Veruca Salt, Jesus Lizard Star In Chicago Rock Documentary

Film focuses on varying styles of 11 Windy City artists and their contributions to music.

CHICAGO -- Seattle, Athens, Minneapolis and New York. These U.S.

cities roll off any rock fan's tongue as readily as John, Paul, George and Ringo.

More than names, however, these places are scenes.

More than scenes, they are towns with definitive "sounds."

But as rock cities go, Chicago is an anomaly, perhaps most noticeably because

it has never been characterized by one particular style of music. Although it's

got a scene -- and several at that -- it has never really had a "sound" per

se.

Now Chicago rock has a film to explain why that is and why it shouldn't matter.

"Out of the Loop," a new feature-length documentary, addresses the indie music

scene in Chicago. The movie looks at 11 bands and artists, ranging from the

Wesley Willis Fiasco to Steve Albini to the Jesus Lizard, and examines the

diverse Chicago sounds and styles and how the bands have dealt with fame

and selling-out.

Producer/director Scott Petersen spent two and a half years doing the

interviews and putting the film together -- paying for it mostly out of his own

pocket.

"The bands in my movie don't sound alike," he said by phone from his

Chicago office. Neither do the bands that have really broken out of

Chicago, he adds. "Smashing Pumpkins don't sound like Liz Phair. Liz Phair

doesn't sound like Veruca Salt."

Interviewing many of these bands at different stages of their careers, Petersen

tries to give a broad overview of "all the different styles that have been

percolating for decades in Chicago," he said. From the industrial powerhouse

label Wax Trax! to mega-alternative rockers Smashing Pumpkins to Midwest

power-pop -- featuring Cheap Trick, among others -- the Windy City has seen its

share of success stories and given birth to a great deal of influence in today's

rock culture.

"The scene gets national attention at some times more than others," said Julia

Adams -- co-owner of the Chicago mainstay club, Lounge Ax -- citing the media

attention surrounding the signing of Urge Overkill and Red Red Meat, among

others. "But I don't think that it means the music is any better or any worse at

those times."

The film will be screened at festivals and on college campuses in

the upcoming months.

Having already taken second place for documentaries at the Chicago

Independent Film Festival late last year, Petersen said he hopes to have it

entered in the annual South by SouthWest music conference in Austin, Texas,

this March.

For more information on the bands, the movie and upcoming screenings, visit

the "Out of the Loop" website at http://www-

personal.umich.edu/~demonner/Scott/ [Mon., Jan.

26, 1998, 9 a.m. PST]