Some of us have taken the coronavirus quarantine as a time to do some metaphorical life rebuilding, but Matt Benson and Courtney Boyers of DuPage-area punk band Take the Reins took that literally.
The drummer and vocalist for the band have been busy the last few months finishing up renovations on a recent home purchase. But Benson’s exposure to the public through his job in the fire department meant the married Winfield musicians have had to keep their distance from the rest of the band — David Burke, Dan Duffy and Erik Hilger.
Four of the five members of Take the Reins will join us for our last regularly scheduled Chicago Sound Check Presents livestreaming concert/interview series (FOR NOW!) at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 25, at Instagram.com/chicagosoundcheck.
Because of the stay-at-home orders, the band members have not all been together in the same room since an appearance on James Van Osdol’s Car Con Carne podcast in mid-March. Around that time, Take the Reins also released the new single “Camo Jacket,” a catchy number with a video that brought together many of their friends from the Chicago music scene.
“It’s a collaboration between people who care about us and who we care about,” Benson said. “It’s about growing the scene, growing the community. It’s a family.”
What followed immediately afterward makes that sentiment a little more poignant. “Camo Jacket” was to be the first of a regular schedule of releases Take the Reins had in the works for 2020, but quarantine complications put that all on hold.
“The plan was to release a song like every six weeks,” Boyers said. “And then while we’re in the process of releasing those, we’d be writing and recording the new stuff.”
Now that the band is two months behind on releasing the second song, they’re revamping the timeline for the singles and eventual album release and looking forward to feeling safer to get together with their friends.
“As soon as we can start practicing again, we will go full steam ahead with new stuff,” Boyers said.
Guitarist Burke joined Boyers and Benson for a recent livestream charity event, and it felt like the way to go for the time being.
“We were thinking about just doing porch sessions,” Boyers said. “It’s a really cool front porch, and we’re thinking, ‘Let’s just start playing stuff out there and recording it and putting it up. We gotta keep people entertained and let them know we haven’t just gone away.'”
“We played to our neighbors recently,” Benson said, laughing. “We ended up just playing the whole album (2017’s ‘Addiction by Subtraction’).”
Take the Reins is playing our Thursday night livestream to support Susan G. Komen Chicago in honor of a close friend of the band who is fighting cancer.
Boyers said getting back out and doing something to help has made this spring’s pandemic a little easier to weather.
“I see it all sitting in the house watching the news and dwelling on all of this,” Boyers said. “But a lot of good things have come from it, too. Meals, staying at home with the family. It hasn’t been all bad. … I’m appreciating the little things a little bit more, so that’s something good.”