MEASURED CHAOS
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MEASURED CHAOS

Detroit, MI | Established. Jan 01, 2002 | INDIE

Detroit, MI | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2002
Band Rock Blues

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"'Measured Chaos' Delights Local Audience"

One of the most receptive and enthusiastic local audiences that has ever gathered at the Ontonagon Theater of Performing Arts gave Measured Chaos, a blues band from Detroit, a standing ovation at the conclusion of Thursday's performance.

The four-man band from "down below" consists of Al Jacquez on guitar and vocals, Mark Tomorsky on lead guitar and vocals, Mark Gougeon on bass and vocals and Bill Gordon on drums and vocals. All four have impressive careers in other groups before being fused together in "Measured Chaos."

Leader Al Jacquez also takes a turn at the harmonica and does most of the fronting for the group.

Mark Tomorsky, who plays lead, makes his Fender scream, weep, or wail at his command. He was also featured on several solo passages where he really "rips." Coupled with an air of gyrating showmanship, he was a real crowd pleaser, as indicated by the cheering and whistling. Tomorsky's style is not unlike that of the late Jimi Hendrix, especially the manner in which he literally squeezes the sounds from his instrument. At times the sound is outright painful...how his fingers must hurt after one of his blazing exhibitions of pedagogical skill.

Mark Gougeon, the bass player, works with a traditional 4-string bass guitar. Besides laying down the basis of harmony, he sings a mean vocal line as well and did some interesting duets with leader Al Jacquez.

Drummer Bill Gordon knows where every beat is coming from...he is one of the most fastidious time keepers we have ever listened to...a master rhythm technician who is capable of some remarkable cymbal work as well. When Gordon sets a beat, it is carved in stone and he doesn't vary in the least. As the program progressed, the syncopations became more and more complex, though there were borrowings from swing, rock and R & B all mixed into this group's performance.

In the tune "Crosscut Saw," the audience got quite physical with clapping and swaying and a few leaving their seats to dance in the aisles.

The band played straight through with no intermission, and leader Al Jacquez announced midway that they were going to do some "Low down dirty blues," and then went into "Six Days Of Sinnin'" which contained a real throat ripper vocal by lead singer Al in a style that literally "preached" the blues as in a sermon...Tomorsky provided a recitative style between verses.

At the expense of sounding like a bigot, it is truly surprising to hear 4 white guys, especially 4 white guys from Detroit, performing blues in a real blues style...the blues, after all, is about the pains of life...no pretensions, just raw reality. Blues is a style that is easily related to in this area and the audience clearly felt that they got their money's worth.

The band is tight and coordinated, yet the artists are obviously creating as they perform, with every number a new experience.

After demanding an encore, the band responded with "Fire On The Mountain"...a sort of tone poem, and then took their leave.
Measured Chaos, the first blues band to grace the local theater, passed through Ontonagon on a tour that began at the Oxford Blues Festival in Oxford, Michigan. The band was due to perform in Traverse City on Friday.
- The Ontonagon Herald


"Measured Chaos - LIVE 33 1/3 Records"

Al Jacquez has been a presence on the local Detroit music scene for three decades. Long time music aficionados will remember Savage Grace, the late 60’s rock band for which Jacquez sang and that hit nationally with “All Along The Watchtower.” He’s been active with varying degrees of success since. Bassist Mark Gougeon put in a few years with Mitch Ryder, drummer Bill EG Gordon worked with Grande favorites Frijid Pink, and guitarist extraordinaire Mark Tomorsky has recorded with Little Richard and Billy Preston, among others. The pedigree the band brings to the stage is nearly as impressive as the music.

Recorded live at the Lower Town Grill in Plymouth, (now Hermann’s Olde Town Grill), the mood that Measured Chaos sets here is wholly impressive. A Jacquez original, “Preachin’ The Blues,” opens the set and grabs the live audience by the ears. The mid-tempo boogie showcases Jacquez’s still mighty vocals and Tomorsky’s wicked guitar work. The following version of Willie Dixon’s “You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover” is given a tasty second line treatment. Jacquez’s “Six Days Of Sinnin’ “ (“that’s two days of sinnin’, brother / Ain’t seen a day yet for the Lord”) is a sweet blues that reminds a bit of “Stormy Monday.” Gougeon’s “Night Ridin’ “ has an almost sinister melody over which Jacquez just soars vocally and even scats a bit at the tail. The Jacquez/Erwin tune “Hurt Somebody” is introduced as being “a true story, but I’m not gonna tell you who it’s about.” This is yet another strong vocal effort for Jacquez. “Crosscut Saw” gets a nice reading, with strong rhythm, and the version of “The Thrill Is Gone” allows Tomorsky to stretch, but the band is clearly at their best on the original material. The Jacquez/Wilson-penned “Comin’ Home” is a deep pocket blues that works. The closing cover of “Oh Well” is played close to the vest and elicits an appreciative audience response.

