Material re-Issue: Phil Angotti, Mike Zelenko, Ted Ansani/Photo: Dennis Polkow
By Dennis Polkow
For the first time since International Pop Overthrow began back in 1998, the music festival will feature the first-ever reunion of the very group whose iconic 1991 album that the festival took its name from: Material Issue.
It has been twenty years since the Chicago power-pop trio released “International Pop Overthrow,” which was re-released on April 5 on Hip-O Select as a twentieth-anniversary edition. In addition to a remastered version of the original album and a booklet of rare photos and a lengthy band retrospective and appreciation, also included are six of the eight non-album tracks that appeared on the 1991 promo-only disc “Eleven Supersonic Hit Explosions,” the 1988 track “Sixteen Tambourines” and the unreleased “The Girl With the Saddest Eyes.” Bonus tracks include Material Issue covers of songs by Sweet (”Blockbuster”), Thin Lizzy (”Cowboy Song”) and Simon & Garfunkel (“The Boxer”).
The IPO music festival, which began two years after the 1996 suicide of Material Issue frontman Jim Ellison that abruptly ended the band, could scarcely have foreseen actually booking a reunion of surviving members bassist and vocalist Ted Ansani and drummer Mike Zelenko. The duo are reuniting as Material re-Issue for an April 23 one-time-only live performance of the complete “International Pop Overthrow” album with singer-guitarist and Ellison friend Phil Angotti.
“I didn’t play the drums for an entire year after Jim died,” says Zelenko, preparing for a band rehearsal at a Wicker Park music store. “It was such a shock, and it took me about five years to really come to terms with it. The band had been together for ten years, we had come of age together. In those last days, I spent a lot of time with Jim, and knew that he was down, but still, you don’t expect something like this.” Ansani agrees. “Yes, the band had its ups and downs, disagreements and fights, like any band does, but so what? We would have recovered.” Read the rest of this entry »