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Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2006 | MAJOR

Chicago, Illinois, United States | MAJOR
Established on Jan, 2006
Band Alternative Rock




"Ideamen - ...Progress"

Ideamen - ...Progress

Coming from somewhere in between the frenetic musical wanderings of Faith No More and the improvisational zaniness of "Weird Al" Yankovic comes Chicago's Ideamen with ...Progress.

"Vivid" starts things off with a particularly impassioned bit of FNM mania. "Add One" echoes some of the same sentiment, along with a borderline creepiness that makes the whole track strangely melancholy and sets it apart from the rest of the disc for its emotiveness.

Ideamen infuse a vast array of secondary sounds into their tunes as well. "Know the Dance" changes things up a bit with a cool bit of island breeziness, with just a glimpse of the simmering volcano in the jungles behind while "Straight Shooter" borders on a bluegrass approach.

"Cavity" may be the most straightforward track, all things being relative, playing largely as a prog rock-infused version of Faith No More, along the lines of "Surprise! You're Dead!".

Each track on this too-short offering stands on its own as something wholly new. Each is memorable in its own right,while still maintaining an impressive sort of cadence with the rest of the disc. If the Ideamen can flesh this foundation out into a full-blown CD offering then, well, that would be progress indeed.

Larry "LarryMac" McCloskey - Larry "LarryMac" McCloskey ~

"Demo2DeRo: Ideamen"

By Jim DeRogatis on October 13, 2009 9:44 AM

Though they remain resolutely unfashionable, a number of impressive groups in the Chicago underground are devoted to forwarding the progressive-rock traditions of the '70s, including the instrumental virtuosity and musical eclecticism, with hints of more modern and metallic sounds ala Coheed and Cambria or System of a Down. To this list we can now add the South Side quintet Ideamen.

Formed in 2006 and comprised of lead vocalist Dave Solar, keyboardist Tim Swanson, bassist Mark Vasquez, guitarist Dan Figurell and drummer Phil Goodrich, Ideamen made their recorded debut with a strong five-song EP called "Progress." Now, they've followed that up with an even more melodic, precisely arranged and gleefully inventive album entitled "May You Live in Interesting Times," to be released next week by the Los Angeles indie label Rotten Records.
If the vocals can become a bit helium-squeaky at times--hardly a new problem in prog (see also: Jon Anderson of Yes and the guys in Supertramp)--the melodies and rhythms are powerful enough to hold your interest through all the time changes and unexpected detours.

These sounds can be sampled online at, you can read more about the group at and you can catch it onstage at the Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, during a combination CD release show and Halloween Extravaganza starting at 8 p.m. on Oct. 30.
Categories: * Demo2DeRo

- Jim DeRogatis

"Progress [EP] by Ideamen"

After the great Mike Patton and his Mr. Bungle colleagues blazed the trail back in the '90s with their bizarre musical experimentation and genre-shifting weirdness, the eyes of the masses were open. And thus, by the turn of the century, a new scene of weirdness had arisen, and it had become quite the underground cult "in-thing" to be 'a bit weird'.

Ideamen are one of the latest bands to emerge from this primordial soup of insanity. Formed in 2006 by a group of Chicago madmen, Ideamen present this first release in June of 2007. The EP begins solidly enough, with the opening track "Vivid" setting the tone well for the coming ride, as well as establishing a similarity with Dog Fashion Disco and fellow Chicago band Tub Ring. "Vivid" is one of the highlights of the album, and one of the more conventional rock-ish tracks. "Know the Dance" then blends traditional Spanish music with modern metal music. The third track, "Cavity", however, manages to swiftly pick things up again, with the excellent keyboard work here being a particular highlight.

In any case, Progress is definately a good, solid EP, and certainly a first release that even the best of bands could be proud of. The Ideamen are certainly a band to keep an eye on and to expect great things from in future.

