Verona Red pledges to donate concert proceeds to polar bears

The members of Verona Red have always felt that there was more to playing music than access to a wide variety of illegal drugs and promiscuous drunk women. They also feel that, once the morning after effects of said drugs have worn off and after they have managed to kick the drunken strangers out of their bedrooms, they can use their music and the crowds that support them to help worthy causes. One of the primary focuses for the band lately has been on polar bears and the rapid diminishment of their natural hunting grounds due to global warming. Experts predict that polar bears will be extinct in less than six weeks if this trend continues. The scene they describe is heartrending: individual polar bears sadly sitting on a tiny piece of ice, drinking a Coke, just drifting off into the horizon.

Verona Red is doing what they can to prevent this. At their Wednesday show at the Bottom Lounge, they are going to donate $1,000,000 Canadian dollars for every 1,000 people that show up to support them. That's right. You heard it here first, folks. And why Canadian dollars? Where do you think polar bears live? That's right, Canada.

When asked why they are doing this, the various members all had different motivations:
Chris - "I just think it's sad. We grew up always knowing that polar bears were around and that we could go to the zoo and see them. I just want future generations to be able to admire these noble creatures as well."
Mike - "Have you ever seen these things? They're killing machines. It's crazy. All they do is kill and sleep all day, and that's a lifestyle I feel I can really get behind, you know?"

Tony - "Well... they're starving, you know? Because the ice is melting and they have nowhere to hunt. So we want to make sure that they get the money, and I hope everyone understands that we will make sure that the money goes directly to the polar bears. No beaurocracy, no red tape that leeches money from the cause. We will personally deliver the cash to the ice floes and see that the bears have it, cash in paw."
Taz - "I just figure saying I'm saving polar bears will help get me laid. Oh ... and it's, like, a tragedy."

As one can tell, it's clearly a matter very close to all their hearts for different reasons. With the changing face of the world today, it's refreshing to see that a band cares about real issues facing the environment and the natural inhabitants of this world.

So come out and support Verona Red at the Bottom Lounge this Wednesday at 11 p.m.!


Beer Heaven looks like a pretty square joint

The new Miller Lite advertising campaign about "beer heaven" is a complete joke. I understand that companies advertising their products are going to try to promote their particular brand as the best available. But the sheer arrogance of Miller Lite saying, not only is Miller Lite the sole available choice in beer heaven, but no one who drinks beer would or should ever even want a different kind of beer than a light, American style lager. That's making a judgment statement on me that I don't appreciate. It's screwing over a lot of beer aficionados who actually have broader tastes in beer than Miller Lite, which is a classy one step up from PBR, Miller High Life, and Old Style. And, to be fair, I'll take any of the three of those before Miller Lite on a given night of debauchery if only for the fifty cents it will save me.

In Beer Heaven, it's way too well lit and everyone is dressed super fancy.
It looks like the VIP room to an incredibly pompous chic club. (One of those clubs that is so fancy that the bartender can just wear a ratty t-shirt because that's how cool they are.)
The kind of club that you have to wait in line for 45 minutes unless you get lucky enough where one of the girls that's in the group either in front or behind you (because you sure haven't brought any girls) has low enough self esteem to blow the doorman so you can slide in pretending that you know her. And then God forbid you're wearing jeans or sneakers, because then the 45 minute wait was for no reason as the 'roided up bouncer with both mommy and daddy issues will tell you in no uncertain words to go home. The only uncertainty in it is trying to decipher the monosyllabic barely comprehensible grunting coming from his caveman-like lips that seem to always be approaching a slack jawed drooling. Once you finally get past that step you get to pay the $20 cover to the cashier girl who is probably the most attractive female you will see all night anyways. Once you're in, the oontzy headache forming music from the DJ who has more coke in his system than Brian Urlacher after coming out of the locker room for the second half and the seizure inducing strobe lights will serve to so completely disorient you that you'll need some seven dollar beers in your system just to feel like your life has purpose again.

