Talkin’ ’bout the Claudettes…

GREG KOT, CHICAGO TRIBUNE   A revelatory blend of jazz and blues, stirred with punk brio. There are also dashes of classical and world music, and enough stops, starts and hairpin turns to suggest the giddiness of Raymond Scott’s cartoon music…How do they do it?

Johnny talks with Greg Kot in an extended Chicago Tribune interview

Greg also picks The Claudettes’ NO HOTEL as one of his top Chicago albums of 2015

MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE  A skewed cabaret band of jazz, blues and rockabilly…A sensibility that feels equal parts James Dean and David Lynch.

JEFF ELBEL, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES  Chicago’s premiere punk-blues piano band are back in high gear. Their fusion of sounds (ranges) from Otis Spann to the Minutemen and from Ray Charles to Raymond Scott…(and they) do wicked things to standards.

NEW CITY (CHICAGO)   Definitely one you should be spinning…there’s enough energy going on to power your average Third World airport…barreling, hyper-saloon piano banging…you have to hear it to believe it…Chicago’s own neo-vaudeville barnstormers!

ELMORE   An album that makes you feel like you’ve stepped into the past, yet it’s very much fresh and energizing. The Claudettes bring on the roots scene as you have never heard it before. Yana’s pop-soul voice is straight out of the ’60s and blends so well with the drumsticks, piano hammers and vintage swagger.

PHILADELPHIA WEEKLY   Heavyweight piano man Johnny Iguana, drummer Michael Caskey and singer-dancer Yana create a kicked-up mix of blues, jazz and soul you’ll remember long afterward.

NO DEPRESSION   The Claudettes attack the blues with the ferocity of punk rock on their sophomore album. NO HOTEL puts the rock ’n’ roll in the rhythm & blues…a 45-minute barn-burning party that you never want to end. Move over, Mose Allison, the Claudettes have arrived to give the blues a much needed kick in the ass.

BIG CITY BLUES MAGAZINE   An entirely reconfigured Claudettes with the very welcome addition of the captivating, nay sultry, vocalist/dancer Yana. The trio move deftly from the Roaring Twenties to the 1940s to the 1960s…soulful…jazzy…hypnotic…hot-rod drums…shades of Cecil Gant crossed with Otis Spann…Yana needs her own album, she’s that good.

TONY SARABIA, WBEZ (CHICAGO NPR) Call it “Brother Ray Meets the Ramones,” “Barrelhouse Thunder,” “Chopin Meets the Minutemen”…or maybe, just call it great music.

INNOCENT WORDS   Imagine a 1920s New York jazz supper club where Bessie Smith is owning the stage, and in the back there is another room where Ray Charles is playing 1960s soul, and off in the distance is a beautiful black lady singing French songs. That is the beauty of NO HOTEL by Claudettes. If Keith Moon had played the piano, he would have been Johnny Iguana…he is taking the piano to a whole new level…hot damn!

TIM QUINE, RUBBER CITY REVIEW (AKRON, OH)   Pianist Johnny Iguana is the real deal. Together (with Caskey) they make a powerful sound, steeped in the legendary blues duets of Otis Spann and S.P. Leary but also weaving in strains of cabaret, vaudeville and even punk rock.

THE HOLLER (NEWS OF THE COLORADO BLUES SCENE)   The blues turned inside out. Imagine Roosevelt Sykes mixed with David Bowie, only with soul. Polyrhythmic boogie-woogie piano from Iguana with freestyle drumming from Caskey. A dynamic, swinging approach to music. If you have a chance to see the Claudettes, do it.

The Claudettes selected as Bluesbreaker of the Week by Dan Aykroyd (a.k.a. Elwood Blues) on Bluesmobile!

The Claudettes featured on Sound Opinions, “The World’s Only Rock and Roll Talk Show”!

DOWNBEAT   Hits listeners upside the head with a mash-up of Otis Spann blues, Albert Ammons boogie-woogie, Ray Charles soul and “Fess” Longhair New Orleans R&B. Catch them in a chaotic ballroom!

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES   Fuses blues and punk, and all points between….The hectic boogaloo of “Deep Soul for High Society” pays rowdy homage to Ray Charles…prodigious skill, but not purism.

BG (BUDDY GUY’S BLUES AND MUSIC NEWS)   Uninhibited, wild, exciting…yet deep-rooted Chicago blues. A very powerful and impassioned album done as only true Chicago blues masters could do it. With this album, Johnny could easily inherit Big Moose Walker’s mantle as the piano wild man of Chicago blues. A pair like the Claudettes really shows the continued vitality and possibilities of Chicago blues in the 21st century.

COLOSSAL POP   Beautiful and chaotic and wildly impressive all at once….If you would have told me three weeks ago that the most played album in my rotation would be a piano and drum instrumental album, I would have laughed….I’m all in. I love this album and the Claudettes may be my new favorite band!

BLUES MUSIC MAGAZINE   Like Keith Moon chasing a crazed, punked-up Little Richard… greasy rhythm and blues that makes the dance floor so slippery you need to sprinkle sawdust on the floor to keep from falling down…a great ride, one that’ll leave you shaking and laughing and wanting more the next time this rowdy carnival comes to town.

BLUES BLAST:  Their ambition and hard work have been rewarded with a fabulous album…unquestionably danceable and refreshingly unique…40 minutes of high-energy fun.

BLUES BYTES (SURPRISE PICK OF THE MONTH, NOVEMBER 2013)   One of the freshest discs that has crossed my ears in a long time…an amazing find…Iguana and Caskey play their instruments like men possessed.

AMERICAN BLUES SCENE   Johnny Iguana sounds like a saloon pianist from the Wild West brought to the future, his own vaudeville style modernized alongside Caskey’s sweet and delectable drumming, blending blues, jazz and a good time, creating an album unlike any other on the market.

EDEN BRENT (VIA FACEBOOK)   Has all the sophistication of 21st-century serious music with a helluva sense of humor….Most interesting piano album in my collection since Brubeck’s Take Five.

CAUGHT IN THE CAROUSEL   They come across like a ragtime White Stripes, tearing through the 13 numbers here with an undeniable musical velocity….Truly one of the most refreshing musical experiences of the year.

FOLK AND ACOUSTIC MUSIC EXCHANGE   Some of the most startling music you are going to hear…you are in for a wild ride. They seem like two madmen…but they are two madmen in beautiful tight rhythm.

BMAN’S BLUES REPORT   A nonstop piano riot….With Hound Dog Taylor Taylor intensity, the two men create a rockin’ frenzy….Iguana has a lot to say and says a lot without saying a word.

SEPIACHORD   Soon to be classic…a vintage vibe that should find ears with neo-hipsters, old-school cool cats and contemporary greasers alike.

POP MATTERS  Greasy keyboard-based barrelhouse blues with a side of heavy beat that evokes early Chicago R&B/rock…makes you jump and dance…a little scary, but that’s just part of the dangerous thrill.

CASCADE BLUES ASSOCIATION  Definitely nothing remotely blues-rock. There is a timeless feeling meshing the great pianists of the past with a modern flair that resembles nobody else.

THE ISTHMUS (MADISON, WI)  The Claudettes are your new favorite party band. The Chicago quartet is rooted in “Windy City piano blues,” but their sound also includes elements of rockabilly, punk, burlesque and vaudeville, resulting in a band you’d be likely to hear at the speakeasy version of CBGBs.