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They Shoulda Been Huge: Chia Pet Returns!

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 6, 2009 4:20PM

2009_10_chia_pet_elpee.jpg Chia Pet's first album Elpee was the very first release on Johann's Face Records and we remember excitedly buying it at one of their infamous shows. They were this hard to categorize band out of Palatine in the late '80s that lured art students, skaters, punks, metalheads, jocks, cheerleaders and nerds under their sway. They jumbled punk, funk, soul, and gutterpunch opera-rock into an undeniable dance-party mush machine that prompted many a nubile young thang (boys and girls) to partially of fully disrobe mid-show.

We actually bought a couple extra vinyl copies of Elpee a few years ago because our original copy had grown a bit warped from overplay, but you no longer need a record player to fall under the sway of the band's debut since it's now available digitally as well. Their follow-up, Meha, was harder edged and a little less playful, making room for more extended guitar jams, but the band's live shows remained as boisterous as ever. They disbanded in 1994 and we always thought it was a tragedy that a whole generation of kids was denied the experience that was a Chia Pet show.

We had filed Chia Pet away under fond memories from our youth, figuring they'd never reunite since singer Machfly Blownaparte was in fact Johann's Face founder Marc Ruvolo, and he's kept plenty busy with a number of other musical projects over the years. Luckily for us he seems to have taken a little time to revisit his past and has regrouped the original band for a reunion show at Beat Kitchen later this year! That means everyone denied the decadent pleasures of their songs -- like the call to arms of "Muddfoot," the over-the-top operaticism of "Teheran En Glas," and the instructive teachings of "Iron Sausage" -- will finally get a chance to sample them!

Chia Pet plays a reunion show on December 19 at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont