JW Hollsteins

JW Hollsteins

November 9th, 2018 - The band rocked out three sets in their return to JW Hollsteins! Check out the photos from good friend, Andrew Purcell:

Franklins Public House

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018 – Chrissy and Neal where back at it, this time with Carter on bass for the band’s first trip to Franklins Public House in Palos Heights.  Wonderwall and Drink a Beer made first appearances in the set.  

 Chrissy, Neal and Carter at Franklins Public House

Chrissy, Neal and Carter at Franklins Public House

 Chrissy, Neal and Carter at Franklins Public House

Chrissy, Neal and Carter at Franklins Public House

Girl In The Park

Friday, November 2nd, 2018 - Chrissy and Neal stripped down to some acoustic roots for an intimate performance at Girl In The Park, in Orland Park. This gave the duo an opportunity to perform some material that wouldn’t normally be found on an average CK setlist Including Bittersweet Symphony, Angela, and a soon to be favorite loungy version of Crazy Train.

Neal Rudnik and Chrissy Karl at Girl In The Park in Orland Park

Neal Rudnik and Chrissy Karl at Girl In The Park in Orland Park. Neal is working the kinks out on his newly acquired 12 string guitar…

Backroads Pub and Grill

Saturday, October 27th 2018 -  CK made their first appearance at Backroads Pub in Plainfield since it had changed ownership.  The band was quite familiar as guitarist Neal Rudnik performed acoustically back in the mid 2000’s when the venue was JTodd’s Steakhouse.  The band had performed under various acoustic and full band acts the past eight years when the venue operated as Katie O’Connor’s.  With music fans and patrons in full Halloween getups, the band was eager to make new memories.  New ownership couldn’t have been more accommodating, and the band looks forward to many return trips.


Reilly's Daughter - Oak Lawn

Friday, October 26th 2018 -  The band had the honor to perform MoeMac fest at Reilly Daughter in Oak Lawn.  Friends and family gathered to celebrate the legacy of Maureen McIntyre (aka MoeMac) with all proceeds supporting the Moe Mac Scholarship Fund.  The Fund supports the Loyola University’s John Felice Rome Center and the Maureen McIntyre Memorial Scholarship at Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School.

 The band played two rockin’ sets with Kris and Neal trading bass and lead guitar duties.  The crowd wanted more, so Neal, Chrissy and Carter closed the night with an hour plus acoustic set.   

Beyond Measure Fitness Training

Saturday, October 20th - We had the honor of performing Beyond Measure Fitness Training's 5th Anniversary.  With a backdrop of barbells, mirrors and elliptical machines, the rocked out a solid set for some enthusiastic party goers.


JT's Porch

Friday, September 21st, 2018 - Let's get started with some band drama this past weekend.   The band trailer broke down on the way to JT's Porch on Friday, thus stranding Carter and Ken on the side of construction riddled I355.  Fortunately Kris wasn't too far behind and was able to come to the rescue.  Between the two vehicles they were able to get everything to the gig.  Carter had the trailer towed back to CK headquarters, while mildly amused Chrissy and Neal held the fort down at the venue.  Ultimately, band was able to keep the date and rock JT's. 

Our top video crew was able to capture some video:

C.K. and The Gray covers Tom Petty's "American Girl" Recorded at JT's Porch in Lombard, Illinois on Friday September 21st, 2018. C.K. and The Gray is Chrissy Karl, Carter Szok, Kris Hachmeister, Ken Vercellotti and Neal Rudnik
C.K. and The Gray covers "Give Me One Reason" Recorded at JT's Porch in Lombard, Illinois on Friday September 21st, 2018. C.K. and The Gray is Chrissy Karl, Carter Szok, Kris Hachmeister, Ken Vercellotti and Neal Rudnik

Cruisin’ Into Lockport


Monday, August 27th, 2018 – C.K. and the gang raided Chrissy’s hometown of Lockport for the final Cruisin’ Into Lockport of the summer.  A hot and humid evening with many friends and family in attendance at the park in front of City Hall, the band rocked through a two hour plus set.  With classic cars on display and food and libations from local pubs available, you’d be pressed to find a patch of grass to enjoy the evening.  Highlights included a danceoff with all the children in front of the stage during “Happy” as well as a flashlight/lighter/cellphone wave during “Free Fallin’.”  Every now and then, guitarist Neal Rudnik’s four year old son Austin would run up on stage to give daddy a hug.   