In conclusion, beer heaven sucks. And while the bottles may never break, the bar stool may recline, and the pristine conditions of the bar in the commercial can seem appealing, if Miller Lite is all that is offered in Beer Heaven, I'll gladly ride my one way ticket to beer hell where I'm actually afforded a choice.

Beer Hell:


A National Solution

The November general election for the President of the United States has been a heated topic of debate and discussion for the past several months. John McCain, the 72 year old presumptive nominee for the Republican party born in the Panama Canal Zone from an unholy coupling between an American canal builder and a female brown throated three toed sloth with reputedly loose morals,

is the perfect candidate for anyone who has enjoyed the last eight years of Republican government. However, some ultra Conservative Republicans have called him a "maverick" and a "renegade" that will deviate from toeing the party line. What they don't seem to understand is that his "crazy" ways are mostly a product of the severe mental trauma that he suffered as a POW in Vietnam. The bills he has signed over his past 22 years spent as a U.S. Senator from Arizona that seemed to not coincide with Republican interests were mostly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder related incidents of him thinking he was signing an order to nuke North Vietnam.

Barack Obama presents an interesting candidate for the Democratic party. He preaches a message of change and is attempting to inspire hope in a country where a lot of the population has lost faith in its government. He should already be lauded for his accomplishments for keeping the 1/2 Methodist, 1/2 pure evil Hillary Clinton out of the running:

Although, to be fair, she will probably announce her candidacy on the "I'm Willing to Completely Destroy my own Political Party to Satisfy my Ambitions" party ticket. Obama has little political experience when put next to a candidate like John McCain, but that's like saying that a baby is a shitty serial killer when compared with Ted Bundy. The point is, you never know what kind of potential you're dealing with and the little bastard DID just light the cat on fire.

Being that the two candidates are so different on so many platforms and topics, the country seems to need a more moderate solution as a compromise. And if there's anything Verona Red knows about, it's compromise, be it integrity, morals, friends, family, etc.

So how will the four members of the band divide such a position of power amongst themselves? Rotating shifts at President. Chris Balzer, as the frontman, will be President for the first month. Mike Panagakis will be the Secretary of the Treasury. He's handled most of the band's finances up to this point, and if he can deal with quantities of money dealing in the hundreds, he can probably figure out the rest. Taz Rasheed will be the Secretary of the Interior because he likes trees. And Tony Focht will be the Secretary of Homeland Security to keep an eye on Taz and to make sure his phone is tapped. When Chris isn't president, he will be the Secretary of Labor, as he's the only band member that seems to know how to maintain a steady job.

Verona Red pledges to do everything for everybody. If you're poor, Verona Red will make you rich. If you're rich, Verona Red will ask you for band funding, but that's it. If you are against continuing the war in Iraq, Verona Red promises to withdraw the troops. If you are FOR the war, Verona Red promises to buy you a plane ticket to Iraq, a gun, and some combat boots.

So everybody, please, on the Presidential Ballot in November, make Verona Red the write-in candidate that takes this country by storm.

Verona Red - We'll rock you so hard, you'll forget that our country's a mess.


The Legend of Verona Red

Long ago a great war descended from the heavens, where bitter forgotten gods attempted a final cataclysmic culling of humanity. Torrential rains destroyed entire fields of crops, leading to widespread famine and forming floods that ravaged the countryside, and pestilence swept through the panicked populace. Four men courageously took a stand, defying the ancient gods that had condemned humanity to annihilation, and banished them from our mortal realm. Our world is their legacy, given freely by the four heroes after vanquishing the proud archaic gods. This is the legend of Verona Red.

The elder gods were cruel and despotic beings, demanding complete obeisance from their subjects. Human and animal sacrifices, exorbitant offerings and humble prayers were exacted from the cowering masses as the price for the creation of this world and the wonders within it. At one time, the gods had lived harmoniously with each other for eons numbering beyond the bounds of human comprehension. As an attempt to alleviate the monotony that perforce accompanies immortality, the gods began to create, and this was done on the canvas that became our world. One created the land, and the other gods marvelled at the elegance of the landscape. One created the sea, and they marvelled at its beauty and majesty. The forests, rivers, mountains, valleys and all manner of physical landmarks were made and each one was received with wonder and awe. From this came pride, and from pride came envy and spite.

