|The Gold Web is Brian Selke, aka Dr. Weed, from left; Max Perenchio, aka Silver Wizard; Rich Lombardo, aka Goldilox; and Jake Serek, aka St. Snake. (Courtesy of The Gold Web)|
Art is more important than ever for Chicago musicians.
Just ask Max Perenchio of The Gold Web. The glam rock project may seem like a cultural throwback in a city filled with generic garage rock bands, but Perenchio said the group has greater cultural, social and political goals than its appearance might suggest.
The transition from traditional rock band to glam rock was a quick one for the group. After touring with classic glam rock band Kiss in a different band, Perenchio began incorporating costumes and other extravagant looks into his aesthetic, adopting a character (Silver Wizard) in the process. Other members of The Gold Web followed suit.
"It turned the whole band experience into a ritual where every single show, you're putting on 9-inch platforms and wigs and makeup," he said. "There's something about this energy where you can kind of be whoever you want to be, even if it's just for one night."
And the look has proved to be a big hit within the local rock community. The band continues to amass fans by essentially creating a new world for audiences, who are able to step out of real life and into The Gold Web's bright, shimmery, fantastical world.
But it's not a total escape, something Perenchio emphasized when describing the work and goals of the group. As the band's leader, Perenchio feels a responsibility to create art that is as inclusive and welcoming as possible in a cultural and political time that he says may threaten the livelihood of many young people in this country.
"You can feel the difference now more than ever," he said. "People want to celebrate the uniqueness of each other, and we want to celebrate the inclusion of the Chicago community."
Perenchio said you can feel the difference in recent local shows. Something negative and damaging has taken hold of the world, he said, and now he believes live shows hold a special purpose for enlightening and uplifting their audiences.
"Shows are strongholds of dissent and subversion," Perenchio said. "If there's any attitude we're putting the pedal to the metal to going forward, it's that feeling of inclusion, of joy, of love."
This attitude is not that different from the band's pre-election ideals. For Perenchio, their belief in radical inclusion is a reflection of glam rock's storied history. There are few genres of music that allow for experimentation both with the appearance and lyrical content from its creators. And audiences also feel empowered to dress and act in a way that makes them feel most comfortable.
"There's a sense of fluidity to (glam rock) and an inherent sense of universal human acceptance that flies in the face of the rest of the scumbag clown car," he said. "It creates an environment of inclusion that we need an aggressive amount of today."
In 2016, the group released its latest album, "Natural Born Mystic," a smart collection of catchy glam-electro ear worms that recalls the contemporary psychedelic grooves of bands like Tame Impala and MGMT. Later this spring, The Gold Web will release its next album, "Acidchrist Superspice and the Candyboys." Perenchio described it as a "glam rock protest album" about the new presidency.
Lyrics on the album were written after the 2016 presidential election, with most of the grooves and melodies crafted right before it. If the last eight years were a means of exploring your imagination, Perenchio believes now is a time for creatives to mix their politics with their art. "What else could anyone be protesting now?" he asked. "I can't imagine any creative person, any empathetic person not protesting with their art right now."
Julious, Britt. "The Gold Web enlivens Chicago glam rock." Chicagotribune.com. February 09, 2017. Accessed February 12, 2017. http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/ct-chicago-music-local-sounds-ott-0210-20170207-story.html.