Acoustic pop punk band Even In Blackouts can play ‘even in blackouts’

By Gus Bode

Even In Blackouts diversify a stagnant genre

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For John “Jughead” Pierson, making the transition from the style of punk rock that brought him fame to a style of lesser recognition is not a difficult task. What is difficult for Pierson is trying to anticipate his fans’ reaction to one of his latest projects.


As the guitarist and co-founding member of the legendary Chicago punk rock band Screeching Weasel, Pierson had been part of a band that struggled for notoriety and had become used to playing numerous shows on a regular basis, which is something Pierson enjoys.

Pierson said that as Screeching Weasel became more popular, and the band became older, the amount of time spent touring lessened, and the band eventually became a more studio-based band. This is something Pierson says he wanted to avoid becoming.

When Screeching Weasel broke up, Pierson placed greater emphasis on songwriting, composing his theatrical performances and managing a publishing company called Hope and Non-things. Pierson’s most recent endeavor is an acoustic pop-punk band, Even In Blackouts.

According to Pierson, Even In Blackouts started last December when he began auditioning musicians to help him perform the songs he’d written on his own.

“Originally I’d intended the band to be a counter-opposite of Screeching Weasel,” Pierson said.

Pierson said most of the Screeching Weasel songs he’d written were originally composed on an acoustic guitar, but later were converted over to electric. Now, Pierson’s intention with Even In Blackouts is to maintain the acoustic sound from start to finish.

“I prefer the sound of acoustic better,” Pierson said. “With an acoustic guitar you can still play in a blackout, which is where the name came from.”


Dan Limpan and Kelly Summers join Pierson on acoustic guitars. Brad Limpan plays the acoustic bass, and Liz Eldridge shares the singing with Pierson.

Former Screeching Weasel member Dan Lumley played the drums on the band’s recent CD debut, ‘Myths and Imaginary Magicians.’ However, the group performs live without a drummer and focuses largely on its appeal as an all-acoustic act according to Pierson.

Pierson spent some time in Italy, enjoying the country’s picturesque landscape, and was inspired in his writing. He said he also ended up meeting the Italian punk band, The Manges, with which he will be playing guitar on an up-coming tour later this month. Even In Blackouts will be supporting The Manges on some of the dates, one of which is planned for a Carbondale venue that has yet to be determined.

Pierson is somewhat apprehensive about how fans of his former work with Screeching Weasel will react to his new band’s sound. Pierson said that in the end, it all depends on what he wants to do with his music.

“I shy away from using the word ‘different’ to describe things,” Pierson said. “I prefer to think in terms of ‘individual’.”

Reporter Jared DuBach can be reached at [email protected]