Review by Annonymous,
from Germany
- Posted on: 8/16/07

"The Illiana Music Review"

Ideamen's EP Progress hits you with a fresh music feel from the opening track "Vivid". Very artsy vocals, and arrangements set this band apart. The 2nd track "Know the Dance" has a killer salsa groove, and then takes a turn to a trippy, moody feel, with great piano and guitar riffs. Not sure if Ideamen were shooting for a concept, as it feels like "Progress" tells a story. Much thought here on "Progress", the track "Cavity" flows with intelligent fury, well done. You could easily hear that on XM, or modern rock radio.

Before I looked at the band's influences I felt the music to be very dramatic, theatrical, without the visual. I feel the Queen influence; I feel the Faith No More influence and Bowie as well. And they pull it off, thoughtful lyrics, great melodic harmonies, and infectious arrangements, make this release a winner.

Lars Van Heineken - Lars Van Heineken

"Cities/Chicago and Reviews/Live"

Fusing together a confounding mix of metal, prog, salsa, and you-name-it is not the recipe for distinctness a lot of bands expect it to be. “We don’t really sound like anything else out there,” is, 9 times out of 10, a blatant lie from bands who cite belligerently divergent influences; a harbinger of indecisiveness more than breadth.

Not so with Ideamen. Far better than jerking themselves off with what they have Frankenstein’d from across the rock spectrum, each song is another, “Why didn’t I think of that first?” moment for songwriters listening in. Catchy as hell too, even when they’re shredding balloons with a wood chipper. ‘Know the Dance’, for example, makes you wonder why salsa and shred-metal haven’t been partnered before as a matter of course.

The Ideamen ep Progress, from the folks that also brought you Soulvasq, Duct Tape Mustache, and Dog Fashion Disco, collects five tracks too accessible to go unnoticed, and too urgent to be disregarded. The juxtaposition of styles and frequent dynamic shifts court being a little too abrupt, but maintain a giddy arc that neither burns slow, nor too hot.

The Chicago-based quintet could have made simpler songs to effectively convey its lyrical message, but the energy of Dave Solar’s vocals (surpassed only by his rubbery, comfortably awkward stage presence), and the piano and synth-heavy arrangements do the perfect job of conveying the feeling of watching priests and politicians hurl poo at each other. ‘Cavity’ is especially effective at creating a cartoony space that’s far from goofy, and mixing kazoos and stoner-rock riffs don’t sully the keen lyrics, but give phrases like, “If you're not with us you're against us,” the appropriate absurdity they deserve for being spoken earnestly by humorless pundits.

A few jaded listeners might not like how accessible AND good are Ideamen, because a band with such a penchant for the complex should be spending their time bending minds and to hell with tapping toes, right? Well, who better to rattle a few cages than an aggressive dance band from somewhere between hell and Wally World?

Scott Borchert
Chicago Cities and Reviews/Live - Scott Borchert

"Ideamen Review"

Ideamen+Duct Tape Mustache LPs (avant-garde En garde)
Weirdos, hands up! I prepared some juicy stuffs for you. I presumed you like tUB rING, Polkadot Cadaver, Dog Fashion Disco and Foxy Shazam. Therefore allow me to introduce these two groups. Duct Tape Mustache formed earlier, released two albums and broke up. Sad but, after them Ideamen formed. This happened in 2006.

The latter one combines a lot of things into a coherent, easy to listen music. Salsa, beatbox, saxofone, RATM-like breakdown, neoclassical keyboard-tunes, county etc. So jump and have fun!

Merrie Melodies - Merrie Melodies Blog

"May You Live In Interesting Times - CD (Rotten Records)"

Rotten Records has been all over the place Punk, Indie, Metal and just down right avant. I fucking love Ideamen!!! If you can mix 4 of my fave bands into one band you have this in Ideamen. You have Faith No More, Tub Ring, Polka Dot Cadaver and Kings X . There are so many more styles then this too ( Ben folds five comes to mind ) but Ideamen mix Pop, Metal, Jazz, shoegazer, electro, blues and post rock elements all into one band that just blows my mind. This band should be huge they should rule the world but as we all know band this fantastic all just get cult following and get pick apart by a watered down version of the similar idea and they sell 10,000,000 CD's. My case and post is Dog Disco Fashion a band that was so amazing and never broke through. Rotten Records you need to get this to commercial radio and videos on M2 and get them to play on shows like Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon.... Mark my words this band could be the saviors of the indie music scene they are just that god damn good..... I'm floored by this band a must own or your missing out on our generation of the Beatles or Beach boys.... - Absolute Zero Media

