Sunday 21 February 2016


GenresPunk / Hardcore / Skate Punk
Related artistsRise AgainstAlkaline Trio, Break The Silence, Set Fire To Reason, Shades ApartThe Story So Far, Explode And Make Up, The Moneychangers, Shot Baker and Dead Ending.
CountryChicago, Illinois USA
Years Active1993-1996, 1998-1999, 2009-2010, 2013-present
Song: "Tomorrow Starts Today"
Album: "Back on the Streets"
Year: 1998
For fans of: Rise Against, Bigwig, Kid Dynamite, Belvedere, Minor Threat, Ten Foot Pole, NOFX, Pennywise, Strike Anywhere, No Use For A Name, Standoff, Propagandhi, Horace Pinker, Douglas and Satanic Surfers.
Label(s): Self Released / Fat Wreck Chords / Hopeless Records / Go Deaf Records / Labyrinth Records / Rocco Records / Bad Taste Records / Sub City Records
This post's artist is from the November 2015 Mix. This is track #8.
You can download: the January Mix#1 right here or get the new February 2016 Mix#2 here.

If you haven't listened to 88 FINGERS LOUIE at some point in your life, chances are you were born after 1990 or have no interest in punk music. Perhaps a bold statement, perhaps just a fucking intro. The band hailed from Chicago and ran jokes about ties to the mafia throughout their 6 year tenure. They followed their own formula which ended up taking them from straight up hardcore to near pop-punk on the same record, even over the course of the two different versions of the band (1993-1996 and 1998-1999). I would say that 88 FINGERS LOUIE slid along the spectrum of melodic hardcore to hardcore punk, sometimes playing the melodic and sometimes the heavy, as well as combining the two during the 98-99 era of the band.

88 FINGERS LOUIE's early work from 93-96 is okay. I wasn't listening to punk in 1993 so I certainly missed the initial boat, but can still appreciate tracks such as the snotty "Go Away" with it's great bass riffs, the surprisingly poetic "Blink", the "New Direction" cover of the Gorilla Biscuits original and the very catchy "Run On Home". Similar to pre-pubescent Propagandhi - just not political, as Dennis focused on his personal/relationship problems, social issues and later on, scene politics. It was also early in the band's career (1994, I believe) that they signed to Fat Wreck Chords whom they released with until 1995.

Although I enjoyed the antics and sound of the band's earlier work it wasn't until the more polished and gelled material was released upon their reformation. The inclusion of Joe Principe on bass was extremely influential for me, and a highlight of the band, especially once coupled with Denis' very confident and varied delivery. The vocals are excellent on the later releases and are quite reminiscent of Bigwig and Belvedere. The 'Back On the Streets' LP was a monumental release for this skate punk fan from 1997-2000 or so. I remember at the time the fact that Mass Giorgini mixed/mastered the album was a big deal. I dunno. What I do know is that "Tomorrow Starts Today" is the perfect opener and probably the best song on the album. Rise Against fans would probably see an insane resemblance between this and the first Rise Against record '1,000 Revolutions Per Minute'. "Selfish Means", "Newspaper", "Punk Rock Rulebook", "Elmer's" and "Well Done" are all similar to the opener in one way or another and are also all excellent. "State" is dark as shit and is one of the band's most aggressive songs - and those bass riffs, oh my lord, those bass riffs. "Worst Man Won" is another song that parallels The Hope Conspiracy and I love the Joe Peschi audio clip that starts the song, what an intro! "100 Proof" is another excellent song that dabbles in the melodic hardcore realm again and boasts more beautiful chords on the bass and a catchy as fuck chorus.

In 1999 they released a split recording with Kid Dynamite which took the style on 'Back On the Streets' and tightens it like a corset. "Reparation" and "Slow Chorus Overlap" are catchy as hell, with the highest vocals Denis ever hit. "Out There" is the band's last straight up hardcore output and it's a banger. Then they broke up again later that year. This demise was quite historic, as the band ended up being in both The Story So Far (not the pop punk band) and the massively popular and mainstream Rise Against. You must understand that in 1998 and 1999 I was all over 88 FINGERS LOUIE so when the death of the band was announced I was pretty bummed. This also meant that when I first heard Rise Against on the Fat Music sampler with the band premiere of "Join the Ranks" I nearly shit myself out of excitement. I thoroughly enjoyed Rise Against's debut record but completely lost interest thereafter. Nowadays, so many people fucking love Rise Against, but I must say that they don't hold a candle to later 88 FINGERS LOUIE material. I hope a few of these folks are able to stumble across this band from this review and hear a rawer, much better hardcore/skate punk hybrid that blow's mid-late Rise Against out of the water.

You may also have noticed that I neglected to talk about the 30 or so compilations that 88 FINGERS LOUIE also appeared on, as there's no way that I am listing or reviewing all that. So if you like Rise Against, skate punk, melodic hardcore, hardcore punk and hell even some pop-punk, take a gander at 88 FINGERS LOUIE, a band that was once of the best to combine hardcore with pre-autotuned clean vocals. They reformed in 2013 and have stuck it out and toured, and I do believe they have a 2016 tour coming if all goes as planned. I've also got two sweet posters for sale in the Zegema Beach Records distro from the 'Back On the Streets' album here and here.


Click )==>here<==( to download most of the band's discography in wma form.

1993 - Happy Anniversary 7"EP
1993 - Wanted 7"EP
1993 - Go Away 7"EP

1994 - Viva Chicago (split w/The Bollweevils) 7"EP
1994 - North America Loud Punk Series Vol. 1 (split w/Phallocracy) 7"EP

1995 - Behind Bars cd/cassette/12"LP
1995 - Totin' 40s & Fuckin' Shit Up 10"EP

1997 - The Teacher Gets It 7"EP
1997 - The Dom Years cd/cassetteLP (compilation)
1997 - 88 Fingers Up Your Ass cd/cassetteLP (compilation)

1998 - Back On the Streets cd/cassette/12"LP
1998 - Right On Target (split w/The Queers) cdEP

1999 - Kid Dynamite split cd/10"EP

2009 - Lives cd/dvd (live album) (stream/buy here)


(1999) 88 FINGERS LOUIE - "Reparation" (from 'Kid Dynamite' split)

(1999) 88 FINGERS LOUIE - "All My Friends are In Popular Bands" (from 'Short Music for Short People' comp)

(1998) 88 FINGERS LOUIE - "Tomorrow Starts Today" (from 'Back On the Streets')

(1998) 88 FINGERS LOUIE - "100 Proof" (from 'Back On the Streets')

(1998) 88 FINGERS LOUIE - "Newspapers (demo)" (from 'Hopelessly Devoted to You, Too' comp)

(1995) 88 FINGERS LOUIE - "Run On Home" (from 'Totin' 40s & Fuckin' Shit Up')

(1995) 88 FINGERS LOUIE - "Blink" (from 'Behind Bars')

(1993) 88 FINGERS LOUIE - "Go Away" (from 'Go Away')


88 FINGERS LOUIE additional links


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