Are you ready for some punk rock music that is politically-charged and socially conscious?   If you answered yes then Voice of Addiction is your automatic fix!   Hailing from the Windy City, this high-energy, three-piece band is ready to explode on the scene!   In this interview you will hear from lead singer & bassist Ian Tomele aka JohnnyX and drummer & backing vocalist Andy Bobby Petty (A.B.P.).

J Rae: So first just wanted to say that I’m glad that we have crossed paths once again!   The first time I heard Voice of Addiction was last year when I reviewed your album ‘Reduce, Reuse, Resist’ (http://skopemag.com/2011/08/13/voice-of-addiction-reduce-reuse-resist).   I was an automatic fan of V.o.A. after hearing the record then but I wanna know what you guys have been up to since the release of ‘Reduce, Reuse, Resist’?

In promotion of the full-length released digitally, CD and Vinyl we did a month and a half U.S. Tour. It went extremely successful. As soon as we returned we had to prep for our annual Halloween shows. Every year for Halloween we become a different band and do a slew of shows in musical costume. In 2011 we decided to become The Clash. Unfortunately the end of the year we abruptly lost our guitarist and founding member. We brought in a great friend Kyle, who is also in the Chicago-based band She Likes Todd to fill in on some upcoming gigs. It wasn’t long before this became a permanent addition. We played our New Year’s Eve show and then took some time off in January. The end of February we started to tour at full strength again and just got back from a month out east. We’re also working on new material with several songs done and more in the works and plan to be in the studio this upcoming winter.

J Rae: Just so all the Skope readers know ‘Reduce, Reuse, Resist’ is actually the band’s fourth installment with Voice of Addiction’s self-titled album being their first full-length release back in 2004.   How much has the music evolved/changed since 2004 and how do the four recordings compare & differ?

I moved to Chicago about ten years ago for Music College and I lived in a house in Logan Square with 5 other people. There just happened to be a drummer and guitarist that lived there and although we were all busy working full-time and in school full-time we would occasionally plug in and jam together. Eventually these shaped into songs and once we had a set of songs we started playing all over the city. Once we had at least a two hour set list where we picked the best of the songs for the first album.   We were all in Music College which demands you to be versatile in music stylings from around the world. So this ended up with genre-meshing centered around rock music. The second album was recorded with a new drummer Steve and was our first experience working with our producer Scott Fritz at his studio Stranded on a Planet. Fritz has worked on all subsequent releases with Voice of Addiction. We went on a two month Canadian/U.S. Tour in support of this album. For the third album we did our first album recorded to tape. And of course we had a different drummer once again. This is when we started doing more and more weekends out of town. In December 2008 our current drummer Andy Bobby Petty officially joined and the latest album is his first effort. I feel like I have gone more toward my punk/HC roots with each album we have come out with without leaving out all the spice that makes it nice

J Rae: I couldn’t help but notice that V.o.A. has played over 500 shows over the last 7-8 years!   You guys have definitely kept busy and I’m curious to know what that experience has been like?   Any cool and/or interesting stories you’d care to share with the Skope Universe that revolves around the venues themselves or while traveling on the road?

In the 3 ½ years I have been in V.o.A. I have done the majority of the shows, doing 100 plus shows the last three years running. “I am surprised I am still alive.” I have seen most of the country in a way very few have and I have done my fair share of stupid shit. Like eating all the jellies and butters on the table at a breakfast diner to pay for my meal because a drummer needs to eat! Note to self: when urinals get ripped off the wall venues in Tucson shut down the show. It has been a privilege and an honor to serve with these men. Touring is like a rollercoaster, you will have up’s and down’s and lucky for us there have been a lot more up’s then down’s lately. On the down side we were helping get people to the after party in Oklahoma City. This drunk guy was sitting in the back and I was up front in the passenger seat. As I looked back to ask something the projectile vomit started and ended up in my mouth. “V.o.A. will try to get the drunks home safely; until you puke in the drummer’s mouth then you are on your own.” The coolest thing is all the people you meet on the road. We meet all these bands and people doing very similar cool things all over this great land. And we all stick together and continue to build and grow this scene.

J Rae: Voice of Addiction hails from Chi-town/Chicago, which is definitely on my list of top cities in the United States.   But for V.o.A., what is the absolute best thing about living in Chicago?