The covers pay the bills, but this is a band that brings original material to the stage that makes me hope that this is a band in it for the long haul.
- Big City Blues Magazine


"Covered By The Blues"

Measured Chaos regroups and keeps going with new recording, appearances

True, Measured Chaos is a blues band. The 14 original tracks on the band's latest CD, "Somewhere Between Detroit & Chicago," are decidedly blues in style and theme. But if the bark is peeled away, the sap that oozes from the Measured Chaos family tree is thick with influences that stem from every root of American music.

Each member's resume reveals the roots' depth, as well as frequent musical intersections. Singer and guitarist Al Jacquez was the frontman for Savage Grace, the legendary progressive/hard rock band from Detroit, before moving on to play lead roles in Guardian Angel, Lightnin', Vantage Point!, Custom Eyes and the Suspects. Lead guitarist Mark Tomorsky formed the After Hours Band and then Vantage Point!, before taking on supporting roles with the Grass Roots, Little Richard and Billy Preston. He and Jacquez were roommates for a while in the 70's.

"When I first moved out of my parents' house, I moved in with Al," said Tomorsky. "He'd just gotten back from Savage Grace, so he was the local rock star."

Bassist Mark Gougeon played with Jacquez in Lightnin' before working with varied music notables like Mitch Ryder, Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Kingbees' Jamie James. Drummer Bill Gordon palyed with Jacquez in the Suspects and has also kept time with the Reflections, Johnny Powers and Carl Perkins.

So blues, the common thread among rock, Motown, rhythm 'n' blues, rockabilly and everything else is both the logical conclusion and progression for Measured Chaos.

"Somewhere Between Detroit & Chicago" is the follow-up to the band's first effort, "Measured Chaos LIVE," the 2003 recording that includes a string of blues covers. But the new release departs from the well traveled path of tried-and-true blues standards.

"We really wanted to have an original album," said Jacquez. "After the first album, we decided this was the direction. Some of the songs needed to be reworked in the lens of 'I write better now, I sing better now, so let's clean them up and do them.' We wanted to say that we have come of age as writers."

Thirteen of the tracks were penned by band members.

"Desperate Measures" was written by Ron Koss, the late Savage Grace guitarist.

"He was such a great guy," Jacquez said. "Out of respect for him, we wanted to put a song of his on the CD."

Perhaps the CD's most powerful song is "Rubin Stacy," a tale about a vigilante victim that Jacquez sings without instrumental accompaniment. He was inspired to write the song after touring the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.

They had an exhibit of postcards of lynchings," Jacquez said. "People actually used to send these postcards to their friends and family. Rubin Stacy was named in the exhibit. I couldn't finish looking at the exhibit, but the first verse and melody were deposited in my head. I like to think that God helps me with some of this stuff."

Jacquez is also fond of the Tomorsky-penned "Bad, Bad Angel," because of its accent on rhythm 'n' blues and Gougeon's New Orleans-styled "Cruisin'," on which Jacquez doesn't sing and instead plays harmonica. In turn, Tomorsky favors a Jacquez composition.

"My honest favorite is "Train Is Comin' Closer," because it's the most (minimalist) thing on there, said Tomorsky, noting that it doesn't include a guitar solo. "I thought that if I touched the song, I'd hurt it. I'm a sap for simple songs like that."

If Measured Chaos appears akin to a mutual admiration society, it's because longtime friendships have bred a respect for each others' talent. And that has certainly helped bridge the geographic gap; Tomorsky lives in Los Angeles while his bandmates live in southeast Michigan.

"It's really good in one way: We've been friends since we were teens, so that's already in place," Tomorsky said of Jacquez. "When we talk on the phone we make really good use of the time. When we were writing songs for the album, we'd send little MP3s of the songs to each other."

