City Pages

February 17, 2011, by Danny Sigelman

Twin Cities boogie-rock favorites Chooglin’ are about to head overseas again for the Spring thaw. Having traveled across Europe, including some festivals in Norway last year and a trip to the Netherlands, the band were invited back over the pond to do a small two-week tour of France.
It's at a time of much traction for the 7-piece band. For what it's worth comedian Marc Maron, who was just in town doing a gig of his own at the Mall of America this week, started seriously losing his sh*t once he had a minute to pour himself something cold and check out their 2009 record Sweet Time. Read more

Minneapolis Star Tribune

February 15, 2010, by Chris Riemenschneider

There’s nothing like being eye‐to‐eye with a seven‐member rock band that’s playing to an elbow‐to‐elbow room in a bar that’s older than your grandparents and as small as your first apartment. That was the visceral experience on tap Saturday at Palmer’s Bar on the West Bank, where horny soul‐rockers Chooglin’ are playing a trio of Saturday gigs that winds down this upcoming weekend. This is one of the best chances to see one of the best live acts in town. Read more

Leicester Bangs UK

January 12, 2010, by Rob F

The Blues Blog Best of 2009 The best of the releases from 2009 that you can.t afford to miss.
2. Chooglin.: Chooglin. (Big Legal Mess) "A massive beast of a record that stomps, whimpers and roars." Read more

ABC Nyheter

December 30, 2009, by Øyvind Pharo

Year’s Best Records Published in 2009:
7. Chooglin’ “Sweet Time” (Fat Possum)

Four years ago the core of the hardcore punk band Midnight Evils joined together with three trombones and a trumpet… to form the remarkable Minneapolis band Chooglin’. The vocalist Brian Vanderwerf sounds like he sings with broken glass in his mouth. The Stooges are backed by Blood, Sweat And Tears. Read more (in Norwegian)

City Pages

November 4, 2009, by Nate Patrin

Sweet Time is a deke move of an album. When you think it’s going to put the pedal down to the floor, it suddenly jumps from balls‐out rock to mournful, almost stripped‐to‐the‐chassis balladry — and then right on back to jams and the kicking out thereof, because this is Chooglin’, the band that has essentially defined local revivalist pre‐punk rock over the past few years. The horn‐heavy band’s grown more eclectic since their self‐titled 2006 debut, if a bit more restrained: there’s still moments that’ll threaten to peel your face off like “You Sucked the Life Out of Me” or “So Stupid” did, especially the “Run to the Hills” rumble of “Hal’s Haberdashery”. But the downtrodden moments — the Southern Rock elegy “Waltz in D”, the Memphis‐soul lament “Nothing to Show”, the Southwestern Latin oompah of “Tonight, Alright” — prove that Chooglin’s power doesn’t always rely on full‐blare rock action. That said, don’t expect too many moments during their live show that you could easily label “subdued”. Read more


January 2010 by Mike Frame

Sweet Time : CD

Good, solid, ’70s heavy rock from this Minneapolis band. Losing much of the speed and fury of the debut, this sounds like a record that would have been on Atco or Elektra circa 1972. Please note this also means there are softer songs in the mix. Chooglin’ have nailed the vibe and feel of the era coming on like a mix of Mountain, Deep Purple, Steppenwolf, and Grand Funk Railroad. Fans of stuff like Cherry Valence and the Dirtbombs may wanna give this a listen. Read more

Leicester Bangs UK

September 1, 2009, by Neil B

Finally, pick of the pack this month has to be the excellent new release from Minneapolis’s Chooglin’. Released by Big Legal Mess with distribution by Fat Possum, and recorded at the legendary Creation Studios from whence emerged timeless classics by Husker Du and The Replacements, as well as The Trashmen’s “Surfer Bird”, “Sweet Time” is a glorious R&B flavoured racket that carries much the same spirit. The original four piece led by guitarists/singers Brian Vanderwerf and Jesse Tomlinson (formerly of the Midnight Evils) is extended to include keyboards and no fewer than four horn players, giving their riotous and irreverent sound new depth and breadth and a scale of references from the MC5 to James Brown. It’s a massive beast of a record that stomps, whimpers and roars, that in other hands might degenerate into white noise but which here works against the odds to produce an enduring classic. Read more

Hot Bike Baggers

September 12, 2009, by Tom Cartwright

4 Wheels
Chooglin’ Sweet Time Album review

When Minneapolis octet Chooglin’ hits your speakers, it’ll be like a classic rock all‐you‐can‐eat buffet. There’s a whiff of Blood Sweat & Tears and Deep Purple, a taste of Mountain and MC5, a James Gang aroma and essence of Creedence and Black Oak Arkansas. It’s simmered in R&B and best served loud. Why haven’t we heard of these guys before?

