Chicago’s Watchers come to Kent

Brittany Moseley


Playing with Unicron, Masters of Luxury, Phantasm, Take No Damage

Where? Club Khameleon

When? May 11, 9 p.m.

How much? $5 + $2 if under 21

Most musicians would be ecstatic if they were labeled the next David Bowie, but Michael Guarrine, lead singer of Watchers, has no desire to be compared to anyone else.

“People say I’m the second coming of David Bowie, and that’s really flattering,” Guarrine said. “But (Watchers) are not trying to be a carbon copy. You can label us if you want, but we don’t give a shit.”

This attitude may sound ungrateful to some, but Guarrine is far from it. The members of Watchers, which also include bassist Chris Kralik, guitarist Ethan D’Ercole and drummers Jess Birch and Damien Thompson, have spent their entire career striving for originality and working to prove they aren’t the typical dance-punk band.

“This whole dance-punk movement that everyone’s talking about, I don’t understand the genre,” Guarrine said. “It’s not our goal to be ‘that band.'”

Right now the goal of Watchers is to promote its latest album, Vampire Driver. Kent is the first stop of the tour, and it’s the band’s first time playing here.

“With the new record, we were like, ‘let’s not have these limitations.’ It’s more raw,” he said.

Guarrine said the “raw” factor was one aspect that was missing from the first album, To The Rooftops.

“The first album was crazy. We used the limitations that all these old soul records had used. It wasn’t very spontaneous,” he said. “I’m not dissing the first record. It’s a good record, but the recording was difficult.”

Now that Watchers has figured out the recording process, the only thing left is for the members to figure out how to balance the band, have day jobs and still find time for their significant others. So far, the guys aren’t doing too bad with the balancing act.

“It’s kind of nice to have a balance between work and rock ‘n’ roll,” said Guarrine, who is a social worker in Chicago, the band’s hometown. “I went to school for social work. It’s not like it’s some shit job. I am passionate about it.”

Still, Guarrine admits that being passionate about music and social work doesn’t make doing both any easier.

“Employers are not too excited to employ people that are in bands because they always want you around.” he said. “Like anything it is a juggling act with the jobs and touring and just trying to be creative but live in the adult world too.”

All of the members have jobs. Kralik is also a social worker, D’Ecrole works at a record store, Birch is a teacher and Thompson is a photographer. Thompson is the only one who is married, and Guarrine said that all of the guys’ significant others are fine with their busy schedules.

“The wife and girlfriends seem to be pretty cool with us going on the road and just being in a band,” he said. “If anything, they like us out of town and out of their hair for a while.”

No matter how busy Watchers get, they stay true to their hometown of Chicago, which has done a lot for the band.

“Chicago’s definitely an island in the Midwest, and the scene just kind of exists,” Guarrine said. “We’re all proud of Chicago. I feel that bands from Chicago put an interesting stamp on history. There’s a lot of originality and freshness here for a big city.”

Chicago is known for deep dish pizza, the Sears Tower and jazz. Watchers may be the next to leave a mark on Chicago’s history.

Contact ALL reporter Brittany Moseley at [email protected].