In an effort to prove himself of higher worth than those around him, a god named Veronus created living beings to roam the earth which had been so meticulously crafted. The first creatures were small organisms but the praise given to Veros was so extravagant that he kept forming more complex creatures until he reached the peak of his abilities by creating the first humans. But he was so enamored with his own creation and ability that all the adulation given to him by the other gods was insufficient to appease his ego. He did something that he had not done with any of his other creatures - he gave them consciousness. After gifting them thusly, he descended from the heavens to the fear and dismay of humanity. Veronus told the assembly that they never need fear so long as they worship him absolutely and show due reverence. The other gods soon began interfering with this new world as well, the creator of the seas sinking ships, the creator of the pastures destroying crops until proper worship was given to the entire pantheon of gods that created the various aspects of the earth.

After centuries of worship out of fear, the gods began to become apathetic with their relationship to mankind. They seemed to view the centuries of worship as a vaguely amusing but ultimately trifling experience. Once their more direct influence on humans began to wane, temples fell into disrepair, rituals used to propitiate the gods were abandoned, and humanity began a more secular existence.

Veronus, however, had never viewed his relationship as creator and ultimate master over man as a dalliance. When the temples fell, he was wroth and his violent nature reminded the rest of the pantheon of their fall from grace in the eyes, minds and spirits of their followers. They acknowledged Veronus as their superior, their leader, and he began to foment dark thoughts of vengeance and injured pride within his subordinates. The gods inexorably worked themselves into a fervor, decrying the unrighteous faithlessness that had settled over humanity. And in their vengeful anger when these malevolent perceptions stirred their turbulent natures, they one and all deemed mankind unworthy of their beneficent creations and forthwith sentenced man to his doom.

A doom that, but for the courage of four strangers, each heroes of their own lands, but whose strength combined proved to overmatch even Veronus and the lesser gods, would have surely claimed the lives and souls of every member of the human race and destroyed the very world the gods had created in their fury.

To be continued... eventually


Verona Red Announces Upcoming National Television Spot

Recently Verona Red has released information that they are working on the details of an agreement with a national television commercial advertising agency to provide a song for one of the largest Herpes cream lines in America. This is a big step for Verona Red as it will give them national exposure and a proud highlight on their burgeoning resume. It comes at a perfect time, as the band has a bit more free time following some intense months in the studio recording their soon to be released and as of yet untitled album.

I sat down with frontman Chris Balzer to ask him about the band's newest gig:

ME: First of all, congratulations on the deal. You guys must be really excited about the national exposure this will get you.

CHRIS: Yeah. I mean, I guess. We're trying to work some kind of deal where the commercial is presented as a sort of music video, you know, about herpes, so that the band's name will actually appear on it. Otherwise, it's just a few easy bucks and that's about it. I don't know how many people would actually investigate a herpes website to find the band playing the soundtrack to it. Imagine a network security tech guy finding that website in an employee's internet history.

ME: Speaking of money, how much is this going to contribute to the band fund?

CB: We're still working on those details. Since we don't have an agent, and since unfortunately Taz decided he was the best negotiator in the band, it looks like we're going to mostly get paid in herpes cream.

ME: I see. Well I suppose that could come in handy...

CB: All things considered, it might work out in the long run. I mean, our goal IS to become rock stars, so while on tour, herpes might end up being a big concern.

ME: Yeah, one in five American adults from what I hear.

CB: Really? That much? That means between the band and you, one of us probably has it by now.

ME: Well, let's just say that if those statistics are exact, I think the band is safe. Er, anyways... What exactly is the format of the commercial?