Chooglin’—which basically means “to party”—officially debuted in 2005. Their press for Sweet Time, their third album, proudly proclaims them to be past winners of a cover band contest in which they performed the entire Stones’ Exile on Mainstreet album.

Brian Vanderwerf and Jesse Tomlison provide the Skynrd‐like guitar firepower. The three trombone and trumpet horn section has obviously studied their Memphis music book well. Add in bass and drums and you have a potent mix of rock and roll that one rarely hears these days‐accomplished musicians who can actually play, sing, and write really good original songs. Flat out rockers like Take Your Sweet Time and Airport Bar easily segue to a ballad like Nexium of Interest and Nothing to Show, a slow blues burner wherein the horn section lays down a New Orleans funeral procession march.

The production is sometimes a bit murky in places, but that only lends to the intimacy. After all, this ain’t the dribble of highly‐polished pop music. It is one of those albums that keeps getting better with every listen and we can only hope to hear more from this band soon. Read more

Penny Black Music UK

August 2009 by Maarten Schiethart

Chooglin’: Sweet Time (CD review)
The ethnic music from America continues to amaze. Apparently recorded in a hamburger joint halfway between New York and California, if there’s any truth to be found in its sleeve design, Chooglin’ stun the world with their album “Sweet Time”.

With their mature brass arrangements and powerful blues, Chooglin’ have survived the swamps. Their seventies drenched country‐blues sounds refreshingly new to the unaware ear. Oddly enough, “Sweet Time” sounds at points rather like a New Orleans album, taking some of its concepts from funeral music, although mentioning this does absolutely no justice to their fiery performance. Deafening blues rock or boozed‐out pub rock, ask Chooglin’ and they’ll deliver. Read more

ABC Nyheter

August 9, 2009, by Paul A. Nordal

Lyn og torden/Thunder and Lightning
Review of performance at Down On The Farm Festival, Halden, Norway
Article translated from Norwegian by Google

The concert start at 1:00am ended with a fireworks display of a concert by big fellow, American band, Chooglin’. An orchestra consisting of eight men, four of the blow. The band’s unique and very catchy mix of punk, blues, rockabilly and soul probably triggered an alarm in the Halden fire station just down the street.

A blissful mix of early Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Southside Johnny with extra large balls, the MC5, The Stooges, Chuck Berry, Tom Waits and Creedence—they hit the audience like lightning from a clear sky.

Said simply bang, crash, boom. The Law of musical joy of playing and creative expression is rare in today’s music world.

When the band about an hour later, after having smoked three guitar strings and blown across the room, thankfully, had lightning and thunder from the stage moved to Halden’s darkened sky. Read more (in Norwegian)


August 7, 2009, by Øyvind Rønning

Down On The Farm / klare bråkmakere
Troublemakers ready for the Down On The Farm Festival
5 of 6 (CD review)

It is always fun when bands take new turns and stretch genres. Chooglin’ from Minneapolis is such a band. They have decided it is quite alright to use horns in punk just as well as in soul music — and just do it. Do both, I mean.

It sounds different and extremely tough. The band is named after Creedence‐tune “Keep On Chooglin’”. There are many definitions of the quite funny word, here are some suggestions if you’re not familiar with slang: “Right on”, “get down to it”, “go with the flow” and “having a hell of a party”. And rumors are, that is exactly what Chooglin’ is like on stage. The live album “Nice Place, Nice Party, Nice Folks” provides an indication. It is raw. The band themselves claim you can multiply the record by ten. Visit the Down On The Farm festival in Halden on Friday and Saturday, and you can check out this band of eight. They come from the musical city that has fostered groups like Hüsker Dü, Replacements, Soul Asylum and the Jayhawks. There are traces of the first two groups in the music, but Jesse Tomlinson plays guitar the Mississippi way, with a twist of Fogerty. Therefore it is not surprising that after recording one studio album and one live album locally, the band is now picked up by delta blues label Fat Possum.