Members of Illinois chapter of Tribute To The Troops and Chicago Blackhawks Warriors were in attendance.  The band has had a quick growing relationship with both organizations both of which support local military members and veterans.  We are proud to be on the bill for our second Tribute to The Troops in Rosemont in early 2019.

The evening also featured the first appearance and honorary sixth member of the group, Roger Chavez  who ran pro audio for the group.  


Psycho Silo Saloon

Saturday, August 18th, 2018 – Our first roadtrip out to Psycho Silo Saloon started a little rocky.  The band piled into Kris’s Explorer Saturday morning, only to experience an uneven load in the trailer once we were on the road.  We maybe made it 5 minutes out of town, until we forced to stop at a local gas station to rearrange the trailer’s weight.  Only thing was in our haste to leave, Carter forgot the trailer padlock keys!  We were running late as it was, couldn’t really travel safely, and couldn’t get into the trailer.   That was until fellow customer at the gas station noticed out plight and offered us his bolt cutters as a solution.  Bam! Off the lock went, rearranged the load and we were back on the road heading west.  

Psycho Silo Saloon is an outdoor destination for motorcyclists.  Built out of an old rundown silo, a large number of patio decks cover nearly acre of real-estate.  Rolling in the dusty lot and parking the trailer next to a huge line of bikes, the bar at the end of Robert Rodriguez’s vampire flick, “From Dusk Till Dawn” came to mind.  All that was missing was some blowtorch fireballs.

With multiple elevation patio decks that were built around lawn art and patio furniture, there was something to look at every turn.  Once we got rockin, the crowd was fantastic!  A mixture of travelers from Quad City/Davenport, Peoria and Chicagoland were definitely digging C.K.’s sound.  Even the newer stuff in the band’s repertoire, like Rihanna’s  “We Found Love” and Pharrell Williams’s “Happy” went over well with some of the veteran bikers in the crowd.  We had plenty blues, country and face melting classic rock guitar to get pretty much everyone’s toe’s tappin’.  We had a first ever line dance started during Steve Earl’s Copperhead Road, so there’s that.  

New Lenox Ladies Night

Friday, August 17th, 2018 – CK’s first ever acoustic performance at the New Lenox Ladies Night had mixed results.  It started great with nearly eighty vendors, and huge pavilion for live music.  Cooperhawk was serving wine for enthused patrons and music fans for a fantastic evening.  That is until the light rain rolled in, followed by a monsoon of pouring rain.  Most vendors eventually took shelter on the bandstand right next to us.  The band never stopped playing and we rolled right through our three plus hours of music until the sun came back out.  The double rainbow in the distance was a highlight, and we even had some brave fans that stuck out the rain in ponchos.

Shorewood's Party In The Park

Thursday, July 27th - 2018 - Another fantastic evening of family oriented entertainment, this time at the pavilion at the Village of Shorewood!

Orland Park’s Market in The Park

Thursday, July 19th 2018 – Rain threated but ultimately never materialized making the evening quite memorable.   While children of all ages where busy with sidewalk chalk in front of the bandstand, the good folks of Orland Park made us feel quite welcome.

Guitarist Neal Rudnik's son, Parker making goofy faces in the foreground

Will County Brewing Company

Sunday, July 15th 2018 – Chrissy and Neal made their first acoustic stop at Will County Brewing Company in Shorewood on a hot and sunny Sunday afternoon.  Kris popped in for an impromptu jam.

Acoustic cover of "Torn" by Chrissy Karl and Kris Hatchmeister of C.K. and The Gray, recorded at Will County Brewing Company in Shorewood, Illinois on Sunday, July 15, 2018

Green Valley Golf Range

Friday July 13th, 2018 - Our first official trip to Green Valley was a success!  They put us right on the putting greens, and we'll be back August 24th!

Sunday In The Park

Sunday, June 24th, 2018 - C.K. was the headliner of Montgomery's annual Sunday In The Park.  A fantastic afternoon of live music.  