CB: Well, you know how most herpes commercials have a guy, and a girl, and they're completely in love, despite the fact that one of them has herpes? Sunny day, swinging in the meadows, all the nonsense, and there's sappy orchestral music in the background really romanticizing the whole thing. Well, this new brand that's coming out decided to put a more realistic spin on the whole thing and have a more rock and roll attitude about it. You know, going out to some dive bar, getting nice and plastered, and making some bad decisions. Bad decisions that lead to a life-long battle with "the herp".

ME: Any lyrics you could part with?

CB: Contractually, no. But let me tell you, it's a pain in the ass trying to rhyme anything with herpes. The only thing we could come up with was Slurpees, so they kinda had to work in a 7-11 scene.

ME: A nice little corporate co-advertising campaign. The new herpes cream, sold nationwide at 7-11.

CB: Yeah, that's about right.

ME: All right, Chris. I'll let you go start working on making the new investment worthwhile. May I suggest a few nights across from your apartment at Stadium West?

CB: Well, I've been in there on two occasions and sat on two different barstools. Chances are the first outbreak will be popping out soon.

ME: Lovely. Thanks.

The commercial is set to wrap shooting next week. It should be ready to hit the air sometime late this summer, so keep your eyes and ears open, and stay in your chairs during commercial breaks because soon the dulcet tones of Chris Balzer and Verona Red will be on a Herpes commercial near you.


New Colors

Welcome to the new and improved Verona Red blog site color scheme! Now more Verona Red-ey than ever before. Hopefully now the color scheme won't make anyone reading the blog suicidally depressed. We'll leave that to the content.

On Saturday night a great debate raged at Verona Red headquarters; how shall we celebrate this Easter Eve, the anniversary of the night before your Lord and mine, Jesus Christ, miraculously rose from the dead, generally creeping a lot of people out and paving the way for Verona Red, some of the great sinners of our time, to redeem their souls? Where exactly should we get drunk? After making all the requisite calls starting with people we actually wanted to see and finishing with the dregs of our cell phone lists the realization hit that most people weren't around and were in fact inexplicably (and inexcusably) spending this holiest of weekends with their families. If this night was going to be salvaged it was going to be through hard work and determination, which is just about the time that Chris suggested Stadium West.

Stadium West is a little dive bar in the less fashionable part of Avondale, only a few short steps from the Verona Red cave. It has one pool table, is lit entirely by strung up icicle lights, and the men's bathroom smells pleasantly of sandalwood and a hint of lavender. It is reputed by and large to be a hot ticket for cougars and biker chicks. And so we went with high hopes and a dream to penetrate ladies significantly past their prime and hopefully not get penetrated ourselves by the male biker counterparts that were clearly so unable to satisfy their needs. The first step in the door saw an end to that dream. The Asian lady bartender was over on the far side of the bar, chatting it up with the three patrons of the establishment (four if you include the pregnant Jack Russell terrier who seemed to be a bit drunk herself). A warm greeting there was not, homegrown local talent though we were, and we settled ourselves at the opposite end of the bar. We were close enough to the door to run in case the two beefy men decided we were too much competition to attract the attention of the slurring used-up woman who owned the dog and leave them with nothing but each other and a potentially lifestyle changing series of bad decisions. As we were hastily finishing our drinks, the phone call that salvaged the night was received and we were off to Merkle's .... and it is a sad sad night when the prospect of Merkle's is so unanimously approved and eagerly awaited.

At Merkle's we met up with some of the fine Perishables ladies and enjoyed some cold beverages. A critical point was almost reached when one random creeper was spotted getting a bit too friendly with some lady friends. After watching this guy for a while, it was concluded that he had come to the bar by himself and made the life choice to creep on every single girl at the bar with the hopes that at least one would be drunk enough to make some bad decisions. As we all know God loves a drunk-en potential rapist and so by some grace of His this guy did not linger too long creeping on the ladies whose honor we were obligated to defend with our fists in his face and our asses in a local jail cell. The night concluded and the pilgrimage back to Avondale began.