Claiming this band “really rocks” is an understatement. If you ever wandered what happens when you pair up MC5 and Blood, Sweat & Tears? The child’s name can be Chooglin’. Read more (in Norwegian)

Subba Cultcha

August 2009 by Luke Jovetic

Good time punk rock’n’roll…

Chooglin’ have created an album of enjoyable rock’n’rollin’ punk with a classic rock influence. Oh and there’s an impressive horn section which adds to their sound rather than spoils all over it as can often be the case. The band is the work of guitarists and singers Brian Vanderwerf and Jesse Tomlinson, from Midnight Evils.

Sure this is an album full of danceable party rock’n’roll moments that make you want to crack a beer and go wild but it knows how to change the pace too. There are slower moments and songs which build up before exploding into a bluesy and energetic mess, albeit an enjoyable one. Read more


September 2, 2009

Chooglin’ — Sweet Time CD Review
Article translated from Dutch by Google

Chooglin’ is doing what many bands already did: they bring rock’n’roll. References run from MC5 to The Dirt Bombs, and Stax to Chuck Berry. Here and there seems prudent to borrow from other musicians, like the first guitar riff of opener “Take Your Sweet Time” of “Gay Bar” by Electric Six. It is not a copy, because Chooglin’ play the ball out of their pants. Ditto fine songs and recordings that leave the sleazy edges do the rest. Here is a man as I pleased and especially energetic. Read more (in Dutch)

Roots Time

August 2009

CD Review
Article translated from Dutch by Google

The intro of opener “Take Your Sweet Time” immediately says enough, but changes gears. Chooglin’, a number of hurried‐up boys advanced from the United States, race more quickly to the rock and roll from the early Stone Age . The two numbers that follow are certainly convincing; “Waltz in D” and the slow dive lethargic boot, “Nexium of Interest”, sound fresh in the ears and join other current and young guitar bands as the Dexateens.

The Chooglin’ band originally formed in 2005. Along a wild fierce tornado from Minneapolis after their passionate titled debut album from 2006, later still remain stabbing in a wild and wet Seventies rocking garage sound. They know how to write and work out rootsrock songs. Their new disc “Sweet Time” is full of them.

The band seems to have fun and is passionate and contagious driving on. Also the music is alternately varied enough to remain interesting, including use of horns. Vanderwerf also has a soulful voice that is just raw enough to give the necessary punch. That success works well with good songs like “Take Your Sweet Time”, “Airport Bar” and “Tonight, Alright”, which in this boogie‐rock genre, if those spectacular tunes can be called. Chooglin’, in these deeply boring times, sounds remarkably fresh and airy. The Big Legal Mess debut “Sweet Time” is driven with a passionate and contemporary spirit of melodious and squelchy punk rock and swampy blues. Read more (in Norwegian)


August 28, 2009

Named after a Creedence song, Chooglin’ were formed in Minnesota (US) in 2005. Take uncut pieces of 70’s garagerock, equal parts soul and (alt)metal, doused with a “CCR”‐sauce and spiced with funky horns, this is today’s menu! “Sweet Time” is Chooglin’s third release, their first on the famous Fat Possum Records label. Bon appetit!

Culture Bully

August 9, 2009, by Josh Keller

Chooglin’ “Take Your Sweet Time”

Minneapolis‐based band Chooglin’ are back; this time with a collection of their loose rock and roll songs on their newest disc Sweet Time. The songs, which are “classic” in the sense that you can intuitively relate to them, are straightforward bar rockers that make no attempt to re‐invent the wheel. The tunes on Sweet Time are the kind of songs that really strike a nerve after tossing back a few (or ten) beers. As they showed at their rollicking CD release show last month at the 7th St. Entry (with a killer opening set by the Dexateens), the band is a charging, soulful machine. The band’s first release on Fat Possum Records uses every one of its 38 minutes to really highlight their vintage and free wheeling sound. A good representation of this is the album’s opener, a frantic rocker titled “Take Your Sweet Time.” The song rips right out of the gate with driving guitars before the horns add in a funky southern drawl. The band’s early 1970’s Rolling Stones‐sounding backdrop is augmented by Brian Vanderwerf’s throat shredding vocals. The album is a soulful, funky and rocking turn that—when mixed with the bigger distribution with Fat Possum—will likely find the band reaching many more fans to relish in their retro sound. Read more

