Wednesday, December 16, 2009



Though this song might seem a bit drab, the small percentage of people who like it will be happy to have found it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009


Been breaking on the photography for a bit now and writing much more. Was excited to get some words out in the form of two letters. One of them a 45 pager to my friend Scott in Paris and another, a 58 pager to my most main-est damage Albin in Bulgaria. Now, pre-thoughts on section II and shaping. More flicks on the way soon.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009


This Halloween sucked from a week away. I covered a shift for a girl who begged me with her big plans. Saving all of the unspent energy for next year. Time to go get a taco.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


This girl got fucking drenched once the back wheels got hold of the pot hole, and if you don't believe me check the second pic. Too bad my speed was horribly off that day, could've been cheesy New York City postcard material.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


The best part about night crabbing is you don't have to do a god damn thing! You throw a couple of boxes overboard, crack a Frost Brew Liner, listen to some tunes and then pull the boxes back up. We caught some baby's the first day then learned of some secret spots for the next night mission.

Saturday, September 26, 2009



I grew up watching George banks play music on the Blue Line. There was one summer in particular, it must've been 1996, I could swear I saw him every night when I was on my way home. I recently ran into him downtown on State street and shook him down for some answers about how he fell into playing music on the streets.

THANKYOUNYC: How did you get into playing music?
GEORGE BANKS: I'm 52 now and I know I started when I was thirty because when I was thirty I got layed off from a job I was working and this is late eighty's, about the same time I knew a friend of mine who was playing music on the street, a girl.
She had this theme, and all the songs she sang had the word love in them, there's a ton of songs that have the word love so it was an easy theme.
I sang this one song with her about a week before getting laid off from my job, she asked me to join her and play the cymbals.
Then another guy comes up after that and he's desperate and he says, You know man, I need a drummer. You're a drummer right?" I tell him, "Sure!" and his name was Carter Scott. Later on after that I would play with some bands at clubs and you know, you get about fifty bucks a night, I'm thinking, ah, at that time, this is good money for one night.
Also with all these gigs, if the drummer didn't show up or he wanted a night off, they would call me to fill in. The country bands always needed a drummer, but with the rock bands, they never actually got around to getting you up to play, they'd egg you on and say "Oh, yeah yeah, sure, next set." and then next time around they'd be saying the same thing.
TY: Where did you practice at?
GB: I used to practice after work for hours, I was fortunate I had an apartment where I was going steady with a girl and her parents owned a house next door as well, on the top floor. I rented the basement from her parents and lived next door in the other house. My girl and I lived on the third floor and the basement was mine. It's funny because it was noisy for the apartment sandwiched in between but they never said anything to us, I never knew that until later. Without those practices I wouldn't be where I'm at today with percussion. I'd put a cloth over the drums and the sound would be nullified. I'd have my little half of southern comfort and sit down there and bang on those drums for hours.
How did you get started on the street?
Well, with that one girl, and it's a shame I can't even remember her name, I feel guilty about it.
We played and she ended up getting married and moved off to Wisconsin, so then I started playing with this one guy Carter, we played a little here and there, Carter was a a talented musician, he was a diabetic and I think he knew he had limited time to live, or he looked at life like that and he'd work me hard to get the songs down. He and I did stuff all over the place and I'd just play a snare and a cymbal and he sang all kinds of tunes. I recieved a bunch of interviews at that time from newspaper and radio. Carter's self proclaimed title was "Rocking-est Cat in the Universe." He was. He is.
TY: You always wear a tuxedo on the streets?
GB: Then I had my other partner, thats why I where a tuxedo, his name was Brendan Hedges. Brendan was eighteen years and played music with us. I didn't learn 'til much later after we began playing together but Brendan had told me that he had seen Carter and I playing music up at the Lincoln Park Zoo when he was twelve years old.
Brendan had just finished high school and had been accepted to the Depaul University School of Music and he had always wanted to play with us since that first time he spotted us when he was twelve.
Brendan began playing with Carter and I in 1993. We started playing a lot of party's downtown for big companies and we had just finished a demo recording on a Sunday evening. Brendan was on his way home to Oak Park, where his parents lived, and uhh, I didn't think about it that Sunday evening, but I had seen something on the news when I got on Channel 9 that a musician had been shot on Western Avenue. The only Western Avenue I knew at the time was on the northside. So I knew it could'nt have been him because he lived south. The days precede after that and I realized it was him because they had a picture of the crime scene in the paper of just his glasses on the ground of the train station and I knew they were his because those were his new glasses, and he had been raving about those new glasses. That's when it hit me like a cinderblock. I kept trying to tell Carter that it couldn't have been him, in denial, but I knew.
That hit a lot of us really hard. He had struggled with a guy on the platform for the guitar, his dad had always told him to stick up for himself but no father thinks his kid is going to be foolish enough to think that you'd stick up for yourself or for a piece of equipment when there is a gun to your head. You can replace anything thats taken, except for a life.
So now I always wear a tuxedo on Fridays, for Brendan.
TY: What kind of lessons have you learned from playing on the street?
GB: I was born a ward of the state, I was bought up in several foster homes from the time I was born. Lake Bluff homes for children and they became later Chicago/Lake Bluff homes for children. Lived there for a while, but mostly foster homes. Some good ones, one really bad one. The discipline was pretty bad; beatings, whippings, spankings.
TY: For what?
GB: For eating food the babysitter made for the parents. We never got to eat that stuff! They had some great stuff! We got the oatmeal with the powdered milk, no sugar. Cheese and mayonnaise sandwiches on white bread, Eww, I used to hide them in my desk. I like mayonnaise, and I like cheese. But to this day I will never stick the two things together plain on a sandwich and eat it. A lot of popcorn, but never any butter or salt. A little too strict.
One family was great., the Saunders, they respected me. I had the opportunity to travel with them to Greece at a young age and it was eye-opening.
TY: Is it hard to make a living playing music on the streets?
GB: You can only make it work if you do side jobs for other bands, it's hard to make a living just off of street music. Every once in a while I'll deliver flowers for this place downtown. It's the only day where every girl smiles at you, "Ohh, for me?"
TY: What part of Chicago do you live at now?
GB: I live off of Division at a hotel by myself, It's 120.00 a week. It's not bad, it's a little noisy outside sometimes. I play percussion and a bit of guitar at my church on weekends.
TY: Has music bought you anywhere outside of Chicago?
GB: I'll tell you the craziest job I ever had was playing music on a cruise ship. It would be three week journeys and only four hours of play per day, and then you have the rest of the day off. And there's no where to go but every night there are about five to seven partys. I came back exhausted from one of those jobs during the christmas season which is really good for money and I was so exhausted i just relaxed and recuperated.
TY: Where can you be found most often?
GB: I play often at State and Lake, then Clark and Diversey, also Broadway and Belmont, Clark and Division. I was playing there and some old woman came down at me and screamed to stop playing, I tried to put myself in her shoes.
TY: Have you seen some wild stuff go down while playing?
GB: We did see a lot of pickpockets in the subway when we would be playing along the blue line. We would physically speak up over the microphone and tell riders to keep an eye on their purses and bags and wallets. Apparently they were getting aggravated because it was cutting into their business. Pickpockets attacked us and threw our equipment on the tracks, my buddies drum kit and my partners guitar as well. Luckily we fished out our gear before the train came and the undercover cops were all over them instantly. One time, we were playing a song and I saw one guy out of the corner of my eye, I learned all their tricks and I know now how they operate, I stop playing in the middle of the song and I run after him. I'm at Dearborn on the blue line chasing him from the blue to the red line. He ditched the wallet running halfway through the lower level and my bandmates were pissed I stopped halfway through the song but when I gave the wallet back to the subway rider he gave us a good chunk of money that we split. At this point we knew all the undercovers in the stations and if we saw a pickpocket, instead of saying anything or chasing after them we immediately started playing the theme song from Batman, de ne ne ne ne BATMAN!!! It would cue the police that it was happening. We cut into their busniness. They'd get pissed off, whether the pickpockets knew why we were doing it or not I'm sure it struck fear into their hearts. The first notes of the Batman theme echoing into their eardrums.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Puts more sugars in his iced tea than your weekly intake.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