"4.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing and Original, November 1, 2009"

First, download the Progress EP and buy this CD. I pre-ordered as quick as I could to receive a signed poster and CD from the band. Thanks guys:) This is an excellent album as it draws from many of the bands influences. I can hear the collaboration of every band member to make an interesting but unique style and sound. Lets look at some of the tracks.

1. Interesting Times - (Rating 5) The first track starts off up beat with the signature Ideamen harmonies. "Another day has gone by" kinda describes how I feel these days. Solid track

2. Emergency - (Rating 3) A little slower tempo but has a good feel to it with piano and harmonies blending to form a mellow but peaceful sound. Good track overall.

3. The Rest - (Rating 4) Starts off fading in with harmonies and comes in with cool time change. I particularly loved the backround harmonies during "Blame it on the rest". Phil shows some of his awesome drumming I remember from back in the day with his ghost rolls and quick high hat work. Ahh, I love that sound.

4. Sunshine - (Rating 3) Starts off with a real solid rock beat. You can feel that kick drum instantly. Great track very relaxing track and shows off the main vocals and harmonies.

5. Horse's Head - (Rating 5) Starts off with feedback then blasts off with some awesome dual vocals. This is by far one of my favorites and I think is a highlight of the album. This track has it all. Good tempo, harmonies, heavier guitar and then a change midway through with some acapella accented by drums and guitar. Great arrangement on this track.

6. Incident - (Rating 4) Slow tempoed but very good sounding with the drums piano and harmonies blending well from beginning to end.

7. Collectibles - (Rating 4) Starts off with some great piano work and then the verse kicks in. Great harmonies with great lyrics on this one.

8. Uneventful Day - (Rating 4) The one thing that sticks out about this track is how complex it is. There are alot of pleasent changes from beginning to end.

9. No thought - (Rating 5) Starts off with guitar work leading in with drums. Vocals trade off in the verse has great sound. I simply love the track.

10. Paper Goose - (Rating 3) I personally did not care for this track that much. Could be the swing feel to it. I dunno the track is ok. I like the key bashing at the end on the piano.

11. Quares - (Rating 4) Starts off with some great piano and drum work. Guitars could be heavier in the verse but the pre-chorus makes up for it. Great bass playing on this track.

12. Your Signature here X_____ - (Rating 5) Starts off with great drum and piano work and continues through the whole track. The chorus is very catchy. Great track.

(Overall Rating - 4.08)

Overall this cd has some great elements for Ideamen's first CD debut. All of these guys are very talented and it shows throughout the CD. It has a little something for everyone and im sure many people can relate to it in some way. I look forward to hearing more from the band and hope to see Mark and Phil again someday.
Comment Comment | Permalink | Was this review helpful to you? Yes No (Report this) - By Oz Black "Xerus" (Chicago) - See all my reviews

"Ideamen - May You Live In Interesting Times Rotten Records"

file under Different metal

Ideamen - May You Live In Interesting TimesEvil Dr. Smith: It must be my sick and twisted mind, but I putted the emphasis of the band name on the wrong syllable and pronounced it for quite a while as ‘Idi Amin’. Since this Chicago-based band combines the melodic elements of Faith No More and the vocal melody lines of System Of A Down, and therefore doesn’t follow the footsteps of other Faith No More-adepts like Dog Fashion Disco, Tub Ring and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum who are especially interested in the crazy and fucked-up parts of Faith No More (and Mr. Bungle), I don’t think that the five band members will agree with my little word twist, and prefer that the band name will be associated with ‘men with ideas’.

