Despite raves from lots of critics (including me), a growing fan-base and an ever-sharpening musical acumen, the Siderunners are calling it quits. It’s always a shame to see a good band go down, especially one with so much potential still unrealized. Their two albums, Ain’t Inventin’ the Wheel and Sabbath Country Sabbath, will have to stand as a testament to what was and what could have been.

The Siderunners were both punk and country, not to mention mean, gritty, and biting. Theirs was the sort of humor bred in Chicago’s homiest and homeliest old-man bars: snarky as hell but never ever arch. And they were self-deprecating as a matter of form, but it would’ve been a mistake to take it at face value. Bands like that know exactly how good they are.

Nate VanAllen told me he’s keeping busy with an as-yet-unnamed new group that includes members of the Tossers, Mary Tyler Morphine, Fulton County Line, and Cedarcase. He says it has some of the same twang and fire, but is more open to experimentation.

The Siderunners’ farewell show is April 19 at the Beat Kitchen.


In other news, a Swedish couple is fighting for the right to name their daughter Metallica. Damn Yuropeen Commies. Here in the good ol’ U.S.A., we’re free to saddle our kids with names that will humiliate them the rest of their lives. Who cares if it sounds like you’re describing a body part or making a stupid pun every time you call for them? They’ll get over it. Even if you name them after your favorite band. (OK, maybe not that one).