Shut Up and Work It; Rock Star Club for the Working Man
Vincent Francone
9/29/2002 7:51:15 PM

“This really is the CD for the working man,” says Paul Kasprzak over the phone. I called the singer, guitarist and songwriter for the mighty Rock Star Club while at work because I had listened to the band’s new CD, Shut Up and Work It at least eight times in a row. I did the same thing with their last release, The Entertainer. I do this because I love this band and because their music helps me get through the mundane moments of life, many of which are found at the job. I called Paul to tell him that his CD made my rotten work day a hell of a lot better. Music serves many purposes, to enrich life mostly. Shut Up and Work It certainly enriched mine that day.

It has been two days since I got this CD and I have listened to it at least twenty times. I simply cannot get enough of this band. As much as I love them, a part of me gets angry each time I hear their music because I know that I am in the minority; I am one of those lucky few who know of their existence. They have a following here in Chicago, as well as the area of northwest Indiana from which they originate, but it frustrates me that they
are not known on a broader scale. The fact that they are a local band makes me want to tear the windpipe of out every record executive that fails to see the power, honesty, and true beauty of their vision. I’m writing this review instead.

The opening of Shut Up and Work It, “Eggshell” is a song that sticks in my head without being catchy. Calling a song “catchy” is not always a compliment. Just because something is catchy doesn’t mean it is good. Yes, the Strokes and Dave Matthews are catchy, but so are crabs, HIV and the clap. But the great thing about a song like “Eggshell” is that it stays with me even though I can’t remember the words. It is a powerful song that wastes no time, starting the whole CD off with the proper bang. Each time I hear it I want to jump around, I want to celebrate, I want to dance like a mad, possessed creature. It is the kind of song you would put on a mix tape for your buddies in the hope that they might discover its magic as well. It is a perfect song, clocking in at just over one minute. Any more might ruin its effect. The opposite of this lean tune is quite possibly the longest Rock Star Club song in existence, “Billy Corgan’s Poodle” which introduces the keyboards of newest member, keyboardist/guitarist Justin Zucker. This is the Rock Star Club record that evidences a new plateau, mainly songs that
still bring the rock while stretching the prior power trio sound to incorporate keyboards and slower melodies as well as their trademark lyrical honesty. The boys seem to be reaching for new ground on cuts like “Mulberry” and “Sunday Morning,” both of which perfectly combine power rock and a softer beauty that most bands can only envy and emulate. But it is the title track that seems best suited for the radio air play they may never achieve. An intense ode to the frustration of driving toward the hated job, Shut Up and Work It is the song for anyone who hates their job as much as I do. The song is a vindication for the working stiff dreading eight horrific hours of damnation. It elevates via relating the common experience.

With so many other bands recycling their old material or mining the fads of the seventies, a band like Rock Star Club is a miracle. They put songs first and offer a collection of infectious material based on sincerity and a love of music. Their music delivers the listener to a wonderful new place rarely found elsewhere. I implore you to visit and buy this and every CD by Rock Star Club.


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