Chicago – the most happenin’ city in the USA right now? You’re damn right! The Baseball Furies moved there from Buffalo and then it justexploded.. Tyrades, MOTO, Krunchies, Functional Blackouts, Ponys, HotMachines, Veedee, Dirges etc etc.. New bands are emerging even now asyou read this… At the lead is Criminal IQ Records. Along with Horizontal Action (theporn/punk magazine) and the Chicago Blackout festival, they spearheadthis new revolution..

What made you start up a label? You also do local shows etc..Was it only natural to have a label?

Well, their wasn’t a label in Chicago covering the kind of music that was developing here. So we decided to start one. I think I wanted to start a label for a long time but nothing grabbed me enough to actually put something out. The shows I put together helped a lot, and I got to know all the bands really well, and I got to listen to recordings we made from the soundboard of most of them, as well as watch them develop and grow. Functional Blacckouts opened up a show we did with the Ponys and Baseball Furies, we had them back to open for the Paybacks from Detroit and the recordings we got from the board were fantastic. I played the shit out of the recordings of the set they performed that night. The third time I booked them I decided to have them headline. The crowd went beserk and the club got pretty smashed up in the process. I think I decided that they were a band we wanted to record at that point.

So far there’s only been local (=Chicago) bands on the label. Is that the way it’s gonna be? Maybe. At the moment we are concentrating on Chicago because that’s where the best music is happening - in my opinion - and that’s where we’re located. There’s some good stuff outside Chicago that we really dig, so I would never say never to a band from another town or from overseas, but they would have to really fit with what were doing with Criminal IQ.

Functional Blackouts, Veedee, MOTO, Krunchies.. A pretty strong line-up so far. What’s coming up? We’re about to release an early singles collection by MOTO in July which is gonna be fantastic. Then an LP/CD by an all girl punk band called the Manhandlers towards the summer/fall. The Krunchies are in right now recording their full length and we are going to release a 45 by a band called Manaconda that have a total Screamers thing going on (but with more self-inflicted injuries). Functional Blackouts are threatening to go back in to the studio. I think they might be ready for something new soon.

Your favorite label thru’ history? Good question, but a difficult one to answer. I like a lot of the stuff Alternative Tentacles did, Posh Boy, Frontier, Factory, Dangerhouse, Crass., early 4AD i think they key to this is what kind of music these labels stand for which is all cutting edge stuff, and the fact that they’re all independant.

Which non-Chicago band would get an okay to do something on Criminal IQ? Past or present.. Shit I don’t know, I play the shit out of everything the A Frames put out. They are my favorite band from outside Chicago. From the past there’s way too much to choose from. Lot’s of good stuff. Thanks for your time