It’s an open armed city. It doesn’t matter where you came from Chicago will end up being your home if you give it time. The Punk scene in Chicago has changed a lot since the days of the fireside bowl. There are far more venues to play at and way more bands to play with than ever before. And as is apparent with super-fests like Riot Fest and others taking root here it has become the punk mecca of its former years once again. It isn’t just punk music though; it is how Chicago embraces all the arts and especially music. More festivals are held every year in Chicago than anywhere else in this country, and we only have less than 4 months to fit them in! Plus being the home of the blues as well as jazz ain’t too shabby. Chicago gives everyone a chance. Every time we get off tour and we first see that skyline in the distance, I know I am back to sweet home Chicago.

J Rae: Being that I’m a NY native and I absolutely love an authentic New York slice or pie, shall we settle the pizza war once and for all right now?   I would love to get insight on this subject from Chicago natives who have also played in the Big Apple.   This could get interesting!   HA

This May was our first major tour with our new guitarist Kyle. Although we all have been to NYC several times before I think he said it best, “Man they really love their shitty pizza in New York.” This was after our 3rd place since we were there all weekend playing Manhattan and Brooklyn. Our good friends from NYC The Bloody Muffs are coming in a week and they have to play a show with us in Chi-town. How much you want to bet I get them on board? Haha..

J Rae: OUCH!  

J Rae: I think it’s great that V.o.A. is keeping Punk Rock music alive & well but more importantly Voice of Addiction is also a voice of reason.   With politically-charged and socially-conscious material, I simply love that your band is trying to make a real difference in this crazy world of ours.   What is the ultimate goal?

It is pretty simple; we use music as a non-lethal media to not change minds but open minds. As for the future I don’t think there is any horizon to reach. We will keep sailing and hope to get off of this continent and increase our touring to other parts of the world in years to come. You want to know the day I will stop? It’s the day I can’t hold a drum stick anymore.

I have always detested these bands that sing about nonsensical, materialistic bullshit that has no weight on anything in everyday life. If someone is going to listen to my music and pay attention to my lyrics I better fucking have something better to sing about than just girls & cars. Voice of Addiction is founded on the belief that everyone is addicted in one way or another. This doesn’t have to just be the usual fixes; Drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll, but religion, greed, power, caffeine, fast food, television etc. Our goal is to put these things that aren’t normally talked about, and put them on the table for discussion. I don’t want to tell anybody what to do or what to believe in. But rather to start asking the questions that lead to their own belief structure.

“Mother”: http://k004.kiwi6.com/hotlink/3lk3au170h/05_05_mother.mp3

J Rae: Just so all the loyal Skope viewers know V.o.A. is a trio that includes: founding member Ian Tomele on lead vocals & bass, Andy Bobby Petty on drums & backing vocals and the newest member Kyle Tilev on guitars & backing vocals.   What happened to guitarist & backing vocalist Jeff Walschon who was featured on ‘Reduce, Reuse, Resist’?   And how is Kyle Tilev working out?

Things happen for a reason. And Kyle has been a great addition to V.o.A. He is helping us evolve into what the next album will be, and he fucking rocks it!

I founded this band with Jeff and had known him most of my life. He had some tough times and made some bad calls but we wish him nothing but the best. I have known Kyle for quite a long time so him joining was like having a brother jump aboard. We had already been on tour with his other band before so even hitting the road with the newbie didn’t have many surprises. We are hard at work working on new songs and can’t wait to play them live for all of you!

J Rae: With you guys working on new music do you think you could give Skope exclusive access to V.o.A. behind the scenes?

I will write a skeleton of a song with lyrics and such on an acoustic and then bring it to the boys. We will do a low key, quieter practice working out the transitions, beginnings and ending. Then it’s time to bring out the big dogs and plug in to hammer these out and work on the vocal harmonies. We got 3 new ones and are working on more to be in the studio this winter.

Behind the scenes is everything you would want it to be if you were making music with your best friends.  

For more info on Voice of Addiction SKOPE out www.VoiceOfAddiction.com.   It’s time for a fresh voice in the music world to shake things up a bit so prepare yourself for a whole, new addiction.   All I have left to say is ‘Reduce, Reuse, Resist’!

By Jimmy Rae (jrae@skopemag.com)

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