Arts & Entertainment

ChiTunes: The Hot Moms

“I saw Madonna bathing on the rocks” sings Andrew Stephens on the track “Classic Start,” the first single (released March 2) from Chicago rock ‘n’ roll band The Hot Moms. Featuring bluesy lead guitar parts and off -the-cuff vocal delivery typical of old-school garage bands from the ‘60s and ‘70s, the song lives up to its name and places the band squarely into the long tradition of some of the originators of rock.

Despite the seriousness and ambition of placing themselves in the same vein as bands such as the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, The Moms maintain their sense of humor (as evidenced by their band name which, I was told, w as inspired by the band’s fondness for attractive older women). I caught up with front man and Loyola alumnus Stephens (class of 2010) to chat about the band’s musical history and plans for the future.

Courtesy of Tim Babovac
Courtesy of Tim Babovac

Stephens explained that he hasn’t always been in rock ‘n’ roll bands.

“In high school, I played in a two-man band and I was the drummer. [My first band] was a lot angrier,” he said. The band sounded like “Modest Mouse meets Nirvana meets Local H,” Stephens said.

At the time he hadn’t yet begun to write his own songs or sing at all.

“People asked me not to sing for a long time. [I learned that] anybody can sing, it’s just that nobody has the balls to sound terrible long enough to sound better,” he said.

Later, when he began attending college, Stephens’ musical exploits took another turn.

“I was in a post-rock band called Treestar: the Band Before Time. We used to play in the practice rooms for our school. It was cool, except the bass player had no-shower contests all the time,” Stephens said.

But the band was doomed.

“We played one show and the guitar player and the bass player could not face the crowd,” he said.

After graduating from Loyola with a degree in philosophy, Stephens temporarily moved back to his home- town in Chicago’s southwest suburbs, where he lived in his parents’ base- ment as he studied for the GRE. It was there that the idea for The Hot Moms was born.

“I started writing folk music the year I got out of college. It evolved through the natural progression from folk to electric folk to rock ‘n’ roll music,” he explained. “I would go out [and sing at] these open mics, which in the ‘burbs is kind of a rough scene because it’s all these angry old people [who couldn’t make it in the city],” Stephens said.

He managed to meet a few like- minded musicians as he “w as hanging around a guitar shop [in the area].” The other three band members (lead guitarist Kevin Claxton, bassist Kevin Majka and drummer Eric Ridder) were all instructors for their given instruments at the guitar store where Stephens met them.

“[After the lineup was solidified] in September 2012, we turned right around and made a four-song recording that we banged out in 12 hours at Wall-to-Wall Studios in Chicago,” Stephens said.

Plans for the recording changed in post-production as it was mixed and mastered.

“We originally went in deciding it was going to be an EP. But it’s kind of a weird EP. So we decided we’re going to release it as singles. Right now the only one that’s out is ‘Classic Start,’” Stephens said.

You can expect the band to be releasing more material before the year ends.

“We got invited back by the owner of the studio to do a full length record this summer,” Stephens told me.

For now, check out their single “Classic Start” here.

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