Has it really been 30 years since hippy revivalist band Enuff Z’Nuff first burst out of Chicago’s South Side (Blue Island) to conquer MTV and radio playlists with their Beatlesque brand of paisley pop?
It really HAS been three decades since the band, then spelling their name Enough’s Z’Nuff,” formed to play local clubs in 1984 as a quartet. EZ’s big break came when their song “Fingers On It” landed on the soundtrack of the 1986 film “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” starring Michael Rooker.
Three years later bassist/band leader Chip Z’Nuff, with a completely new line-up, released the group’s self-titled debut album for Atlantic Records. I remember writing the first national feature published on the Z’Nuff lads for the now long defunct “Song Hits Magazine.” In 1991, EZ was heralded as “Hot New Band of the Year” by Rolling Stone Magazine.
Although the 2014 incarnation of the band retains only Chip Z’Nuff from the original 1984 line-up, Enuff Z’Nuff continues to tour and record. Last week they marked the 30-year career anniversary with the release of an all covers album - “Covered In Gold.”
Now available worldwide via Cleopatra Records, “Covered In Gold,” is a tasty salute to some of the artists who inspired and influenced them (David Bowie’s “The Jean Genie,” Smokey Robinson’s “Tears Of A Clown,” Queen’s “Stone Cold Crazy”) along with some of the artists who rose up the charts alongside of them during that era (Nirvana’s “All Apologies,” David Lee Roth's “Yankee Rose,” Prince’s “When Doves Cry”).
Released internationally by Cleopatra Records, the iconic South Side Chicago band has included two bonus live tracks on the album, making for a total of 14 tunes. Those bonuses are a live, unplugged treatment of their 1989 MTV hit “New Thing” recorded in London and a live cover of the Beatles’ “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” performed on Howard Stern’s syndicated radio show. Bassist Chip Z’Nuff’s is a frequent guest on “The Howard Stern Show.” More: enuffznuff.com
• Each fall “The Labor Dayz Festival” has become an annual tradition at Michigan City’s Washington Park and this year’s line-up for the four-day event that fills two stages with live music is top notch and includes a myriad of genres and styles, ranging from jazz and blues, to country and rock, to Salsa, Polka and Big Band.
Some of the 24 bands featured include many favorites of the region like - Liz Mandeville, Chicago Bob Mandarino’s All Star Band (featuring Jimmy Pryor and Delores Scott), Together, High Noon, Duke Tumatoe, Bad Cadillac and Fox. For a full line-up and information: mcsummerfest.org or (219) 877-7903.
• “Rosa's Lounge” - the new album from Chicago blues veterans Howard & The White Boys - is named after the legendary Chicago club where the CD was recorded during one of those magical nights as the crowd and band fed off of each other's energy. Howard & The White Boys has been a top drawing contemporary blues act for the better part of two decades and seems to have no plans to slow down. Catch their CD release party on Saturday at Buddy Guy’s Legends (700 S. Wabash Avenue) in Chicago. Tickets: $20. Showtime: 11 p.m. More: howardandthewhiteboys.net.
• Front Porch Music presents the return of Valparaiso’s prodigal son of rock ‘n’ roll - Chris Funk. A member of the Grammy-nominated international recording group The Decemberists, the Valparaiso native comes back to the region on Sept. 16 for a hometown concert at Memorial Opera House with his other band, Black Prairie, a sextet which features fellow Decemberists Nate Query and Jenny Conlee. Black Prairie’s fourth album “Fortune” was released in spring. Tickets are $20 and are now on sale for this all ages concert. More: memorialoperahouse.com.
• Reminder -“The Annual Rock ‘N’ Rail Fest” in downtown Griffith kicks off today at 5 p.m. with a live set by country musician Billy Wayne and runs through Sunday night. Lots of top regional artists will be performing in the beer garden, including Got Issues, Mr. Funnyman, Hazard County, Wiseguys, Visions of Santana, High Noon and many others. For the full schedule and info: facebook.com/RockNRail.