- by Tom Dumarey
We caught up with The Eradicator - aka Andy Slania - to take us on a tour through his hometown of Chicago. All this as a pretext to find the best place to play squash in the city. Find out how that worked out below.
The Eradicator's new album, 'Peak Eradicator,' is out now and is part fan fiction, part truth. It follows the titular character—The Eradicator, a combative, ski-mask-wearing squash player—as he tries to find his place in the world and the local squash club standings, backed by fist-pumping, Fucked Up-meets-Andrew W.K. anthemics. Live in concert, The Eradicator is in character, masked and driven solely by squash. But behind it all is vocalist and guitarist Andy Slania, a regular dude working in IT trying to find his place in the world, too.
PRT: If you had to come up with a marketing slogan for the city, what would it be?
Andy: Chicago - The Emerald City That Never Sleeps By The Bay
PRT: What made you first fall in love with the city?
Andy: To be honest I don’t know if I love Chicago, it’s always just the place I live. I’ve lived here all my life, I went to school here, and don’t know where else I would live. It’s the only place that I really know, and it’s not the easiest place to live. But the food here is fantastic, there is a common work ethic ingrained into the people who live here, and you get all the elements of a big city without paying the same prices you’d pay in a big coastal city.
PRT: Best place to play?
Andy: The venue that has been the most kind to me doing the Eradicator is hands down Reggies Rock Club. I’ve played my best shows there, and the staff is some of the nicest in the city and it’s a genuine treat to be there any time I’ve been fortunate enough to get the offer. If you’re in from out of town, I would urge you to take a look at their events calendar and stop on by.
PRT: Best place to play squash?
Andy: Please see below re: best hidden spot in the city.
PRT: Best place to go for a drink?
Andy: Honestly - my favorite place to get a drink is Pete’s Barber Shop. I go there once a month and if you’re a paying customer you can drink whatever you want in their fridge. But that’s probably not the answer you’re looking for, so I guess I’ll list out some places where you can purchase drinks. Some go-to’s of mine if a drinking place is needed, wherever you are in town, include Logan Arcade, Montrose Saloon, Revolution Brewing, Ceres Cafe, Metropolitan Brewing.
PRT: Best place to go for food?
Andy: Dante’s Pizza is definitely my favorite food place - inexpensive, very good, vegetarian & vegan options, friendly staff, it’s great. Some other top contenders include Urban Vegan, Ricobene’s, Taquiera San Juanito, Upton’s Breakroom, Calo Ristorante.
PRT: Best touristy thing to do in the city?
Andy: I’d say if you’d like to entertain your out of town guests, the Chicago Architecture Boat Tour is fantastic. It gives you a great overview of the nice brick buildings, which were built by my grandfather (by the way that’s not a joke, he was a brick layer, and my great great grandmother invented the recipe for Mayonnaise and my family lost out on a massive fortune because my great great grandfather stole the recipe and sold it to the Kraft corporation in order to buy a mink coat for his mistress, which is also not a joke).
PRT: Best hidden spot in the city?
Andy: That’s a very personal question and I’m not sure how to answer that.
PRT: One thing you would like to see changed in the city?
Andy: I would really like to see one of those weather domes be installed in the city. The winters here are so brutal, and Houston always gets wrapped up in the concept of weather controlled domes, but why can’t we get that here in Chicago? We need it the majority of time.
PRT: What's your best memory about the city?
Andy: My favorite memory is when I met my wife. It was quite a long time ago now, and I was waiting on the corner of Irving Park & Ashland for the bus. It’s a unique stop where it goes north & south on Ashland, but at that corner it turns on Irving Park, so if you want to see the bus coming, you have to go to the corner and look for it, then walk back to the stop in order to get on it once it comes. One night after work en route to an event, I walked to the corner to see if it was coming, and when I walked back a very attractive girl was walking towards me doing the same thing - checking to see when the bus would come. When we were both back at the stop, waiting for the bus, she asked if I wanted to get a cab. I had maybe $5 to my name at the time, so of course I said yes. Fortunately the bus never came, we spoke for maybe 15 min on the bus, and I asked for her number. And we’ve been together ever since.
PRT: Where in the city did you get your heart broken?
Andy: I got my heart broken in the early 2000’s when hanging out with my good friend Justin Schwier (of Underground Communique Records fame) when he did a radio show at WLUW and had the band Fall Out Boy play live on the air. Right after they ended their performance, they were alluding to a topic where they needed a 2nd guitar player and I said “hey I’d be interested” and they looked at my face and my body, and they said “nah man, we’re good”. So maybe that’s why I started a band where I wear a ski mask?
PRT: What now defunct venue do you miss the most?
Andy: During and right after college, there was a bar on the north side called Prodigal Son. I worked there doing door when I first moved to the city, and it was a fantastic vibe with their specialty being grilled cheese sandwiches. The Prodigal Son did a night where if you brought something in (i.e. a food item), they would deep fry it. And that’s why the Prodigal Son is now defunct, because someone brought something in that shouldn’t have been deep fried, and now there is not a Prodigal Son. (Good news - no one got hurt. I think.)
PRT: Favorite song about your city you'd like to share, either yours or someone else's?
Andy: I’d say my favorite song about Chicago was written by the band MK Ultra, which is called “Bring Me The Head of Tony Victory”.