Yes. we are alive

This blog was intended to be a weekly (or more) update on news, stories, or just juicy rumors regarding Verona Red. However, due to both my own laziness and the generally uninteresting lives of the members of said band, there has been a lack of activity on the blog as of late. It dried up after a whopping two entries. To be quite honest, there are a number of stories that merit telling and would certainly be entertaining, but in the interests of maintaining friendships and the fanbase in general, some of these must be kept secret. And in the interest of keeping certain band members out of prison, at least until the statutes of limitations on certain events of dubious legality are reached, some tales must be withheld until a later date. Once the band makes it big, and if they refuse to pay me the required amount, the tell-all book will disclose everything (Publishers, take note!).

But fear not, intrepid Verona Red fans and followers! If I have to make the damn stories up, there will be a blog every week from now on. I swear it on Mike's driver's license. Chris' test results, Tony's swinger status, and Taz's designer sunglasses.


Checks in the Mail

Thanks again for a great February 22 at the Note. Checks in the mail ladies...


Verona Red issues an official statement regarding Performance Enhancing Drug Accusations

There have been a lot of rumors flying around lately about Verona Red having taken illegal performance enhancing drugs several years ago in order to get an edge in the local music scene. They have all steadfastly denied such allegations and are very concerned that their good reputations will forever be tarnished in the wake of such lies. The band's policy on drugs has always been, and remains to this day, to use drugs solely for recreational purposes with the intent of thinking more creatively, expanding their minds, or in the greater pursuit of getting laid.

Unfortunately, a former friend of the band has come out recently and accused lead guitarist and vocalist Chris Balzer of having taken steroids and Human Growth Hormones to build up arm, wrist, and finger strength. He claims that Balzer used these drugs for increased stamina during times when the band's gig schedule was particularly intense.

Balzer denied such rumors, and contacted lawyers about filing a defamation of character lawsuit. After preliminary meetings and interviews, however, the lawyers declined to represent Balzer claiming that they "didn't feel [Balzer] had any real character to begin with."

Still, the conflict rages on, and fans are forced to either trust Verona Red and stand behind them in this difficult period, or to believe a disgruntled former colleague's attacks. No matter how the matter is finally resolved, there will forever be questions about the integrity and legitimacy of Verona Red and just how they were able to rock so goddamn hard.

Before you choose, take the time on Friday, February 22 at 11 p.m. to come see Verona Red at the Note, 1565 N. Milwaukee Ave and live a part of the controversy.


Who is Verona Red?

As we all know, it is a long and difficult process trying to name a band. The name has to be both personally important and relevant to the band and also immediately memorable and eye-catching to the public. After all, if one is not familiar with a particular band's music or reputation otherwise, it is only through a captivating name that a random band will be given a chance.

So how important, how poignant IS the name Verona Red? What emotions does it elicit? I hit the streets to find out.

After being asked by people if it was some kind of flower, perfume, or wine, I realized I should clear up the confusion and actually mention that Verona Red was the name of a band.

"Is it kind of like the Indigo Girls?", "That's Fiona Apple's new project, right?" and "I don't know but it sounds pretty gay" were the most popular answers.

But what is the meaning behind it, it's raison d'ĂȘtre?

A few close friends of the band were able to shed more light. Joe Wilson, a long time friend and former schoolmate of lead man Chris Balzer's said, "I don't trust it, sounds like a French communist to me." Another friend, Steve, said, "I think they should just go back to the first band name, Audio Pollution. And while they're at it they should probably bring back the original line-up. And play the old songs. Just a thought."

Obviously I had to go straight to the source for the answer. The only person that would be able to provide me with a full explanation of everything that went into the process of naming the band was a band member himself. I caught up with Chris and asked him exactly where Verona Red came from, what it truly meant.

"I don't know, it was either that or the Van Buren Eight. Oh, or Basil."

Good choice, boys. Good choice.

Next Show: 11PM Friday February 22 at The Note (1565 N. Milwaukee, Chicago)