ABC Nyheter

August 7, 2009, by Johnny Andreassen

Musikalsk antioksidant/Musical antioxidant
Article translated from Norwegian by Google
5 of 6 (CD review)

The term “too hot to handle” can not be used for many of today’s new bands, but from Minneapolis comes Chooglin’ as a raging fire. The rock and roots music has an antioxidant it must be the eight members in Chooglin’. The band is unleashed on the Down On The Farm festival today and tomorrow. God mend me! The story of the band, which counts a horn section with three trombones and a trumpet in addition to the usual rock and roll instrumentation, formed in 2005.
With a background in punk rock, a strong dissatisfaction with the music of today’s young bands in the U.S. supply, and a growing affection for R&B, blues and soul music’s forgotten treasure trove, Chooglin’ whips together a mix that is both untamed and alive.

Mixing genres
You’ve probably heard a band similar to Chooglin’ before, and you’ll know the elements if you’ve visited the dark rock basements and heard punk nerve mix with the roots music and rockabilly energy.
If you are a Puritan preacher and do not like the mixing of genres, you can just forget to listen to this debut. It is as if you come to a snack bar where they have tumbled together ketchup, mustard and a little tabasco on the bottle and put it on disk. Much of the energy, nerve and quick heat in the band comes from the punk. Likewise brass section that sounds like a mix of New Orleans street parades and the quirky punk rock bands that experimented with trumpets and blowers.

Original and loose
On the opening song “Take Your Sweet Time” songs this, plus blue nerve, to uncompromising The Black Keys, as well as our own Gluecifer wide‐legged rock. Kristoffer Schau and other uncompromising rockers in Oslo’s underground has been into the Legendary Shack Shakers who are live favorites the last few years, I can not think of the reactions Chooglin’ will receive if they manage to convey the energy from the disk to the scene. Shack Shakers is the closest I can get as a comparison of Chooglin’. But Chooglin’ has a substantially larger repetorire than the Shack Shakers. Already the second song, “Waltz In D” , you are greeted by a procession from a funeral ceremony in New Orleans by Tom Waits as a conductor and Joe Henry as deputy commander. “Sweet Time” is one of the most fun, most original and loose records for years and years. Read more (in Norwegian)

City Pages

August 10, 2009, by Loren Green

Chooglin’: Sweet Time (CD review)
Enough has been made of Chooglin’s CCR‐derived name. The music speaks for itself, and it says “party” all the way from its BBQ‐themed packaging to the driving rock of “Take Your Sweet Time,” which starts the record with rollicking guitar licks that transmit an urgent message: Get your beer and get back to the dance floor. Having conquered the Entry with February’s live Nice Place, Nice Party, Nice Folks, the band returns with their second studio album.

On Sweet Time, they seek to expand their repertoire. Alternating mid‐ and slow‐tempo songs with guitar rockers, they succeed at mixing up their sound without activating the listener’s skip‐button reflex. Early on, they present a slower song, “Nexium of Interest,” which builds and seamlessly transitions into “Airport Bar,” a full‐on drinking song proclaiming, “You got the party/I got the soul/Time to get ready/Let’s go go go.” Brian Vanderwerf’s ability to shift from an open‐throat wail to an earnest lament without disruption is what holds the disc together among what could easily be some jarring tempo shifts.

