It’s taken “Joliet” Dave Rodriguez nearly five years to bring his dream band from inception to its present-day, energetic format.
In the process, Chasing Amy has endured multiple changes in both personnel and musical direction. More then once, Rodriguez felt like “throwing in the towel,” but he reworked and re-honed and now has what he feels is the perfect line-up.
“We really have lived up to the old adage, ‘Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,’” Rodriguez, of Joliet, said.
Chasing Amy began in 2007 as a “Motownish” five-piece blues-rock band with a lead singer named Amy. Within a year, the guitar player, drummer and keyboardist had left to pursue other bands and Amy’s husband had relocated out of state.
“That just left little old me,” Rodriguez said. “Most people would have walked away, but I was determined to make something out of this band.”
So Rodriguez assembled another group of musicians, found a new female lead singer and even tried adding a second guitar player, but that did not work out. Just as Chasing Amy was developing a nice flow, the lead singer left. Rodriguez was worried. He had many gigs lined up.
“I didn’t want to cancel anything,” Rodriguez said. “That would put the band in a bad light.”
Rodriguez found another singer and when she started battling health problems and had to drop out, Rodriguez searched again. Chasing Amy’s present lead singer, Angel Birr of Montgomery, provides the exact sound Rodriguez had envisioned.
Other Chasing Amy band members include bassist Rodriguez, guitarist Bill Volling and drummer Paul Chamberlin (the brother of Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin).
So what makes Chasing Amy different from other bands? It does not focus on a particular era or musical genre.
“We’ll run the gamut as long as we can strip the song and make it our own,” Rodriguez said. “We’re not afraid to tackle anything.”
At its root, Chasing Amy boasts a nice medley of music. Rodriguez’s father was a polka musician and his mother enjoyed big band and swing. Rodriguez listens to most types of music, from classical to hip hop. Band members’ likes are just as eclectic: heavy rock, jazz, blues and even disco.
Further highlighting its originality, Chasing Amy also has a Sambuca and Jack Daniels signature drink, the Chasing Amy Shooter. “It makes the audience feel special,” Rodriguez said, “and gives fans an additional thing they can’t get at other shows.