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.
Saturday, February 24th, 2018 - Neal and Chrissy traded singing duties at the Chicago Eagles Motorcycle Cub annual banquet in Palos. Special guest Tommy Slab stepped in for Carter on drums and we didn't skip a beat. A number of tunes from the Urban Sprawl days made an appearance including Dead Flowers, Wild Night, and Folsom Prison Blues. Pride and Joy and Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door just might make the regular rotation. Thanks to the Chicago Eagles for their fantastic hospitality.
Saturday, January 27th, 2018 - Our third trip to Horn's & Halos and our first time playing indoors. We had a fantastic time with a bunch of eager music fans dancing up a storm.
Sunday, January, 2018 - We were honored to kick off the Joint Forces Charity Concert at Joe’s Live in Rosemont. The proceeds went to the Illinois chapter of Tribute To The Troops and the Chicago Blackhawks Warriors. Our mission was to raise funds for disabled veterans and gold star families.
The Chicago Blackhawks Warriors where founded in 2015 in conjunction with USA Disabled Hockey to give our injured military members and veterans the opportunity to play hockey in an environment suited to their needs. The program trains them in the skills needed to use hockey as a rehabilitation tool to overcome physical and mental disabilities sustained in their service to our nation.
We’ll kicked off the festivities followed by Gina Gonzalez and The Wingmen. Gina is also a member of Gary Sinise’s Lt. Dan Band. We are happy to report that we raised an additional $100 for the charity with our #ckkoozie Can Cooler Challenge. For once, our challenge wasn’t a cheap gimmick, but it actually raised funds for the families that protect and serve this great country.
With 30 gigs in 23 different venues, we had a fantastic 2017! We also launched our Can Cooler Challenge, #ckkoozie Grab a cooler at our next gig! Thanks to all the venues, friends and family for supporting us. We look forward to an even bigger 2018!
Saturday December 30th, 2017 - We wrapped a fantastic year at one of our hometown pubs! Gruben's is always a great supporter of live music.
Friday December 15, 2017 - CK makes a return to Jenny's one of our favorite places!
Friday, November 17th, 2017 - JT's Porch is a great neighborhood pub with a western vibe and a supporter of live music that has supported us over the years dating back to 2009 when guitarist Neal Rudnik performed acoustically. With three encore’s, it is fantastic to perform to patrons with an appreciation of local live music.
Friday, November 3rd, 2017 - With a singles party in full swing, the dance floor saw lots of action! With Ken having obligations in serving our country in The Air Guard, Neal and Kris swapped guitar and bass responsibilities. Mr. Tom Petty's "Listen To Her Heart" made it's first appearance on the setlist.