Tutu and the Pirates

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Tutu & the Pirates, Chicago's first anti-lectual sub-urban insult rock band and perhaps even its first punk band, finally gets its due in its first 17-trak LP compilation of demos (from ’77/’78), practice tapes (recorded at their rehearsal loft “The Placenta”), and live material (from ’78). Formed in 1977 by a cross-section of childhood friends and misfits, the Pirates culled inspiration from The Stooges, MC5, and the New York Dolls, as well as 60s garage and the Mothers Of Invention. Quirky and fearless, these guys made it up as they went along, quickly becoming Chicago’s go-to opening band for the Ramones (five times), the Undertones, and the Pretenders. True to punk credo, they lived hard and played harder, and within a few short years the rot set in and the group disbanded. Yet despite their influence in and on the Chicago punk scene, the legendary Midwestern pioneers of punk never managed to release an album until now. A new recording of "Berlin" proves that even three decades later, they can still rock the fuck out.


The original band lineup included:

  • Li'l Richie Speck - vocals
  • Jimmy Socket - guitar
  • Frankie Paradise - bass
  • Mel Torment - "other guitar"
  • TuTu - drums

Subsequent incarnations of the band included Abner Normal replacing TuTu on drums, Max de la Living Swing replacing Abner on drums and Budda Slim on keys.

Fun Facts

  • The band appeared in Dan Dinello's 1979 independent film "Rock Lobster" performing "Boiled Alive," a punked-up version of the Bee Gees' hit "Stayin' Alive," as well as a Devo-like version of The Temptations' "My Girl" and an incendiary cover of the Cure´s "Killing an Arab".
  • Bassist Frankie Paradise used a guitar made out of a toilet seat during performances of "I Wanna be a Janitor." Using a plunger, Li'l Richie Speck would act out his janitorial fantasies.

TuTu Today

In 2005, TuTu & the Pirates played a reunion gig at the 10th annual O'Banion's reunion at The Note. A couple of the original Pirates are now in Vendooza, who play shows throughout the Chicagoland area. On October 24, 2009, Tutu & the Pirates performed at the after show for the screening of You Weren't There at the Portage Theater to promote the film's release on DVD.

External Links