GLONO Interview: Joe Sepi, Organizer of Tribute to Michael Dahlquist

Molto Amore: A Salut! To SilkwormOn June 11, 2005, GLONO’s own Riviera played a short, hot set at notorious Chicago party house the Sweatbox. Also on the bill was a frantic punk band called the Returnables featuring singer John Glick. One month later, Glick was killed by 23 year old Jeanette Silwinski, who intentionally rear-ended his car in an apparent suicide attempt. Also killed were Douglas Meis of the Dials and Michael Dahlquist of Silkworm.

The Chicago music scene and close friends of the musicians went into collective mourning and on Sunday, March 3, they’ll pay tribute to Dahlquist with Molto Amore: A Salut! To Silkworm. Glorious Noise caught up with Joe Sepi, one of the organizers of the event and a close friend of Dahlquist.

GLONO: Tell me about the show, the artists involved and their relationship to Michael Dahlquist and Silkworm.

JOE SEPI: I put the show together to go along with the Silkworm Tribute Record—a project a good friend, Ike Turner, spearheaded—and the event has grown to include some really great people, both performing and assisting.

Tom Stack and Jay Ryan put the poster together. Tim, from Silkworm/Bottomless Pit, has been a great resource. Chris Brokaw and .22 are flying in to do the show. The Kyle Sowashes are on tour and their tour stop in Chicago was the fire under my ass to nail this down. Push-Pull and The Asunders are driving several hours to be a part of it.

GLONO: Was it tough coordinating the acts?

SEPI: With all these great people involved not only has it been a joy to coordinate, but it has actually come together fairly effortlessly.

All of the bands and possible special guests were either on the Silkworm Tribute Record and/or are closely related to the family of Silkworm. And we are really lucky to have the guys doing the Silkworm documentary, Couldn’t You Wait, involved as well.

GLONO: All proceeds are going to “predetermined charities in Michael Dahlquist’s name.” What charities and how/why were they selected?

SEPI: After his death, The Hull House and The Nature Conservancy were chosen as Michael’s charities. I believe [band members] Andy Cohen, Tim Midgett and Michael’s family chose them because both charities were important to Michael when he was alive. The money we collect from the show will go to the Nature Conservancy only because we know someone on the inside and that will make it easy to coordinate.

GLONO: What is the Tim Midgett Challenge?

SEPI: Yeah, there is also the Tim Midgett Monocle Challenge, which we have already raised almost $1500 for Hull House and SW Chicago Pads just to get Tim to wear a monocle for the duration of the show.

The more we raise, the more accoutrement’s he will wear: we are almost up to the cane.

GLONO: Where are the members of Silkworm now and what are they doing?

SEPI: Tim and Andy have started a band called Bottomless Pit. It includes Chris Manfrin of Seam on drums and Brian Orchard from .22 on bass. They are excellent, just great.

Of course, Joel RL Phelps has been doing his thing for a while…

GLONO: Does having known Michael affect your music today?

SEPI: Michael and I were quickly becoming the best of friends in the several months prior to his death. The loss was devastating, especially since we also lost Doug Meis and John Glick, who were also good friends. In addition to all of us being close through the music scene, I also worked with all three at Shure, the microphone manufacturer.

In early 2005, Michael had recorded drums on some songs that I am still in the process of finishing. Not only was he so much fun to work with, he helped arrange the two songs he played on and made them that much better.

It’s strange when I stop to think that it has been almost two years since Michael’s passing. He enters my mind on an almost daily basis, often times when I am playing music. I feel privileged to have known him and cherish the time we had together.

Saturday, March 3rd, 2007, 7pm at the Empty Bottle in Chicago. Molto Amore: A Salut! To Silkworm brings together 8 bands who were close to the Silkworm family, most of whom made a contribution to the Silkworm Tribute Record. The evening will also include special guests and will begin with a preview of the Silkworm documentary film, Couldn’t You Wait.

MP3: Silkworm – Bar Ice

MP3s from the Silkworm Tribute Record:

The Kyle Sowashes – Slave Wages

Temper – Ticket Tulane

Trestle Music – Don’t Make Plans Friday

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