1" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//HotHeavyVortis1-1024x766.jpg" alt="" /></a><code> </code></p><p style="text-align: left;">We came. We rocked. And so did Hot &amp; Heavy, comprised on this night of Viva La Muerte, Red Hot Annie, Donna Touch, and Mai Atari, who mostly did their thing on the floor&mdash;pulling more than a few members of the crowd into the ensuing chaos and prompting others to spontaneously burlesque&mdash;while the band did its onstage, until we all came together for an encore of the immortal Naked Raygun&rsquo;s &ldquo;Rat Patrol.&rdquo; (Hey, if we couldn&rsquo;t be at Riot Fest, this definitely was the next best thing.)</p> <p>One downside of being sequestered behind the drums behind a screen of cymbals is that I often miss all of the best stuff; I never heard about the guy who took a swing at our former lead singer mid-set or the night someone burned a flag in front of the stage until after the fact. On Saturday, all I could see beyond Tony and Louie Vortis and the vocal mikes was a blur of gyrating flesh and extended limbs, plus the occasional garment tossed onstage. But I could feel it, and it was sublime.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a rel="attachment wp-att-39327" href="/jderogatis/2010/10/the-vortis-diaries-dance-fever/39314 /hotheavyvortis3"><img style="width: 450px; height: 336px;" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-39327" title="HotHeavyVortis3" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//HotHeavyVortis3-1024x766.jpg" alt="" /></a><code> </code></p><p style="text-align: left;">As for our partners in crime, <a href="http://www.myspace.com/royalpines">the Royal Pines</a>, Joe Patt and his band mates are at their best when their eschew their more traditional alt-country material&mdash;which is fine, but nothing we haven&rsquo;t heard before&mdash;and wade through murkier, muddier, and much more Gothic waters. &ldquo;You guys make me think of backwoods hillbilly goat-humping music,&rdquo; I told them afterwards. I meant it as high praise&mdash;&ldquo;We&rsquo;ll take it as a compliment!&rdquo; Patt said&mdash;but then it was that kind of night.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 450px; height: 336px;" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-October/2010-10-26/Royal-Pines-1024x766.jpg" alt="" title="" /></p><p style="text-align: center;"><code> </code> <strong><em>Viaduct photos by Mary Elisa Merrill.</em></strong></p></p> Mon, 11 Oct 2010 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/jderogatis/2010/10/the-vortis-diaries-dance-fever/39314