The Pillars of Society
Gig Seeker Pro

The Pillars of Society


Band Rock Americana


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Profile from Whatzup"

By Kris Graft 9/8/05

Good things just kind of happen to the Mooncrikets. That’s not to say that nearly two decades of preparation has had nothing to do with their success, but serendipity is a theme the band members are growing more and more familiar with.

For example, when the Mooncrikets took the stage for the whatzup Battle of the Bands finals, they weren’t even supposed to be there. They never personally signed up.

“We didn’t even enter that thing,” said frontman Mark Burris. “Jeff Britton [president of the Mooncriket’s label, Monkey Wings Records] entered us. He called me up one day and said, ‘Hey, you know, you guys are gonna kill me. I entered you guys in the battle of the bands.’ We were like, ‘Oh God, we don’t want to do this.’ I mean, we’re old, you have to do it on a weeknight, we have to work and it’s past our bedtime. Plus the ‘battle’... that just sounds too harsh. I mean we’re talking about songs, not submachine guns and [stuff].”

Whether or not the six-person band wanted to play the battle, they did. And they kept advancing by scoring high judges’ marks, gaining enough crowd votes and overcoming the mind-altering side-effects of a root canal work during semifinal night. When it was all over, the Mooncrikets found themselves placing fourth overall, winning a nice little prize package with their brand of “intelligent hillbilly rock.” Burris seemed flabbergasted that they made it as far as they did, especially when they were going up against other bands that brought out crowds that weren’t exactly in their target baby-boomer demographic. He did, however, have a theory as to why they got to the finals.

“I’m going to be honest with you. Hell no, we couldn’t compete ... people our age aren’t going to go out there on a weeknight and watch us play 30 minutes. So, what I think happened was that we got a lot of second-place votes, because they didn’t care about us, as long as [the band they came to support] beat the other guys.”

Rockin’ with a Purpose

Another theory is that they’re actually extremely talented and write music that transcends age and, to a certain degree, musical preference. Their sound, inspired mainly by folk, southern, and blues rock of the 60s and 70s, reflects a definite political standpoint, as well as the maturity of the group, whose average age is about 20 years greater than their finalist counterparts. Heck, the Mooncrikets originally formed when many of the other finalists were still watching Saturday morning cartoons. That’s not to say that the Mooncrikets are the folk rock equivalent of a geriatric bridge club. The band manages to walk a line with wisdom on one side and energetic, party rock on the other. The smallish stage at Columbia Street had a hard time containing the physical momentum that the six-person group was building as they played their set during the finals. When Burris breaks out the washboard bib, you know it’s all over.

Along with an occasional washboard, an accordion, rich harmonies and three guitars all play a role in texturing their music. Guitarists Devron Conroy, Bill Bremer and Kerry Rutherford complement each other beautifully, with a double-electric (Conroy and Bremer) and single acoustic (Rutherford) configuration. All the while, bassist Rich Schwartz and drummer Jerry Miller lay down the foundation with lines that range from straightforward blues rock to funkified syncopations to restrained soft rock.

Song lyrics often showcase a hefty criticism of society and the government (although they’ve only been called “commies” on stage once). Their 2003 release, Another Failed Experiment, features songs like “The Great Divide”: “Here is a toast, to those who have the most / On this side of the great divide. / Here’s to the men with streets named after them / Sellin’ out on the extra mile. / I’m just a man who does not understand /What it takes to be a millionaire. / Don’t cry to me about responsibility / We will be celebrating when you’re gone.” From the same album, “Pass Me a Joint” challenges the Supreme Court and the outlawing of marijuana in the context of a friend who wished to use it for medicinal purposes, and later died of the cancer that was ailing him.

A Fateful Finger

The Mooncrikets’ streak of serendipity gets much stranger than a simple battle of the bands. In fact, their recent encounter with fortune is downright weird. In the spring of 2004, Burris pulled out a copy of The Songwriter’s Market, a book that lists the contact information for hundreds of labels and producers, along with their music submission guidelines. He then closed his eyes, randomly opened the book, and placed his finger on Hit or Myth Production’, contact: Scott Mathews. Figuring his scientific method of selection was worth the cost of postage, Burris sent off an unsolicited CD.