At first I was a little disappointed in their method of recreating the Faith No More sound. I missed the unsuspected, the craziness and the daring elements. No way we deal here with “idea men”, it’s just a copycat of other men’s innovative fame. Nevertheless, slowly but surely I started to appreciate the songs more and more. The catchy melodies, the good singer and, let’s be honest, the enormous amount of hit potential of almost every song. This album swings like motherfucker! Strange that I didn’t notice this immediately. It must be my bony joints and stiff muscles… And let’s not forget, even Faith No More creates some horrid songs (‘We Care A Lot’ en de cover ‘Easy’ anyone?), while every song on Ideamen’s debut has something special, and reveals by closer hearing more and more interesting arrangements, funny and ingenious music tricks and beautiful piano work.

From the opening song ‘Interesting Times’, via the Serj Tankian-kinda sung ‘The Rest’ and the adorable swinging ‘Uneventful Day’ (look at the YouTube clip here below with the magnificent animation from Alex Budovsky) to the subtle epic final song ‘Your Signature Here’: every song on the album can be released on single and can be an alternative hit. Quite an achievement for a debut album, so nothing but compliments for these ex-members of Duct Tape Mustache and Soulvasq. The uplifting ‘Sunshine’ is even a bit Beatlesque in a way that Bigelf likes to do. Due to the accessible character and smooth production the material isn’t the biggest challenge for ear and brain, and also the Faith No More and SoaD references are too obvious to give the band a unique identity, but rarely I’ve heard a band this enslaving and convincing by reusing Mike Pattons most commercial heydays. Even a lot more inspired than Patton & Co themselves during their last reunion tour.

Evil Dr. Smith diagnoses: 82/100 (details) -


" Progress " ~ (Hole In The Plot Productions) May 27th 2007
" May You Live In Interesting Times " ~ (Rotten Records) October 27th 2009
" Retro-Vertigoid-Android " 2010 unofficially released Cover / Single



Ideamen is releasing their new album Trained When We're Young on Rotten Records, scheduled for Friday, August 25th 2017.  This long awaited release continues to carry the bands signature sound laid down in previous albums May You Live In Interesting Times and Schemata while exploring a bit broader musical path & making it their own.  The overall vibe of Trained When We're Young is a vibrant blend of bi-polarism, from the dark hallways of "Cold As February" to the abject giddiness of "This Message", the stoner rock space anthem-ness of "Beg For A Plea" to "Rainy Days" with a laid back sound sopping wet & laying in a puddle somewhere on Abbey Road.  Whether or not you are familiar with Ideamen, you will appreciate the alternatively dreamy yet crunchy guitars, precise explosions of drums, finely crafted keyboard melodies, gritty driving bass, and beautifully arranged and layered vocal harmonies.

Ideamen hails from Chicago Illinois, formed in 2007 by Tim Swanson (Keyboards and Vocals), Mark Vasquez (Bass), Dave Solar (Vocals) and Phil Goodrich (Drums), and have since added Phil Miller and Greg Millikan (Guitars).  Their first EP Progress was well received by fans and critics around the world with its unique blend of Classical, Punk, and Salsa.  The success of the initial release gave Ideamen enough momentum to sign on with Rotten Records in 2009, releasing their first full length album May You Live In Interesting Times.  It picked up where Progress left off, taking a Queen inspired approach to the vocal production that would ultimately help shape Ideamens sound.  Schemata, their second album on Rotten released in 2014, encapsulated a mood darker than its predecessor, with reoccurring melodies infused with a tone of hopelessness peppered brilliantly throughout this masterpiece.

Ideamen has sold albums around the world and shared the stage with such artists as Foxy Shazam, Tub-Ring, Green Jelly, Psychostick and Civil Twilight.  The fate of the world may look bleak, but Ideamen will be carrying a torch & touring on the release of Trained When We're Young throughout 2017.

Trained When We're Young Track list:
Deck Of Cards
Beg For A Plea
Rainy Days
Cold As February
Fall From Grace
Frantic Avenue
This Message
Confidence Shattered
Right On
An Unreliable Historian

Band Members