When they tone things down, the horn section adopts a rhythm role, which adds a peppiness that a simple guitar/bass/drum combo would lack. The band adopts numerous styles, as is apparent on the psychedelia‐tinged “Hal’s Haberdashery” and the “Johnny B. Goode” rocker “Gone, Gone, Gone.” But the band’s true identity is found in their energetic, bluesy, and—ahem—horny ’70s rock ’n’ roll. Chooglin’s primary focus is danceable, fun music—the kind in which the word “baby” almost always finds its way into the lyrics. Read more

Music Disgust

August 10, 2009, by Colin Stapleton and Svein Henry

Chooglin’s Sweet Time (Record review)
Sweet Time opens with “Take Your Sweet Time,” a timeless rock and roll anthem that exudes a Skynrd or Grand Funk Railroad quality and leads gently into “Waltz in D,” which starts slowly with a beautiful horn intro and leads into an all out jam with lead singer and guitarist Jesse Tomlinson wailing “staring at your all your picture… swishing I could reach out and kiss ya.” Those first two tracks had me hooked. Side one ends with the standout track on the record “Tonight, Alright.” It begins with a high school pep band feel with a tuba intro that is joined quickly by trumpet and trombone and finally Tomlinson’s guitar and voice. The horns are featured throughout the track as Chooglin’ truly hits on all cylinders. It’s a great combination of soul, funk, and rock and roll. The horns take center stage again in “Nothing to Show.” It never stops the band from breaking out in a guitar jam in the middle of a song and then slowly letting the horns take us out. “Rising Sun” ends the record with a bang. It’s the most bluesy of all the songs. Again with horns aplenty, “Rising Sun” slows in the middle with guitar, organ, and a nice quiet trombone before the song slowly crescendos into a loud, soulful blues jam. It’s just good. Go get it. Or see them live. Get your choogle on. Goddamn. Read more

Minneapolis Star Tribune

July 10, 2009

Chooglin’ risin’
Newly signed to Fat Possum Records’ rawer, grittier subsidiary, Legal Mess Records — howling, guitar‐grinding, horn‐blowing, butt‐kicking soul‐rock octet Chooglin’ has risen to the occasion with an album that’s at once more refined and livelier and uglier than its debut.

The record deal afforded the band time at Creation Studios and it paid off with a classic, big‐room, ’70s coke‐rock kind of sound. Band leaders Brian Vanderwerf and Jesse Tomlinson shred up their guitars as much as their vocal cords on full‐tilt workouts like “Airport Bar” and “Take Your Sweet Time.” Drummer Shawn Walker shows off his boogying side without losing his thunder, while the band’s four‐piece horn section is a showpiece throughout the disc, just like at Chooglin’s renowned live gigs. Read more

Decider Twin Cities

July 11, 2009

Chooglin’ takes its Sweet Time (interview)
With a bigger horn section than Rocket From The Crypt and a name lifted from John Fogerty’s term for “partying,” Chooglin’ promises a good time — and delivered one on its self‐titled 2006 debut. But the octet’s new album, Sweet Time, on Fat Possum Records’ sister label, Big Legal Mess, aims to expand the previous record’s riff‐crazed hillbilly soul into a jazz‐punk boogie that can become startlingly quiet, like a hotrod pulling over to take in some country air. Read more

Philadelphia Daily News

July 7, 2009

Neck feeling dirty & gritty? Apply these tunes to be cool
The group called Chooglin’ borrows its name from a Creedence Clearwater Revival lyric. But on the band’s Sweet Time album (Big Legal Mess, B), the guys sound more like the Electric Flag, another breakout band of the late ’60s that gave an especially big leg up to Buddy Miles and Mike Bloomfield. Think a mash of soul‐revue horns, piercing Chicago‐style electric blues guitar and gruff, West Coast distorted rock vocalizing, with just a tad of that swampadelic CCR thing thrown in, too. Read more

Twin Cities Metro

July 10, 2009

Taking Their Sweet Time (interview)
Chooglin’ established itself as a Minneapolis mainstay from the get‐go, bursting onto the scene in 2005 with their very first gig opening for The Detroit Cobras and The Reigning Sound. Soon after, their eponymous album of the same year did well as a propulsive and relentless, through and through rock record that shook the local music scene and inspired a live record, Nice Place, Nice Party, Nice Folks, a raw and raucous testament to their classic rock stylings. Now, they return with a new effort, Sweet Time, thanks to a recent signing with Big Legal Mess Records, a subsidiary of the legendary Fat Possum Records. The record’s slower numbers immediately conjure up a departure from their first effort—though they would assure you it’s still rockin’—implying a transitional phase of maturation and progression. Read more

