Agents of Change
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Agents of Change

Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2005
Band Hip Hop Punk


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"Agents of Change having their say in hip-hop"

Agents of Change having their say in hip-hop

April 20, 2007

Agents of Change is a trio of suburban musicians hoping their brand of live-band hip-hop is not only the antidote to the materialistic, self-destructive themes that have riddled the genre, but also for a generation they're hoping is primed to protest the policies of their fathers -- from war to free trade.

"The truth is here," cracks drummer Mike Curran, with a cockiness ripped from 1970s punk. "Everyone is so sick of, 'Let's put some rims on our Escalades,' and people want to get something out of hip-hop, not just 'This Is Why I'm Hot.'"

Agents of Change — Brian Brown (from left), Adam Weidner and Mike Curran — plays hip-hop that's live, raw and socially conscious.

• 9 tonight
• Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace
• Tickets, $12 (18-over show)
• (773) 478-4408
What Agents of Change offers is a radical departure from that MIMS track that has burned up radio. Their sound is raw, with Curran on drums and Adam Weidner on guitar joined by MC Brian Brown, also is known as Lantern, whose lyrics rant against what he sees as injustices and challenge listeners to take a closer look at their actions.
"There are so many issues I feel compelled to talk about in regard to social justice," says Brown. "There are so many things that people choose not to care about or are completely oblivious to."

Raised in Arlington Heights and Northwest Indiana, Brown describes his childhood as "normal white-bread, suburban, Wal-Mart, Starbucks life." He adds, "I'm not trying to front and say I'm from the 'hood, or that I've struggled, but the source of my lyrics is trying to help people who might not have a voice."

And he's unapologetic.

"Maybe I am trying to be preachy," he declares.

Agents of Change has charted a different path than many of the city's live bands, having played a large slate of suburban gigs, sharing the bill with gritty punk acts, while also offering their talents to events geared toward community involvement -- from a war protest at Northern Illinois University to a Make-A-Wish Foundation fund-raiser in Hammond.

"We're going to say what we want to say, and we are going to do it the way we want to do it," says Brown. "Most of the recognition we've gotten has been by standing on street corners handing out CDs and flyers until 3 in the morning."

While driven by their messages, the band also places a heavy emphasis on the music.

Agents of Change, in its current incarnation, formed when Brown linked up with Weidner, his co-worker at Whole Foods, and then brought on Curran, who Brown knew from the punk ska outfit Evil Empire.

The idea was to bring together musicians with varied experience and give the project a punk, hip-hop stamp.

"I've played in a punk band and in a progressive rock band, but never in a hip-hop band. This gives me opportunities to expand and use jazz or folk or something bluesy, and it all fits," Weidner explains. "There's a lot more balance than in a rock band. In a rock band, it's either all guitar solos, or it's all drums, or it's all screaming. With our songs, each of us has a part that we hold true."

While Agents of Change may have balance, Curran says their goal is to swing the pendulum of the genre back to social consciousness and activism.

"We all realize that this type of hip-hop is very funky fresh right now, and we have the power to take this and make it something totally our own."

David Jakubiak is a local free-lance writer. - Chicago Sun Times by Dave Jakubiak


Still working on that hot first release.



Formed in 2005, Agents of Change has charted a course of their own by attempting to blend hip-hop, politics, and a DIY punk ethos. Over the years the group has performed hundreds of shows around Chicago and toured nationally; releasing several albums, EPs and mixtapes along the way. As the collective has progressed from a DJ/MC set up to a full band, musical diversity has become a prominent feature of their music, with many songs traversing between hip-hop, punk, reggae, dance, funk and beyond. The message behind the music is simple: educate yourself, challenge authority, demolish injustice and try to have some fun in the process.

Band Members