When the world gets a little boring take the Long Island Rail Road to the last stop by yourself, catch a motel for 60 a night, chill at the beach in the life guard towers, eat at restaurants listening to other peoples conversations, and laugh out loud to stupid shit like Andrew McCarthy raising Bernie Lomax's arm when some bikini-clad babes walk past in "Weekend at Bernies"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Makes me want to throw away all my shirts and start over.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Spotted him just chillin' out with his pups in some sweats and caught a quick one. Then felt a bid weird because a guy directly behind me stuck in traffic was catching a pixflix with his phone.

Sunday, September 20, 2009



Kyle and I were standing on the corner about to cross the street and one girl put her ass out there for the world to see, more importantly my camera.

We caught up to them. Come on now, middle of the night, I got my camera. Let's get a real picture. So they knelt down near a bum and took another picture. But Kyle and I weren't impressed. After all, this wasn't about you bragging about a twenty-first birthday and making me feel bad for some side-walk sleeper of the night.

It was more about recreating a better version of the first photo.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Soft spoken and as humble as silken tofu. Mr. Tattoo wins the radness of the week award.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I literally bump into this guy everywhere I go, he's omnipresent.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Bumping into an Oregon farmer and his wife on the street and drinking some Goose Islands at my place about 6 am, anythings possible.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


This girl was probably the worst karaoke singer of all time, but did it with such enthusiasm that the whole room was in an uproar.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

TONY COLLICHIO (Or his name might be something like that)

Spotted this guy early morning dancing a slow two-step on the corner and ended up having a good conversation.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


I asked this woman if she needed help before taking this picture. Her hand had a huge gash in it and she was crying and hysterical.
"You need me to call someone over here to help you?"
"No. No. Don't call anyone. I can't let them see me bleeding. The cops can't see me like this."

Friday, September 4, 2009