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The CHIRP Blog

Erik Roldan writesA Conversation With John Bellows

John Bellows is Chicago singer-songwriter working in the Jeff Mangum school of honesty, throwing in some self-deprecating humor to keep him grounded. His MySpace page contains the blurb “In transcendent moments of performance, I give back the energy that the audience gives to me in the flavor of raspberry truffle Godiva ice cream, and everyone in the room eats it up. Except for the people the don’t like ice cream, which is rare.”

While working in humor to his presentation, Bellows is obviously serious about his music – he’s got an LP out on Moniker Records and has two upcoming shows in October – The Turning Fork Supper Club on the 7th and Cafe Mustache on the 15th.

Earlier this Summer, John went over to Coach House Sounds and recorded a live session – CHIRP DJs will be spinning highlights from the session all week in anticipation of its release this coming Tuesday, October 12th, over at

What the dumbest thing you’ve ever done in a basement?

Envisioned myself as a famous, revolutionary rock star just for “being myself.” I was alone.

Tell me about a coach you had as a child. What did you learn from them?

I had a coach that looked like Abraham Lincoln in 8th grade. We had to do 40 push ups one day and as I rounded 35, he ran over and cheered me on up to the 40th. I learned that I had endurance in the face of hardship.

Describe a scenario where John Bellows could be someone’s life coach and the top 2 life lessons you’d teach them.

How to cook your own meals. And once for a week, I “band coached” 5 kids how to play Smells Like Teen Spirit. Those two things did a lot for my life!

What do you like about Chicago, and what makes it special to you?

Da’ Rent! I afford many luxuries in Chicago (groceries, shelter/studio, beer) with very little spending. Plus, it’s flat, and you can easily bike all over.

Tell me about your CHS session—what did you like about it? Was there anything that surprised you or was spontaneous that came out in the recording?

I get nervous when I’m being recorded cause it’s a moment set in stone. That’s one reason why I home record so much… so I can capture the appropriate mental state. But the Coach House has a stellar environment with plenty of mood lighting and I think that made for some warm recordings. Then biking on my way home, my pocket called Matt on the phone over 20 times!

What’s happening? What are your current/upcoming shows or releases?

I just purged 6 angry songs a few days ago. All written on bass guitar. I hope to purge 6 more and make an album called Verse Chorus DIE! Or maybe I could write six happy songs and call it Songs of Love and Hate.

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Categorized: Interviews

Topics: interview

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