City Pages

April 25, 2007

Winner: Chooglin’, Chooglin’

The group’s handle, taken from a Creedence Clearwater Revival song title meaning “to ball and have a good time,” appeared on the album’s cover in that goofy font made famous by the band Chicago. In other words, Chooglin’ announced no need to be taken seriously, and a growing audience obliged them. Yet the presence of two former members of the sublime Midnight Evils—guitarist/singer Brian Vanderwerf and drummer Jesse Tomlinson (now playing Telecaster)—should have been a tip‐off. With an in‐house brass section called “the Horns of Eleganza,” Chooglin’ bring “Take Mine Down” to unanticipated heights. Their rave‐up R&B punk is the kind of huge and natural sound that few have bothered trying to re‐create since Rocket from the Crypt. The rest of Chooglin’ is just as addictive and unstoppable -- a bender that’s too good to park in rehab. Read more

Minneapolis Star Tribune

January 05, 2007, by Chris Riemenschneider

Best Albums of 2006
19. (tie) Chooglin’, self‐titled

All the high‐energy, lo‐fi, no‐frills garage‐rock that you’d expect of a group spun off from the Midnight Evils and an “Exile on Main Street” tribute band.

Best Live Acts of 2006
4. (tie) Chooglin’

Read more

The Onion A.V. Club

December 14, 2006, by Christopher Bahn

Best Music of 2006: Loon State Edition
Ex‐Midnight Evils Brian Vanderwerf and Jesse Tomlinson needed a name for their new project, so they plucked one out of a Creedence Clearwater Revival song title meaning “wild partying.” It’s perfect: Chooglin’ is who they are and what they do, throwing down monster rock riffs and barreling ahead like a speeding locomotive. Is that train moving way too fast? Did we just pass a sign saying “danger: bridge out"? Chooglin’ ain’t no tea party, baby. Read more


May 10, 2007, by Mike Frame

CHOOGLIN’: (CD review)
Punk‐informed ’70s rock from Minnesota. Think Grand Funk or Mountain meets the Hellacopters. Better than most Scandi rawk but would be stronger if they would let off the gas once in a while. Some more dynamics would really make this stuff killer. Pretty good disc overall. Read more

Classic Rock

May 2007, Issue 105, page 83, by Sleazgrinder

Chooglin’ (CD review)
The fact that Chooglin’ are from Minneapolis may explain why their high‐flying, brass‐accented rave‐ups like You Got Me Howling and This Demon Life sound so much like pre‐fame Soul Asylum with their tits on fire.
7 of 10 bars

The Austin Chronicle

April 18, 2007, by Greg Beets

Choogle x2
Minneapolis’ Chooglin’, who rocked Beerland shortly before South by Southwest, take the name seriously on their latest self‐titled.

Chooglin’ utilizes garage‐borne punk fury to remind us of the ass‐shaking salvation once offered by the boogie‐down guitar rock of the Seventies before it got all bloated on deli trays and cocaine.

Ex‐Midnight Evils Jesse Tomlinson and Brian Vanderwerf conjure up double‐barreled guitar pyrotechnics while drummer Shawn Walker splays himself every which way at a hundred miles an hour without losing time. Opener “So Stupid” spins itself into a frenzy approximating a speed‐of‐sound collision between Muddy Waters, Foghat, and the Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs. Breakneck soul workout “Do It to It” and a well‐placed cover of Roy Head’s “Treat Her Right” garner extra oomph from the Horns of Eleganza’s barroom brass. Theirs is the sound of workaday shackles rapidly evaporating into a rank steam of spilled beer and hormones. Read more

LowCut Magazine

March/April 2007 by Jens Kofoed‐Pihl

Chooglin’ (CD review)
Ex‐members of Midnight Evils go boogie rock? Well, sorta, Chooglin’ comes across as a righteous mix of Skynyrd‐esque southern rawk, Stax soul/R&B (yup, there’s a horn section) and a bit of Swingin Neckbreakers/Supersuckers in the more rowdy cuts. Amazing stuff! This is basically what American rock’n’roll is about, and SHOULD be about; freewheeling hardrocking soulful and kickass r’n’r, rooted in the 70s but more vital than most new acts around today, and you can take that to the bank! There’s not a weak track in sight, all killer no filler, pretty damn impressive for a debut album. Read more

