1998 - January 19, 2001
Brand New Start, Final Show


In early 1998 Busker Soundcheck was wrapping up their newest batch of songs. Fans had already heard "Hippopotamus"  "Come On Around" and "Kansas City" and  many others live and early that spring the group layed down 13 rhythm tracks for Welcome To Buskerland at Groovemaster with Johnny K engineering. Right away the sound and performances made everyone real optimistic. The rough mix of Hippopotamus was getting radio play all over the country, and the bigshots at the big labels were calling, again.

Boston Feb. 2000 - the Kendall in Cambridge
Bobbe Willis

Metro - Welcome To Buskerland Release Sept. 1999 - Bobbe Willis
As always Busker kicked off the local release of the album with a Metro show, in September 1999. This was a hugely attended show.  Once again Busker Soundcheck had created a big street buzz, and the press and radio support was building. "Welcome To Buskerland" showed up at or near the top of a few prominent writers' 1999 year end lists, and was getting frequent plays on WXRT, Q101, WLUW and college stations across the midwest.
Busker kept hitting the road with frequent shows downstate Illinois, an east coast trip in early 2000, and a short run through Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. Everyone agreed that the record had 2, 3 or maybe 4 strong radio tracks, and was already on the second pressing. The band was playing their best live shows ever. Reviews in every town were highly favorable. But as was the case throughout Busker's 11 year run, the labels were passing; this time the newest trend was Korn/Limp Bizkit-y "nu-metal". 
NYC - Feb 2000 - Photo by Bobbe

Busker with Bruce Lamont as Black Sabbath - Halloween 1999
There were several very fun shows from 1998-2000. Busker Soundcheck played their 7th annual Busker Christmas show with (a so far unreleased live CD was recorded) and in '99 also did the show in Bloomington IL and as part of the Evil Beaver Christmas Show. 
For Halloween in '99 and '00 and in April for the Lester Bangs book release party at Empty Bottle, Busker and Bruce from the Dyslexic Apaches layed down the heaviest Black Sabbath songs since Sabbath themselves, (another great live recording from the Bottle show).  And at the Hideout there were some very fun, stripped down "Chicago's Finest Hour" acoustic shows put together by Matt Suhar and a cast of other bands. See the upcoming/past shows page for more.
In spring 2000, Busker Soundcheck was asked to submit for the Jim Beam Rock Band Search, a national contest with some prizes and recognition going to the "winner". The band hesitated, but agreed to go along with it, and at Double Door in May, won the midwest regional showcase. Next stop was Phoenix. There were planes, limosine buses, fancy hotels, swimming pools, TV show appearances (on Metromix) and Busker's first performance west of the Rockies. When it was over, everybody had a good time, the Jim Beam people were great and a band from Denver that won said "Yo! Jim Beam!" a lot in their songs. 

Press shot 1999 - Drew photography
In 1997-2000 the Buskers were also busy with other bands. Chris played guitar with Bondo (Dan did for a few shows too). Paul plays bass (and sings) with Ruth Buzzy and released two CD's.  Dan also filled in on drums with our old pals Catherine.
www.buskersoundcheck.com was born in early 1998, and has been a labor of love ever since. Busker would like to thank Al Kwiatkowski for his gracious support and technical assitstance in this cyber endeavor. Busker Soundcheck was also picked for several on-line music sites, and was several times the "Band Of  The Week" on sites like audiodiner.com and mp3dom.com. Through mp3.com, people in India, New Zealand, Turkey, Austrailia, Georgia (in Asia), Greece, Khazikstan, and France were able to download and listen to "Come On Around" and "Hippopotamus" and communicate with the band.
from the Welcome To Buskerland shoot - 
Spring 1999 - Jason Wasmiller
From the beginning to the end there were always great bands we met along the way. The last Busker mini tour was with a band from NYC called Longwave. On that trip and a previous one through Indiana and southern Illinois, Paul, Dan and Chris compiled a list of over 20 new songs and planned to record a new CD (possibly a double CD) starting in January 2001. After a busy fall, Chris called Dan and Paul over to the coachhouse and said he'd had enough. The idea of replacing him was daunting.  Paul and Dan decided to wrap it up that night. On January 19, 2001 there was a final concert - a 2 1/2 hour show - at the Metro, with lots of special guests - Cory Hance, Rudy Rodruiguez, Matt Phelan, Al Rodis, Stacey Cummings, Tommy O'Donnell and John Ganser - helping out.
Longwave and Busker Soundcheck, Chicago lakefront
October 2000 
Bobbe Willis
from the band:
Busker Soundcheck played its first show on June 14, 1989 and their last show on January 19, 2001. The Busker never broke through to a large national audience, but  we experienced so much along the way, played over 750 shows, worked with many talented bands and engineers, met great people everywhere we went, visited cool places all over the country, made some decent music, and so we can't help but feel we made some small but significant contribution to rock music  in the 90's. Busker Soundcheck wishes a huge thanks to everyone who came to a show, let us sleep on their floor, bought a CD or tape, or encouraged us in any way. At the final show, Busker released (in limited quantity) copies of the brand new CD Outtakes and Unreleased and Demo Uno on CD. Thanks to all who attended the after-gig party at the Four Moons Tavern.  Good Bye!

More Photos and Fun (highly recommended)
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The Busker Soundcheck 11 Year Web Documentary was put together by Paul Kamp. With a few slipups, he attempted to keep it in the more editorial "third person" style. I'm not sure why. If you want to complain to the band about being excluded or misquoted, I suppose you should email him.