What is "Hippie Rock"?
That's what some have called Knights of Crisis... Playing their unique blend of blues, classic rock, and original songs, Knights of Crisis have become one of the Midwest's premier club acts, and a sought-after opener for festivals and concerts.
What brought them together? They met because their kids all went to the same school. The Knights soon learned they all shared a love of seventies-style rock, blues, and song-writing. Knights of Crisis quickly earned a reputation as the "bad boys" among school parents, with their traveling music party for clubs and festivals throughout Illinois.
Knights of Crisis went national 2005 with a CD and support gigs for some of the biggest names in rock. In 2007, their song "Zamboni Driver" earned Knights of Crisis the title "2006-2007 UHL Battle of the Bands Champions". "Zamboni Driver" was just released on the new Knights of Crisis CD "Disaster Days".
Knights of Crisis music is highly influenced by Chicago blues and classic American rock acts like Creedence Clearwater Revival, Little Feat, the Allman Brothers Band, and the Grateful Dead.
Whether they're getting an audience warmed up, or playing for an evening, a Knights of Crisis performance is a fun and entertaining show.
Joe Blaney - guitar, bass, vocals
Jim Dougan - bass, guitar, vocals
Doug Drilling - guitar, vocals
John Hooker - drums
Red Miller - keyboards, vocals
Dave Raistrick - guitar, bass, vocals
In October, 2007, Knights of Crisis released their second CD *Disaster Days*. This CD features guest appearances from Little Feat's Fred Tackett, and the song "Zamboni Driver" --- the track that won Knights of Crisis the title of "UHL/VH1 Battle of the Bands Champions"
*Disaster Days* shows more of the rocking side of Knights of Crisis. In addition to "Zamboni Driver", songs from *Disaster Days* receiving airplay include: "Tiny Shards", "Long Way to Heaven", and "Pure Lies".
Knights of Crisis released their first CD, *Knight Job*, in 2005. Several tracks received regular radio play, and still get spins today.
"Born Blue" received airplay on blues stations nationwide and is reported to the blues trades.
"Devil Bayou" and "Eleven Dimensions" get spins on rock stations in the Midwest.
Knights of Crisis also does well in the digital marketplace. Biggest sellers for Knights of Crisis on iTunes are "Devil Bayou", "One Small Onion", "Pure Lies", "Zamboni (Machine) Driver" and "Eleven Dimensions".
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By Dan Craft When we last encountered the Knights of Crisis – two years ago as GO! cover story su...By Dan Craft
When we last encountered the Knights of Crisis – two years ago as GO! cover story subjects – they'd just been around for about a year; trying to cure a mid-life crisis epidemic raging through the Epiphany Catholic Church parish.
In the time since then, they've:
* Opened for big-name acts like Little Feat, Blue Oyster Cult, Rare Earth, The Guess Who and David Allan Coe.
* Played a sold-out House of Blues show in Chicago (as part of a Little Feat show).
* Watched their song "Zamboni Driver" become a U.S. Cellular Coliseum anthem played during between-period ice resurfacting at Prairie Thunder games.
* Won the VH1-United Hockey League Battle of the Bands competition, first locally, then nationally.
* Released their second CD, "Disaster Days," which features 12 new tracks featuring members of Little Feat, Bob Seger's band and The Boat Drunks.
* Been inducted into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of fame in record time.
OK, so we lied about one of the above.
Everything else is the gospel truth.
The fortysomething sextet, you may recal, first congregated around three years ago when several dads were sitting around at the annual Epiphany School auction in Normal.
The common denominator: All had kids attending Catholic school, all love music, are capitves of the same general demographic (children of the late'70s and early '80's).
They debuted a Blues Brothers tribute act as the auction's featured entertainment.
"We were half-joking," recalled band spokesman-singer-guitarist Joe Blaney. "It was just a big goof."
It didn't hurt that keyboardist Fred "Red" Miller was the experienced pro of the bunch, who had past professional associations with Doors drummer John Densmore and the aforementioned Little Feat.
That Little Feat connections has gone a long way for the Knights, including those Little Feat opening gigs, and the presence of the band's guitarist, Fred Tackett, on the new CD.
In addition to Blaney and Miller, the lineup includes guitarist Doug Drilling, bass player Jim Dougan and drummer Jason Lied.
Original member Damian Marmion couldn't keep up with the Knights' frenetic pace, and was replaced earlier this year by Dave Raistrick.
He fits the Knights profile to a T, says Blaney: early-40s-ish, a rock-loving dad, a member of the Epiphany parish.
For the record, drummer Lied was the odd Knight out two years ago when the GO! cover story appeared. Not only was he not a dad yet, he was not a Catholic.
Since then, says Blaney, he's remedied the non-dad thing and "moved into the ranks" of fatherhood.
As for the Catholic problem?
"Nope... still a Baptist," says Blaney.
You can catch these five Catholics and a Baptist this Saturday night at Paulie's in downtown Bloomington, where a CD release party for "Disaster Days" will be held. Cover is $5, with proceeds going to Hurricane Katrina disaster relief.
Never fear, Blaney adds: the rock-god lifestyle has not gone the Knights' heads.
"Everybody keeps their clothes on. And we all get home safely," he says. "We're Catholic dads – so we have fun taking things to the edge, without going over."
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By Dan Craft When the Knights of Crisis hit the stage, it's more than just the Night of the Livin...By Dan Craft
When the Knights of Crisis hit the stage, it's more than just the Night of the Living Dads. It's red-hot rock 'n' roll stoked by some of the most potent kindling around: highly combustible middle-aged angst.
That angst -- which began to take musical shape as something of a lark just a year ago -- is about to put the Knights on the same stage as some of the heroes of their '70s youth.
