Walking the dark side
by Nancy DeSalvo
Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the clubs... Just when you thought you'd seen it all... along comes the Energy Vampires.
These Chicago-based night stalkers are Jonathon Stewart (vocals), Chris Nelken (guitar), Wayne Carlson (bass) and Jim Staffel (drums). The Energy Vampires live up to their name. Equipped with blood and fangs they take the stage (and the audience) with their theatrics. A Vampires show is a no holds barred, knock-down-drag-out bloodfest complete with coffin, chainsaw, shotgun and a thing called Rex. This loud, dark and bloody show comes with a strict warning not to wear white.
In the last nine months the Energy Vampires have played a number of Chicago clubs as well as three trips to terrorize LaLa Land. When reminded about road trips, the Vampires laugh about heading across country with six guys in a Toyota Tercel with a Ryder trailer on the back and a coffin strapped on the roof. "L.A.'s cool, there's a lot of competition but every body's real supportive." The band agrees that Chicago will always be home and they have no plans of relocating. "We'd all be dead in a month."
The Energy Vampires have a certain "shock appeal" that keeps the crowds coming. The theatrics are a big part of the show. 'We want to shock the shit out of people," Nelkin says.
"But for the most part we want to influence people in a positive way," Carlson adds. "Any reaction is good positive, negative, it doesn't matter. We feed off the audience. No matter if people like us or not they usually stay and watch. To us that's positive. Our last show at the Avalon somebody told me this guy was gonna throw up from all the blood. That's cool."
blood, and fog fog fog. The all-time favorite love of all Vampires is of course the purest of pure virgins... (again a name was mentioned but you figure it out).
As for the band's success, the Vampires are happy with the positive response they've gotten from their fans, both in Chicago and L.A. They see themselves with longer hair and bigger shows a year from now. Specifically, "we want to make a movie. One about sex, death, blood and witchcraft you know, the dark side, the real side." At this point there is no scheduled released of the Vampires movie debut since they are waiting for a call from Tracy Lords, who to their disappointment is trying to go straight but was still offered the lead in this 'X-rated splatter flick."
What the future holds for the Energy Vampires only time will tell. On their way out the door Jonathon, Chris, Wayne and Jim did offer this: "Beware of shadows. Don't walk in the dark and »member everyone needs a friend to get them through the night."
These guys are definitely a dark cloud floating through the mediocre air of the local scene. The show is a must see for anyone who enjoys the dark, heavy side of the metal scene.
"Yeah, it's better when people are grossed out," Staffel interjects. "We want people to think and be sick at the same time."
What do the Vampires feed on (aside from the obvious)? Their musical influences are somewhat diverse which adds to the originality of this band. Each member had their own personal favorites which ranged ham Black Sabbath and Judas Priest to Slayer and Megadeth, Alice Cooper to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and one unanimous vote for the Sex Pistols
As for the original tunes, "Not every song is about chicks and getting laid no candy-coated shit. It's more like a sick, demented, splatter flick," Stewart hissed.
As for opinions on important issues, the band had many. Censorship was a big issue with the Vampires, as it should be with any artist. "Everyone is different and they should decide for themselves what is best." Other things the Vampires hate are poseurs and close mindedness. The guys went 50/50 on the love/hate of "bimbos" but you figure out who went where. The loves of this band included loud music, dead silence, nighttime (but of course), sex sex sex, blood blood