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You Should Know: Oh My God

September 5, 2010

Billy O'Neal (left) & Ig (right) of Oh My God

Quirky Chicago alt rock group, Oh My God,  is coming to the Black Sparrow on Saturday, September 11th. Their latest album, The Night Undoes the Work of the Day, blends the best of 90s alt rock sound with soulful, poppy, prog-rock songwriting. In other words, they’re a fabulous change of pace from the screamo/pop punk/hipster acts that dominate Indiana’s scene. Having endured all kinds of crazy misfortune over their 10+ years as a group, I think they are a shining example of genuine dedication to music. They just. keep. going. As Ig (organist) explains in their documentary, Legalize Oh My God:

“We don’t sleep on floors to be DIY or ‘keep it real’ or something. We just really don’t make enough money for hotels…Why do we do this?…Because every night we get to do this [rock].”

Oh My God is also known for their intriguing music videos, particularly the animated “Bring Yourself,” and “My Own Adventure” featuring Miss Tila (formerly known as Tila Tequila).

Bring Yourself:

My Own Adventure:

Recently, I had the opportunity to correspond with Ig. He was kind enough to answer a few questions about Oh My God’s experience:

Oh My God celebrated 10 years as a band last year. How did you all come together? And why “Oh My God”?

Billy and I have been together 10 years, with a slightly Spinal Tap-esque history of bandmates (four guitarists, something like six drummers and most of our years without guitar at all). I saw Billy do a show and said, “I’m gonna start a band with that guy,” and we did. First we thought of “God’s Band,” then changed it to oh my god. Hard to believe it wasn’t already taken!

How did Miss Tila end up in the music vieo for “My Own Adventure”?

We have some fans on the MTV creative staff; they know Tila and they filmed our video for us and were able to get her in on it. Why not?

Oh My God has endured so much hardship over the years–fire, car crashes, etc. How has this affected you as musicians?

The fire, the two crashes and the theft ranged from massive inconveniences to full-on traumas. The last crash, where death literally stared us in the face (the woman who hit us head-on died) certainly led to some somber, pensive, reflective lyrics and moods on our next album (our most recent, “The Night Undoes the Work of the Day”). The other stuff had no effect. Luckily, we had insurance in each case; our band would have ended at some point along the way if not, most likely. Or, we would have just played instruments we made out of construction paper or hay or something.

You guys have a unique sound. What are some major influences on your music?

Our particular uniqueness is a product of the completely different musical backgrounds of Billy and me. He had been into the big classic-rock bands growing up: Black Sabbath, REO Speedwagon, Van Halen, Boston. I was excited about Wire, Television, Husker Du, The Clash. We crossed paths at Bon Scott-era AC/DC, though. In any case, my punky vibe and his classic-rock hooks met and oh my god’s sound was born.

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you on stage?

Something funny happens most nights with Billy O’Neill at the helm. He refuses to take himself or the band or rock ‘n’ roll or life too seriously. Even without dropping his pants, he can make people laugh.

There’s a good number of Indiana teens/young adults who are trying to start their own music careers. What advice would you give to them?

I’m not qualified to give advice on the industry/career side of things. We’ve never made more money than we’ve spent. But we’ve poured thousands upon thousands of hours into practicing, arguing, driving, playing gigs, recording, listening to those recordings and doing it all over again. There’s no point in doing this if you don’t plan to devote that kind of time to it. And if you aren’t inclined to, why are you doing this in the first place?

You can see Oh My God at the Black Sparrow in Lafayette this Saturday (9/11) at 10 pm.


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