At the time, Burris had no idea that his arbitrary selection was in fact a legendary producer who has worked with the likes of Johnny Cash, Mick Jagger, Eric - WHATZUP.COM

"CD Review: Short Stories"

Short Stories
Pillars of Society
by Jason Hoffman

Sometimes you just have to make a change. It could be your job or your tire or even renaming your band from The Mooncrikets to The Pillars of Society. The reason for this last change is shrouded in mystery, but rest assured, the band you've known and loved for nearly two decades is still the same gaggle of lovable (and socially conscious) goofballs, albeit in a slightly more rural format. Another change, and this one's a biggie, is that their new album, Short Stories, was produced by Grammy-winning producer Scott Mathews – a modest man who has also produced, recorded, or performed with such modest artists as Johnny Cash, Eric Clapton, The Beach Boys, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, John Lee Hooker and Greg Giblet (some guy from Toledo who didn't get much airplay).

The Pillars start off their stories with the modern folk tone of "Information Highway," a rambling song built on peppy acoustic guitars, harmonica and an urgent vocal tone hammering humorous lyrics like "Stranded on the information highway / With a lousy two dollars in change."

The funny and sweet "You used to love me like cornbread and butter / Until things turned to sh** between you and my mother" begins the stomp rocker "Cornbread and Butter." "Attitude," which was earlier recorded as the Mooncrikets, bears heavier guitars that present the rough side of a cast of seedy characters who hide their true character behind good deeds before plunging into a mighty catchy oft-repeated harmonized chorus of "Hey man, it's your attitude." More rock is to be found in the breakneck pace of "In The Meantime," a tumbling mixture of acoustic and electric instruments with organs that are seemingly propelled by adrenaline and moonshine.

The Pillars show a quieter side on "Great Divide," another Mooncrikets song. Here the band softly offers up a mock toast to the successful business people who surely sold out to get to where they are. Lyrics such as "Here's to the ass that only flies first class" against lush harmonies, eventually blasting into an aggressive musical passage before reverting back to a quiet note. "Suburbs" is another jab at social classes, this one bearing an endearing Ed's Redeeming Qualities meets Possum Trot Orchestra vibe that brings a smile to your face as you sing along with the harmonic ending.

"Junior Johnson" is a sad tale about losing money to the title character who went to buy some weed and never returned, opening with "You might think that I am toasted / But I'm really not this time" delivered in a friendly, musically unmusical manner that is almost like Ed's Redeeming Qualities reformed as a rockier, stonier outfit. Bluegrass makes resurgence in "Gleason's Pond" as fiddle and banjo present a raucous hootenanny filled with colorful characters that like to swim in the buff. Banjo, mandolin, twangy vocals, solid harmonies and shaky theology make the country-folk "Let Me In" a most enjoyable listen, while the preceding "Old Charlie" is a dark, moody, cautionary tale ("Charlie's damn lucky he's barely alive / which is the price of doing business with another man's wife") that could have sprung from the mind of John Minton. For a change of pace there's "Katie," a relaxed, resigned ballad comprised of piano and melodic female background vocals.

While the band changed their name and moved slightly deeper into roots rock, what hasn't changed is their surgically precise musicianship and top notch songwriting. The band has more members than Woodburn has residents, and everyone plays multiple instruments – from cowbell to mandolin to the usual guitars and drums (listing them all would surely leave someone or some instrument out, and I really don't want to cheese off the woodwinds). Suffice it to say that The Pillars of Society have packed some amazing guitar tones (and gee-golly-spiffy solos), tight pocket rhythms and snazzy strumming into their Short Stories. So gather up some friends, tell them to bring some brew and sit back and enjoy a batch of musically beautiful stories that only The Pillars of Society could tell.

More information is available at

Copyright 2006 Ad Media Inc.

