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Masonic Wave
Masonic Wave Masonic Wave Punk Rock Theory
Wednesday, March 13, 2024 - 08:53
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The brotherhood behind Chicago supergroup Masonic Wave is palpable on the quintet’s self-titled debut LP, out April 12, 2024 via War Crime Records. Comprised of vocalist/saxophonist Bruce Lamont (Yakuza), bassist Fritz Doreza (Naked Raygun), drummer Clayton DeMuth (Sybris) and guitarists Scott Spidale (God Damn Your Eyes) and Sean Hulet (Land of the El Caminos), the rock outfit brings together some of the city’s best talents into a melting pot of heavy riffs, thundering beats and gripping vocals that makes Masonic Wave a strong entrant in Chicago’s venerable rock history.

The group developed organically as a project amongst friends and frequent collaborators. Hulet and Spidale had just ended another project, called Sünken Ships. As they were jamming with DeMuth at their practice space, Lamont happened to be in the building rehearsing with his band Yakuza, liked what he heard and knocked on the door. “He quickly joined the fold and the band was whole,” Spidale recalls. After adding in Doreza, shows, songwriting and studio time ensued, resulting in the frenetic energy of the debut LP that is a true study in musical comradery.

Much of the making of Masonic Wave brought in additional local stalwarts including Sanford Parker who recorded and mixed the record and Collin Jordan who mastered the tracks. Keith Pastrick (Spidale’s bandmate in God Damn Your Eyes) also contributed the abstract album artwork. The record leads off with the snap back track “Bully,” a pummeling song with raw fury and alluring melodic layers that pays homage to old-school rock ‘n’ roll spirit. “I think we all come from different directions musically but there is also some overlap. With the exception of Clayton, who is still a spring chicken, we grew up listening to Chicago radio in the ‘70s and ‘80s, seeing local and touring shows at The Metro, and we’re all big Jesus Lizard fans.” adds Spidale.

Touching on the album single and subsequent material across the record’s eight tracks, Lamont says that themes range from “bullies getting their just dessert, homelessness in Chicago, being overworked and underpaid and getting hoodwinked.” The album also features a guest spot from Allen Epley (Shiner/ The Life and Times) who provides vocals on “Nuzzle Up.” Says Lamont, “We’ve been buds for a long time. I rang him up and Allen laid it down.”

In addition to playing regular shows around town, the members of Masonic Wave are also veteran drink slingers at a number of drinking holes around Chicago (the very place you’d expect to be the breeding ground of their style of rock ‘n’ roll). Spidale is one of the owners of The Owl, Remedy and Central Park Bar and is opening a new spot in April called The Getaway in Lincoln Square with his partners at 4EG at the site of the old Grafton Pub; Hulet bartends at Bottom Lounge; Lamont is regularly behind the bar at Empty Bottle and Thalia Hall; DeMuth works at Small Bar; and Doreza is a fixture at Montrose Saloon.