Little Feat on July 30 ... Blue Oyster Cult on Aug. 6... Rare Earth (with Blue Oyster Cult again) on Oct. 8.
How did that happen?
"Keep in mind, we were having trouble tuning our guitars last July," notes 40ish band spokesman Joe Blaney, director of radio broadcasting at Illinois State University by day and hard-driving rock god by night.
Well, Tuesday nights, anyway, when it's time for the weekly practice at the band's semi-namesake, the Knights of Columbus Hall in Bloomington.
"I broke a string on my guitar the first night we played," adds Doug Drilling, the band's resident Farmer (as in State Farm-er). At those practice sessions, you might notice that at least five of the six players give every appearance of being several years past their garage-band prime.
And with fair reason: singer-guitarist Blaney, singer-bass player Jim Dougan, guitarist Drilling, guitarist-bass player Damian Marmion and singer-keyboardist Fred "Red" Miller are all married with children, all Catholic school dads, all Twin Cities residents, all hovering before or after 40.
Only drummer Jason Lied breaks the mold: he's not a Catholic (he's a Baptist), not a Twin Cities resident (he lives in the Peoria area), not a dad (yet) and nowhere near hovering before or after 40 (he's still a student at ISU).
But he did get married recently. So he's at least working on the dad part, if not the Catholic one.
Rounding out the crew, over on the sidelines, is sound man Kit Stube (a Protestant, since you asked).
The Knights met their Crisis head-on slightly more than a year ago when several of the dads were sitting around at the annual Epiphany School Auction in Normal.
The common thread: all had kids attending the Catholic school, all love music, all reside in the same general demographic.
As the event's featured entertainment -- a Blues Brothers tribute act -- played on, says Blaney, "we talked about the fact that wouldn't it be fun it we got together and jammed and played some songs at the auction next year ... or auctioned ourselves as the entertainment for a party."
But it was the kind of semi-jest a bunch of guys can make without really meaning it. "We were half-joking. It was just a big goof."
Lo and behold, though: "Maybe two weeks later, we got together at the Knights of Columbus hall, except for the drummer." (He came later, after a somewhat complex "This Is Spinal Tap" turn of events, which is another story for another day ...)
Originally, says Blaney, one of the dads' kids -- Dougan's daughter Emily -- suggested that they christen themselves The Mid-Life Crisis, for obvious reasons. "We all laughed and thought it was funny," says Blaney.
"Instead of getting a sports car or behaving recklessly, we were doing something constructive like being in a band, and playing music," he adds. "It's much less expensive than playing golf. And it's better than having an affair, which is completely unacceptable to my wife."
Instead of beating the mid-life crisis thing with a broom, the dads settled on the more quasi-heroic name of Knights of Crisis, which lends middle age the ring of victory ... but with reservations.
Though several of the dads -- old pro Miller in particular -- have musical pasts and presents, none was actively pursuing them until that first close encounter a year ago.
When that moment arrived, "Most of us were basically rank amateurs, and I am absolutely amateur -- not even a very good one," Blaney overstates (he wrote or co-wrote four of the 12 respectable cuts on the band's new CD, "Knight Job"; he also sings and plays guitar).
But within weeks, the band had snared a private party gig with their chunky, guitar-driven celebration of '70s rock a la Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bad Company, the Grateful Dead, the Stones and others.
"We put together 90 minutes of music," Blaney recalls. "It was pretty rough, but we pulled it off and it gave us the encouragement that we could do this with some success."
The party was followed by the KOC's first public unveiling, at the Golden Eagle South block party last September. A few weeks later, they were performing at a local radio event, the Russell Rush Roof-Sit for SIDS.
A four-song demo CD recorded at the Pogo Studios in Champaign (courtesy more of Miller's music industry contacts) was circulated to area bars, several of which began booking the dads.
Then Blaney heard that Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield was soliciting an opening act for the school's big SummerFest celebration in late July, where Little Feat was the headliner.
Off went the demo to Springfield. "Why set your goals low? It took some guts, but I harangued them," says Blaney.
It didn't hurt that Miller knows several of the Little Feat band members from past musical associations forged in Los Angeles. But the festival still had the final word.
So they dispatched a couple of emissaries to sit in on a KOC Mardi Gras party gig at -- where else? -- the Knights of Columbus banquet hall.
"They saw that these guys like to have fun." And they found themselves booked -- less than a year into their existence -- as the opener for Little Feat. Then came the bookings with Blue Oyster Cult, Rare Earth, the Illinois State Fair and more.
Persistence and merely asking are two of the key ingredients -- along with the musicianship that has evolved and the sense of fun that all six band members convey on stage.
"We don't take ourselves seriously, and audiences tend to appreciate that. We have a very good rapport between us and people wanting to have fun on a Saturday night," he adds.
"We know, and they know, we're not the next Grateful Dead or Aerosmith. We're just a bunch of goofy Catholic dads."
Plus one Baptist newlywed.
Depends on the type of gig.
When Knights of Crisis open for national acts, their set features original material with emphasis on songs from their CDs, "Knight Job" and "Disaster Days".
At typical night club gigs, Knights of Crisis will play for up to three hours with one or two short breaks. These longer sets include a mix of original songs, traditional blues, and updated covers of songs from classic American rock bands such as the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers, Little Feat, and the Doors.
SAMPLE SET LIST
7/15/2006 - Opened for Little Feat, House of Blues, Chicago, IL
Devil Bayou - original
Beer and Love - original
Funk 49 - James Gang
Tundra - original
11 Dimensions - original
2 Days Gone - original
Disaster Days - original
All New Minglewood Blues - traditional (Grateful Dead)
Born Blue - original
Basement Demo Blues - original
Howl - original
Night Job - original
One Small Onion - original
For a more detailed list of songs played, please see
There are no upcoming dates at this time.