Homer Glen Community Fest

Saturday, June 23rd, 2018 - CK made their first appearance at guitarist Neal Rudnik's hometown.  

Homer Glen BBQ

Saturday, June 9th, 2018 - CK raided guitarist Neal Rudnik's backyard for a spectacular summer blowout.  

McBrides Pub

Saturday, April 14th, 2018 – Allow me moment to share a whirlwind of a few months.  Before C.K. and The Gray and Urban Sprawl, Carter and I became friends by frequenting a local pub in Plainfield.  I had the pleasure of performing in an acoustic duo with Tommy Czuprynski, better known as Tommy Tuesday.  Carter actually knew Tommy before moving to Plainfield years before, so we all spent many weeknights hanging out in Plainfield pubs and playing music.  It was Tommy who encouraged and nurtured my love of performing and all those weeknight gigs really planted the seeds for Carter and myself to eventually start our own project.  After about three of four years, Tommy eventually moved into to the city and I started doing solo acoustic with Carter.  A few months later we recruited Ken and all of the sudden we were in the weekend rock band business.

I’ve been in touch Tommy over the years and we even started discussions on a reunion earlier this year.  Unfortunately, Tommy’s health has taken a quick turn and over the past few months, we have learned that Tommy is in a battle for his life.  After being diagnosed with a rare form of appendix cancer, he has had some major complications recovering from surgery.  Last week, Tommy’s heart stopped for nearly 45 minutes, but to the shock of everyone, he was able to recover, and was alert and communicating with hospital staff.  Despite this small miracle, his condition remains stable, but critical. He too weak for additional surgeries and the needed chemotherapy would likely kill him.  Over the weekend the family made a difficult decision and transferred Tommy into hospice care.

In a strange chance of timing, C.K. and the Gray had McBrides Pub on the schedule; the very same pub Tommy and I got our acoustic duo start.  It’s the very pub that we recruited Ken, and is one of the first places C.K. and the Gray performed.   Owners Tracy, Brent and the entire McBrides family have been incredibly supportive of local live music over the years, so it was only natural for them to reach out to us about turning Saturday into a fundraiser for Tommy and his family.  I was able to visit Tommy Saturday morning where we discussed old times and all those great acoustic gigs.  He gave me his blessing to perform Saturday night in his honor.

I opened the show with Tom Petty’s “I won’t Back Down” which was on our regular rotation back in the acoustic days.  I will admit it was difficult to get through parts of the song, and you can catch the patrons helping me sing the final chorus in the video above.  Special thanks to Kris for an impromptu version of the Foo Fighters “My Hero.”

The rest of the evening we rocked a packed house full of birthday parties who were gracious and generous in raising funds.  It was great to see Kristina, Tiffany and Jason, all great friends from the acoustic days.  Music fans where dancing, singing and enjoying a fantastic evening of live music.  I’d like to thank my bandmates Carter, Chrissy, Kris, Ken, the McBrides family and patrons, family of the band, Sara, Sara and Kelly for making Saturday night such a special event.

Please join me in sending thoughts and prayers to Tommy and the entire Czuprynski family.  There is a Facebook page, #TeamTuesday, where Fee, Tommy’s sister regularly posts updates.  It’s been quite an emotional few days, but the power of music has been fantastic.  Tommy himself made me swear to continue doing what we always loved to do; which of course is to continue performing and supporting live local music.  I, along with my brothers and sister of C.K. and The Gray will do exactly that.  God bless Tommy, his family in this difficult time.

With appreciation,

Neal Rudnik

Jenny's Southside Tap

Friday, April 6th, 2018 - C.K. returned to Jenny's, with Kris and Neal filling Bass guitar duties while Ken was out serving the Air Guard.  Broken Halos makes a debut acoustically, check out the video below: 

Chrissy Karl and Neal Rudnik of C.K and the Gray cover Broken Halos. Jenny's South Side Tap, April, 6th 2018
Already Gone from Jenny's Southside Tap in Mokena

Draft Picks

Saturday, March 31st, 2018 -  With a few birthday and going away parties, C.K.'s first trip to Draft Picks was fantastic!