So why host a concert at the local Elks Lodge and not some well known blues venue? The answer is also rooted in the past and to the renowned Grande Ballroom in Detroit, where Savage Grace performed several times. Drummer and fellow Grande veteran Jeffrey Vail organized the non-profit "Knights of the Grande," and staged several benefit concerts for needy musicians and their families that featured Grande-schooled rockers, including Jacquez.

In December, Vail died in his Royal Oak home at age 54, leaving behind two teenage boys.

"We did a benefit for Jeffrey's kids at the Elks Lodge shortly after he died, and it was packed," Jacquez said.

For now, Measured Chaos is a quartet as a practical matter. The band plans to tour the Midwest and California with the current lineup, but Jacquez would eventually like to add horns, a keyboard and backup singers.

"My goal is to get back out there again. This isn't a hobby project for me," Jacquez said.

- KEN MARTIN / DAILY TRIBUNE
- The Daily Tribune


"A Masterful Set Of Music"

The 14 songs on "Somewhere Between Detroit & Chicago" range from incendiary blues such as "Livin’ The Dream" to a traditional tune, "Whiskey Blues." An unusual and important a cappella track entitled "Rubin Stacy" features singer Al Jacquez. This one stirs deep and dark emotions relating a story of the mob murder of a young black man. No love songs here, these are stories of hard times, fast times and insincere relationships. The music will move you and push you to boogie down. The collection is close to perfect in musicianship, recording technique and mastering. "Somewhere Between Detroit & Chicago" is a masterful set of music by veteran and talented musicians. This one should open the door for the world to take notice of Measured Chaos.

-WOLFGANG SPIDER / DETROIT BLUES NEWS

- Detroit Blues News


"Measured Chaos Songs In Feature Film"

Two songs from Measured Chaos' "Somewhere Between Detroit & Chicago" CD will be featured in the soon to be released romantic action comedy "Double Duty" starring Mimi Lesseos and Tom Sizemore.
In this funny, action-packed film Mimi stars as a hardcore ex-marine trying to adjust to civilian life and discover her feminine side, with the help of her best friend. Many obstacles are thrown in her path, with hilarious results. Lesseos and Sizemore make a dynamic duo, touching our hearts while keeping us laughing from start to finish, and making "Double Duty" double the fun.

The well-known Tom Sizemore of "Saving Private Ryan" and "Black Hawk Down" plays a departure role as Mimi’s metrosexual love interest. Mimi states "People will love him as this lovely, good-looking, clean smelling guy with clean fingernails.”

Known worldwide by her fighting name, “Magnificent Mimi,” Lesseos was Hilary Swank’s stuntwoman in Million Dollar Baby, and star and fight choreographer in Streets of Rage. This “female Jackie Chan” contributed her knockout talent as a hilarious actress, champion martial artist, producer and screenwriter of the film.

Fellow striking talent include the always beautiful Connie Stevens; 1970’s sexpot Karen Black (Five Easy Pieces); Morgan Freeman’s talented son, Alphonso Freeman (The Bucket List, The Shawshank Redmption); and Wayne Bauer (Streets of Rage) on stunts. Directed by Stephen Eckelberry, Karen Black’s talented husband.

The Measured Chaos song "Bad, Bad Angel" will be featured during the opening credits, and "Living the Dream" will be heard in the body of the film.

- Double Duty Films


Discography

"Measured Chaos - LIVE" 33 1/3 Records
"Somewhere Between Detroit & Chicago" 33 1/3 Records
"Blues, Soul & Rock n Roll" 33 1/3 Records

Photos

Bio

All the band members sing lead and are accomplished professional players and songwriters. Some of their work can be heard on commercials, film and television.

Singer Al Jacquez, guitarist Mark Tomorsky, and bassist Mark Gougeon have enjoyed impressive musical careers. A sample of their collective credits include; Mark Lindsay, Little Richard, John Mellencamp, Mitch Ryder, Billy Preston, Savage Grace, Guardian Angel, Jamie James, and Lightnin'.

Live shows by the Detroit based quartet are a powerful reminder that connecting with an audience is the most important part of any performance. Feet start tapping, heads nod in time and dancers hit the floor as their groove heats up and the songs take off.

Measured Chaos has been touring since 2003, with 3 CDs and countless miles logged. They have been delighting audiences from 8 to 80 in clubs, theaters, and festivals. 

Band Members