The Area Scene

March 9, 2007, by Chris Hennen

Chooglin’ (their name taken from a CCR song), are less a punk/metal hybrid than the [Midnight] Evils and more straight up rock and roll, say more ZZ Top than AC/DC. But it’s still done at a high octane, full throttle, balls to the wall pace. Jesse Tomlinson’s lead guitar solos dot every song and his skills are a definite highlight of their sound, giving it both soul and grit. Their very first gig was opening for the Detroit Cobras and the Reigning Sound and by all accounts, Chooglin’ blew their much more well established counterparts away. While the band has captured some of their trademark sound on their recently released self titled debut album, live is where the band shines. You truly don’t appreciate the Chooglin’ experience until you see it in the flesh. If you like it raw, loud and fast, then you won’t be disappointed. Read more

March 6, 2007

Chooglin’ (CD Review)
Chooglin’ is straight‐up awful. Their name sounds like what I did in my toilette, after enduring ten hellish minutes of this crap.

Every song sounds like “Proud Mary.” Then they try to “spice things up” by throwing some fast trumpets into song called “The Ice Queen.” You know what it sounds like? Freakin’ “Proud Mary” with fast trumpets!!! Read more

Rift Magazine

February 2007 by David Brusie

Chooglin’ (CD review)
To be completely honest, I didn’t expect to like Chooglin’. First of all — and this is parenthetical to the review, but I can’t help mentioning it — what kind of name is Chooglin’? You’d be forgiven for expecting them to be a bad jam band. Luckily, they’re a fun garage band instead.

This is rock with feet strongly stuck in the seventies; these songs — especially the Alice Cooper‐like “The Ice Queen” — wouldn’t sound out of place in the movie Dazed and Confused. And while their self‐titled debut is full of imitation, it’s well‐done imitation, full of spirit, energy, and more than capable playing. It seems like Chooglin’ was aiming for something between Black Sabbath and the Black Keys, and they’ve come up with their own brand of rawk. And damn if it doesn’t sound good.

This record is a rush of the highest order, and you’d be well‐served to simply give in and sacrifice yourself to the rock gods. Read more

Sliver Magazine

December 30, 2006

50 Words or Less (album reviews)
Chooglin’ — Chooglin’ (Self‐Released)
“Hello, welcome to McRockalds, may I take your order please?”
“Yes, what can you tell me about the Chooglin’ special?”
“The Chooglin’ is the Minneapolis special. Horns, riffs, and some good ole’ fashioned screamin’ covered in thick, heavy rock sauce.”
“Ooooo, that sounds delicious. I’ll take it.”
“Damn straight you will.”
Read more

Minneapolis Star Tribune

November 17, 2006, by Chris Riemenschneider

Championing Chooglin’
For a band that’s barely a year old, Chooglin’ sure has gotten a lot of choice opening gigs. The very first show was with the Detroit Cobras, and since then they’ve played before Soul Asylum, the Dirtbombs, Heartless Bastards and the first Little Steven’s Underground Garage Tour.

Chooglin’s anti‐formulaic formula is indeed a rarity among local buzz acts.

A horn‐backed garage‐rock septet, the band: a) grew out of the demise of the rowdy punk group the Midnight Evils; b) was inspired by the members’ short‐lived “Exile on Main Street” cover band, Eleganza; c) took its name from a bawdy Credence Clearwater Revival song about partying and d) boasts a grimy two‐guitar sound, rhythmic oomph and sheer volume that Johnny Thunders, Bon Scott and Keith Moon might all nod in agreement over from the grave.

