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For Chicago Stone Lightning Band, path has been long, winding

Even when Chicago Stone Lightning Band was active, it was barely active. The group was an occasional band, at best, a weeknight kick-back dad band that brought a party vibe to the stage. CSLB played a kind of muscular, '70's blues boogie that has never been big on the underground rock scene — well, at least not in a few decades.

That made the band and its intentions seem all the more pure. Chicago Stone Lightning Band was almost altruistic about doing it for fun.

About four years ago, the band finally issued a proper debut album (self-titled) on Downtown Records. Singer/frontman Ben Pirani had what he says were modest hopes, but a few years on, he admits that disappointment lingers about the album's place in the world — or rather lack of it.

"It was greeted with a shrug from the world," says Pirani, who moved to New York around the time the album was released and flies back for the band's shows. "I thought maybe it would get a little more action. It got good reviews in the blog world. I didn't — and I don't want to — give up on it or this." The singer laughs before admitting, "I am the zillionth person to have this disappointment."

Pirani believes in the band and his connection with the other three members — drummer John Dugan (formerly of Chisel), ex-Boas member Gabe McDonough and Pirani's former roommate, Nick Myers, from garage rockers VeeDee.

"I believe in the songs we have, even if they are a couple years old and I am struggling to remember the words. The lyrics and the vibe really reflect the state of my ego four years ago," he laughs. Still, he thinks Chicago Stone Lightning Band reflects the connections band member have when they are together.

"I have been playing in bands since I was 11 years old, and rarely do you get in a room with everyone and have it work musically and still we are all friends. We thought, 'Who starts a blues-rock band?' It's not really the sort of thing that had legs in the late 2000s. It's just fun. We like each other. We get up there and rock 'n' roll."

Pirani says that the band's schedule when he did live here was sporadic because Dugan and McDonough were busy dads with careers, and band practice was as much an excuse to get together and drink a few beers as it was a time to rehearse and write new tunes. When the combo formed, doing original music wasn't even a goal. "We thought, 'Let's just strip it down. Do some Howlin' Wolf tunes, play to keep our chops up.'"

Somewhere along the way, it turned into a real band. "We thought maybe we'd take another step with it — but we're pretty lazy about it."

onthetown@tribune.com

Twitter @chitribent

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: The Hideout,

1354 W. Wabansia Ave.

Tickets: $10 (21+); 773-227-4433 or hideoutchicago.com

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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