When Green Day and The Offspring took over Billboard Magazine’s

By Gus Bode

Top 200 list this year, punk rock proved to the world that it is indeed still alive and kicking.

Carbondale will learn the same lesson tonight when The Fighters march down from Chicago to play with Carbondale’s Diz Hicks and Toucan Slam, from nearby Olney.

The Fighters formed when two of the members, lead singer Jason Mojica and original drummer Don Shrader, were attending SIUC. Bassist Mike McKee and guitarist Paul Koob remained in Chicago, studying at DePaul University.


While many long-distance relationships are shaky at best, The Fighters were not affected by the 350 miles of cornfields that separated it. Mojica would call up Koob and hum a melody, Koob would process the murmuring into a guitar riff and the two would have a jam session over the phone.

Mojica and Shrader returned to Chicago in May 1993 and, within a month, the group released Give em the Business, its first 7-inch EP. To release the vinyl, the band started up Rocco Records, a spinoff of a comic/fanzine distribution company already in existence.

We practiced three or four times and then we had our first show, said Mike McKee, The Fighters former bassist who followed the maroon and white tradition in the band and transferred to SIUC in July. It was kind of laid back; we goofed around a lot.

Mojica stayed up north, but Shrader decided to return to SIUC. The Fighters enlisted C.J. Heimberger to take over the drums and released two more 7 inchers, Breaking Bones For Laughs and The Rambling Boys of Pleasure, a split release with fellow Chicago dwellers Winepress. The band took to the road for a mini-tour earlier this year, playing five shows from Olney to Huntsville, Ala.

It was a little bit shorter than we wanted it to be, McKee said. We weren’t looking to make money off the tour, it was mostly just to have fun, meet people and to get the name of the band out so people outside of Chicago would know us.

McKee does not see the future of punk rock changing too drastically with the recent success of Green Day.

Seeing Green Day on MTV wouldn’t affect The Fighters at all because I don’t think The Fighters have any ideas about cashing in on the pop-punk thing, McKee said.

One good thing about Green Day being on MTV is that they were once like The Fighters making their own records and doing their own tours.

And, just like the pastel-haired punkers from California, The Fighters plan to record another 7-inch EP, several compilation tracks and its first full-length release next year, all by itself.

The Fighters, Diz Hicks and Toucan Slam play tonight at Patty’s Place inside Detours, 760 E. Grand Ave. The show starts at 10 p.m. Cover is $3.