LOVEHAMMERS’ triumphant new disc, restores faith that heartfelt rock and roll can still thrive. With an inimitable and unpretentious sound, Chicago’s homegrown heroes punch out an album of thought-provoking, hook-injected airwave contenders that are long on hooks and incendiary riffs.
A longtime fixture on the Chicago music scene, the Lovehammers are an alternative rock band whose sound is best described as a combination of pop-punk with grunge influences. They have headlined their own International Tours as well as support bands/musicians such as Nickelback, INXS, Slash, Chevelle, KISS, Cake, Theory of a Deadman, The Wallflowers, and, played SOLD OUT shows at the majority of Chicago’s music venues and have appeared LIVE on VH1 playing acoustic versions of their songs.
In preparation for their seventh album Set Fire, band members Marty Casey, Bob Kourelis, Dino Kourelis and Billy Sawilchik took a non-traditional approach to music making and built their own recording studio. Normally rushed and paying for studio time, the Lovehammers were able to write and record at their own pace allowing for more music to be created while songs happened organically. The finished material was given to mixer, Anthony Focx from Nashville (Aerosmith, Steven Tyler, Metallica, Sick Puppies, Motley Crue, etc.) for completion.
In addition, the Lovehammers have invited fans to be a part of the album-making process by hosting a contest for the cover art and song order. One winner will be chosen to have his/her submission featured as the artwork for the album and decide the order of which songs will be featured.
Lovehammers, originally called Swinging Lovehammers, began as a cover band in Hickory Hills, a Southwest suburb of Illinois. Having known each other since Little League, teenagers Casey, and both Kourelis brothers enlisted fellow neighborhood friends Ben Kelly and John Murdoch to join their group. As they began to head to college, Murdoch left and Sawilchik was recruited and they began writing original material.
In 1997, the Swinging Lovehammers released their first full length album, Ultrasound, an early incarnation of their ‘un-pretentious’ rock sound. Two years later they released Demolition, a four song EP recorded at DV Productions in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that featured songs re-released on their 2000 LP release, L’Strange.
It was during 2000, the Swinging Lovehammers’ had acquired a large fan base and their devotees were referred to as ‘Hammerheads.’ Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx reviewed them favorably calling them “Another new band to keep your eyes open for.” In 2001 they released their second EP We Live produced by legendary Indie rock impresario Steve Albini, known for his work with Nirvana, PJ Harvey and Pixies. It was during this time they officially changed their name to Lovehammers.
In 2003, Lovehammers released their third full-length album Murder On My Mind which featured a number of songs written by Casey during his stay in New York City including “Wait For No One,” “Better Off” (Walk Away) and “Eyes Can’t See.” In addition, Ben Kelly officially departed the band leaving Billy Sawilchick to become and remain lead guitarist.
In 2005, Lovehammers could not have predicted what was about to happen. While opening for Cake and Gomez on a 21-city Virgin College Mega Tour, Casey had been participating in ongoing auditions for a new reality television show titled Rockstar: INXS. He made the show and quickly became a fan favorite. It was his performance of Lovehammers song “Trees” that became an instant hit debuting on MSN.com as a #1 download and shining a spotlight on the band. While Casey placed runner up in the competition, Lovehammers were immediately offered a contract with Epic records and a spot as the opening band on the INXS’s Switched On tour.
In January 2006, Lovehammers released their major label debut titled Marty Casey & Lovehammers, composed mostly of reworked versions of their previously released and recorded tracks. The album was well received by critics and fans alike. That summer, Lovehammers headlined the Get Live tour to sold out audiences.
The last release for Lovehammers was Heavy Crown in 2009. The album offered a refreshing respite from today’s over-compartmentalized musical climate and sounded nothing like they had ever done previously. The Lovehammers challenged themselves with the writing process and sought a combination of both light and dark.