"CD Review: Another Failed Experiment"

Another Failed Experiment
The Mooncrikets
by Jason Hoffman

The Mooncrikets have a long and raucous history in Fort Wayne, and it’s no doubt that many whatzup readers have partied with members of this band long into the night. They recently took a break from their bacchanalian celebrations to record Another Failed Experiment, their third album.

The festivities kick off with an awe-struck wow! in the form of “Ashamed,” a song seemingly recorded at midnight and reveling in hushed tones that ignite into a fury of self-loathing. “The Great Divide” likewise starts with mellow acoustic guitars, adding harmonica and rich vocal harmonies (led by Mark Burris) on the verse and a gentle melody before stomping into overdrive with big drums and sizzling guitars for a brief romp before returning to the calm. The funky gospel rock of “Bowl Full of Cheerios” opens with the soulful vocals of Dee Wyatt before bassist Richard Schwartz takes a turn at the mic, adding nice variety to the sound of this mover and shaker. “Markerstone,” is also written by Schwartz, and, as with most things done by us bass players, it is just a bit off the beaten path, but only so much that it adds to the appeal with two-part vocal harmonies in the verse and intriguing pacing. The closing track, “Used to Care,” features a nice chord progression and transparent strumming that is quite appropriate for this sadly humorous country song.

Although “Nelson Rockefeller” mentions the bombing of the World Trade Center, it was written before the tragic events of 9/11 and refers to the events of the first bombing. As such, it adds to the somber opening tone and lyrics of “I don’t want to die like Elvis.” As the song is about death and not wanting to go out in a sordid tabloid fashion, the guitars are given a very thin, lifeless tone during the portions where the song kicks into high gear, lending an eerie edge and urgency. Immediately following is “Attitude,” a song whose high point are lyrics like “Sometimes you’re the man who works late so he can bang the cleaning lady” and “You’ve got a diamond mind / and a cubic zirconium heart,” all held together perfectly by drummer Justin Gillespie. “This Town” is a fun bar sing-along tune, sporting plucky lines like “You can’t get drunk in this town” and “You can’t get stoned in this town,” backed by mandolin, a cheery melody and backing vocals that sound like boisterous muppets. Dedicated to a victim of cancer and the Supreme Court, “Pass Me A Joint” bears a touching melody, extremely nice vocal harmonies and lines such as “I don’t understand how you can condemn something you’ve never tried.” Although I once had a professor who would have pounced upon such lyrics as being based on laughably faulty logic, I don’t suppose Mr. Huff spends his evenings in smoky bars listening to original music.

Once again Monastic Chambers has excelled in creating a fully professional sound experience. Each song is clear as a bell, allowing you to enjoy the many melodic guitar solos by Devron Conroy, the tight rhythm section and Burris’ snappy vocals. Hop on over to your local Wooden Nickel for a taste of this legendary Fort Wayne favorite.

Copyright 2004 Ad Media Inc.


1. Corn (released under the band named “The Mooncrikets”)
2. Unreproachable Breach of Etiquette (released under the band named “The Mooncrikets”)
3. Another Failed Experiment (released under the band named “The Mooncrikets”)
4. Short Stories (soon to be released—under the band named “The Pillars of Society”)


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Pillars of Society are 5 guys who grew up in Indiana in the 60's and 70's.
Influenced by the social and political climate of the times, their
music reflects the current state of affairs.
"They're extremely talented, and write music that transcends age, and
to a certain degree, musical preference".
Slightly left of center, their songs are well crafted with down to
earth honesty, and have a sound steeped in tradition, from
blues-based rock to bluegrass on steroids, with eye-opening lyrics.
Their live show blends all of these elements, along with
tongue-in-cheek humor and a bit of sarcasm, into one big rockin' good
party for all.
The production of Grammy award winning Scott Mathews on their latest
record, "Short Stories", creates a sound that paints a universal
Americana canvas.
The POS firmly believes that there are plenty of people out there who
can relate to what they are working hard to say, and that the
marketplace will provide them an opportunity to be heard.
The Pillars prove there's more than corn in Indiana.