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!!! (Chk Chk Chk)

About !!! (Chk Chk Chk)

In the summer of 1995, in Sacramento, California, United States, two bands by the name of Black Liquorice and Popesmashers merged to form the dance-punk band now known as !!!. The two bands had participated in a successful joint tour and foresaw great musical potential in mixing two seemingly different styles – disco-funk and hardcore punk. The lead vocalist, Nic Offer came from a band called The Yah Mos and was the necessary element to add the aggressive and incorporate hardcore sounds.

The group consists of Nic Offer (vocal), Mario Andreoni (guitar), Dan Gorman (horns/percussion/keys), Tyler Pope (bass/various electronic devices and has also played with LCD Soundsystem and written music for Cake), and Allan Wilson (horns/percussion/keys). Shannon Funchess (vocals) and Paul Quattrone (drums) are also active members of !!! but are more commonly seen participating in tours. Funchess initially started as a replacement for John Pugh (vocal/drums) when he left the band in 2007 for his new band Free Blood. The original drummer, Mikel Gius, was struck and killed by a car while riding his bike in 2005.

The origin of the band’s name has to do with a movie called “The Gods Must Be Crazy” – a 1980 South African comedy film written and directed by Jamie Uys. In the movie’s subtitles the clicking sounds of the Bushmen’s Khoisan language were represented as “!” which caught the band’s attention and eventually assisted the members in coming up with a creative group name. The members have said that the three exclamation marks may be pronounced as any monosyllabic sound, such as Pow Pow Pow, Bam Bam Bam, Uh Uh Uh, etc. The group, however, refer to themselves as Chk Chk Chk most often and it is in the name of their official website as well as their original Myspace page (therefore can be regarded as the true name).

Discography:

2000: Full length debut record comes out as a self-titled album on the label Gold Standard Laboratories.

2003: The single “Me and Giuliani Down By the School Yard” comes out. It combines house beats with sinewy basslines, psychedelic guitars, and simple lyrics which quote the title song of the musical Footloose.

2004: The second studio album “Louden Up Now” is released through Touch and Go Records in the United States and Warp Records in the rest of the world. Album received positive reviews from critics, with AllMusic hailing it as “a modern-day agit-pop indie dance-rock classic”.

2005: EP covering “Take Ecstasy with Me” by The Magnetic Fields, and “Get Up” by Nate Dogg is released.

2007: The third album “Myth Takes” is released featuring the drummer Jerry Fuchs.

2010: The fourth album “Strange Weather, Isn’t It?” is released on Warp Records. Metacritic rates it as 67/100, stating it has “generally favorable reviews”. Most of the reviews regard the album as nice to listen to but characterize it as music that will be forgotten soon after hearing it. Previous work is said to be more impressive than this, especially their first single in 2003.

2013: The fifth album “Thr!!!er” is released. The name is a nod to Michael Jackson’s album “Thriller”. Received well with most reviews ranging above the 6/10 mark.

2015: The sixth album “As If” is released. In a positive review for Exclaim!, Daniel Sylvester called the album “one of the most enjoyable, if schizophrenic, dance albums of the year.”

2017: The seventh album “Shake the Shudder” is released still on the same record label, Warp Records. The band described the album as a “fancy way of saying ‘shake it off and dance your cares away.’” Reviews are mixed to positive.