Nearly three years ago, the first call for submissions for the Empty Bottle book went out, and today the venue announced the details of the release party. Writer John E. Dugan has spent the past several years compiling people’s stories about Chicago’s best rock club into the 200-plus-page volume The Empty Bottle Chicago: 21+ Years of Music / Friendly / Dancing, published by local indie Curbside Splendor. The anecdotes inside come from Bottle staff and regulars as well as local musicians, artists, and writers—there’s even a tale from yours truly about the time my old dirtbag punk band almost accidentally burned the place to the ground. Last month the Reader ran a hefty excerpt from the book, and it provides plenty of evidence that the Bottle is more than just a music club—it’s a magical home away from home that’s built lasting relationships and left people with countless fond (if hazy) memories.
The release party for the book on Wednesday, June 8, will be a walk down memory lane too: the Ponys will take the stage for the first time since 2010. One of the most important bands in the past two decades of Chicago garage rock, the Ponys ushered in a new era of sleazy, ultracool music, and as they faded away they spawned a whole new family of excellent groups—former members started Disappears, Bare Mutants, Circles, and Tyler Jon Tyler, to name a few. Check out “Double Vision,” a lean, jangly cut from 2007’s Turn Out the Lights (Matador).