It’s a bone chillingly cold early winter night on the streets of Chicago. The heavens can’t seem to decide between a light dusting of snow or a penetrating frozen rain. Arriving at the scene of their performance for the evening are the four members of Counterpunch, who are greeted by an all too familiar foe. Three stories of steep, narrow, foreboding stairs coated with a generous layer of ice, no elevator, and 1,500 lbs of equipment. Let the fun times begin.
“Well, let’s get to it,” Eric says pointedly, showing an understandable lack of enthusiasm toward the daunting task at hand.
“Should I wake sleeping beauty?” chimes in Jared, referring to Richo, who’s sleeping soundly in the van with a fever of 102.
“Nah, he needs his beauty sleep. Let him get a few extra minutes in, he’s going to need it tonight,” chuckles Eric, as the first piece of gear begins its journey up the stairway at Subterranean.
Not mother nature, not the flu, and definitely not the stairs. Nothing can get in between them and their chance to rock the faces of the kids forming the line outside, each one fighting for a spot under the awning. The whole scenario is a perfect metaphor for the way Counterpunch conducts business. Speed bumps and hurdles are met with perseverance and a dash of humor.
In winter of 2006, the band teamed up with Radtone Records in Japan to release their debut full length. They self-released the record in the US the following spring, accompanied by a steady diet of touring and shameless self-promotion. Through their grassroots advertising campaign and a lot of hours spent in the van, they were able to sell out of the first pressing. Almost all of the CDs were sold off the stage, with some digital downloads in the mix as well.
In the last six years, Counterpunch has shared the stage with Rise Against, Strung Out, Death By Stereo, The Vandals, A Wilhelm Scream, The Swellers, Only Crime, The Loved Ones, Much The Same, and Alkaline Trio and a bunch more national acts.
Their sound is a poignantly topical, no holds barred, fast faced-paced punk rock with just enough artificial sweeteners added in to appease the ladies; as if melody, discord, and anger met in a cage match and ended in a tie. Their three-pronged vocal assault is best experienced live, where the energy is a force to be reckoned with. Whether you’re in the balcony or the pit, it makes no difference. You can feel with every note that the four guys love just having the opportunity to play for anyone who’s there. Come experience it for yourself, live. No backing tracks, no tight pants, no makeup, no bullshit.
Now the band has teamed up with Go Kart Records to release its latest effort, “Dying To Exonerate The World”. Recorded with Mark Michalik at Drasik Studios (The Swellers, Much The Same, Fireworks, We Are The Union), the album has thirteen driving tracks for every walk of life. If you’re searching out the boys’ melodic side, ‘The Great Regression’ and the last track aptly named ‘So Long’ are sure to please. Sprinkle in a hard edge with ‘March Of The Paper Tiger’ or ‘Strings Of Destiny’ and you have a circle pit waiting to break out. The disc has it all from start to finish with enough mid-tempo sing-a-longs to keep you coming back for more.