REWIND! Loyal Divide Interview

[REWIND! is a weekly feature where Hugh Voltage and Ray De Ation dig through the archives of previous concert coverage. The original words and photos are published as is… with modern commentary about what they think now.]


Hugh: Reading this interview again just reinforces everything Ray said in the REWIND! about their live show. 2015 needs a lot more Loyal Divide… and exclamation points!

Ray: Where you guys at Loyal Divide? Come back with some new tracks so we can ask you questions about them!

Original review follows:
Mere moments after they got off stage, we stood around and drank beers with the guys in Loyal Divide. Pictured from left we have: Noto (Jonathan Notowidigdo), Adam (L. Johnson), Andrew (McCarthy), Sid (Chittajallu). In addition to phonetically pronouncing their names for us, they had some very interesting things to say… some of which may surprise you.

They get billed as a Chicago act in just about every piece (of which there are hundreds, if not thousands) written about them. In the strictest sense of the word (we’re thinking birth certificate here) they’re all from Ohio, but they’re here now so don’t hold that against them. Why transplant an entire band (they formed in Columbus) to the musical mecca that a lot of you call home? Because it’s easier to get flights. Not the music scene, not the bars, not the women – the flights. This was the first of many indications that this was going to be anything but a simple Q&A.
Since they’re all residents of the city as divided on its love of musical venue as it is on its love of baseball teams you would expect their favorite venue to be something no one else said all weekend, and you’d be right. Their favorite venue is also one of the tiniest in the city, Empty Bottle. Except for the cat that died. Any band that has played a venue the size of your parent’s living room long enough to know about the resident bar pet isn’t just a local, they’re practically family. So their relationship with photographer and man-about-town Tracy Graham is normal, right? It wouldn’t be Loyal Divide if the answer to that question was simple.

See, setting up interviews, shoots, and reviews for bands during a huge festival requires a lot of planning, probably an assistant (or three), and sobriety. We have e-mail. In one of these e-mails a member of Loyal Divide *cough* Sid *cough* referred to him as Tracy G-Crax. Why? Because it’s shorthand. Given the context of the rest of the e-mail (there were a lot of random letters and exclamation points), we figured they had to have feelings about emoticons and smileys too. Turns out smileys are played out in their minds, but only because everything automatically changes the text to a face. While most of this probably seems irrelevant, it plays to the character of the group. There is no pretense or pomp or vanity. They’re probably exhausted from the set they just played, but it doesn’t show. Right now they’re just a couple of guys among friends answering really ridiculous questions.

MTV recently posted the video for their song “Vision Vision” which is kind of a big deal. To them, the bigger deal is the fact that they have 2,500 “friends” on Facebook. They are the perfect embodiment of the city they described as “nice.” If you thought that’s all we would get about Chicago from the guys that would be watching Seinfeld on Tivo if they weren’t at North Coast you’re sorely mistaken. They went on to describe our fair city as “Wow-Bao” (it’s delicious and it funds the band) and “combobulated” (they think it’s bullshit discombobulated is a word and combobulated isn’t). But it’s not all fun and games because at some point in time we started talking about music.

Time for the battle royale between their musical influences. First up: Talking Heads vs. Prince and Nine Inch Nails vs. Radiohead. Prince wins by a vote of 3-1 because of Purple Rain. Nine Inch Nails wins unanimously because of Downward Spiral. Oh yeah, and because Trent Reznor is super ripped and would kick Thom Yorke’s ass. Which only leaves Prince vs. Nine Inch Nails. Prince is five feet of total destruction and Trent Reznor wouldn’t stand a chance. So there you have it ladies and gents, everything you never thought you needed to know about the men, the myths, and the legends that are Loyal Divide.

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