The band’s first CD reflects that easy, freewheeling mood with its loose, low‐frills sound. Produced by punk studio specialist Dave Gardner (Die Electric!, ex‐Selby Tiger), the disc kicks off with a firestorm of guitar licks and howlin’ snideness in “So Stupid,” and basically never lets up. The horns come in a‐blaring on “Take Mine Down” and make the biggest impression in the nugget cover “Treat Her Right,” a mid‐’60s garage‐rock hit by Texan Roy Head. Read more

St. Paul Pioneer Press

November 16, 2006, by Ross Raihala

What a fine week to give thanks for our bounty of local music
The album: “Chooglin’”
The sound: Two former members of the Midnight Evils are among the enthusiastic noisemakers of Chooglin’, which specializes in horn‐enhanced, R&B‐inspired garage rock. Read more

City Pages/h3>

November 15, 2006, by Chuck Terhark

A‐List Picks: A‐List Recommended Event, November 17
Chooglin’ (CD‐Release)

Call ’em the Vultures of Death Metal: dirtier, stinkier, harder, and groovier than most bands currently feeding on the carcass of ’70s guitar rock. Chooglin’ began circling overhead this time last year as a reincarnation of the much‐loved Midnight Evils, but they soon proved to be as monstrous a rock ’n’ roll beast as their progenitors, and even hornier (literally—they’ve got a horn section). And they did it all on the strength of an explosive live show alone. Now (finally!) frontman Brian Vanderwerf and company have managed to take the time out of their busy schedules (a choogler’s datebook is packed, you know) to shellac their sticky sound to tape, and the resultant eponymous debut is every bit the swaggering effort it was advertised to be.Read more

Pulse of the Twin Cities

November 15, 2006, by Andrea Myers

Chooglin’: Keep on keepin’ on
“It is what it is,” says guitarist Jesse Tomlinson, when asked to define the sound of Chooglin’. “Some people will call it punk, some people call it rock and roll, some people call it ’70s rock or garage, but it’s whatever we play. Who cares.”

Truthfully, I also struggled when trying to fit Chooglin’s album into any one category, with the exception of the all‐encompassing, ever‐changing genre of plain old rock. With the disc spinning in the background during our interview, it made for a great accompaniment to a conversation that focused mostly on their goals of having a good time, throwing back a few beers and trying not to try too hard when it comes to being in a band together. As the tracks changed the music ranged from straight‐ahead, rollicking noise rock to bouncy, danceable beats that bordered on ska. The ’70s rock comparisons are also justified, as their music has a timeless feel that could just as easily be heard on an aging hippie’s record player as it could on a young punk’s iPod. The band’s description of themselves on their MySpace page (which asks members to choose from a variety of genres in order to classify their music) reads “Other.” That seems about right.

That’s the thing about bands like Chooglin’, who have somehow mastered the balance of living the rock and roll lifestyle without falling apart—their lax attitude and emphasis on fun are what make their live shows so chaotic and exciting. And now, with a solid album of great rock tunes behind them, they’re set to keep on chooglin’ down the road to what appears to be a promising future for this great new band. Read more

City Pages

September 27, 2006, by Chuck Terhar

#4 in Picked to Click XVI (Annual Top 10 New Bands Poll)
Bad Moon Rising


To choogle, or not to choogle? That was the question facing Brian Vanderwerf in late 2005 when the fickle rock ’n’ roll sun set on his band, the Midnight Evils. A bawdy bunch of eighth‐note junkies with a live show so raucous they were twice voted “Best Rock Band” in these pages, the Evils were an antidote to the gently weeping guitars and foreplay‐as‐lyrics ethos of the early millennium.

Midnight Evils fans cheered the arrival of Chooglin’ with hopes that Vanderwerf would continue the good work he began with the Evils. They were doubly thrilled to see he had Evils drummer Jesse Tomlinson in tow, now showing off his considerable guitar chops while allowing Walker to take over the kit with his best Keith Moon impression. If the resultant groove didn’t convince those fans that Chooglin’ wasn’t just another version of the Midnight Evils, the horn section certainly did. The brass section’s roots are in a 12‐person ensemble called Eleganza, which Vanderwerf formed for the annual First Avenue Cover Band Contest. (They won the contest with their set from the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street, Vanderwerf’s favorite record). Vanderwerf was so pleased with the sound that he invited “the Horns of Eleganza” to help Chooglin’ record their first album, which he plans to release in November. Read more

September 12, 2006, by Ryan Ruff Smith

But despite the incongruity of its line‐up, the [Little Steven’s Underground Garage] tour boasted some very capable garage rock acts with plenty of shout‐along choruses, raucous guitar banging, and furious drumming worthy of Animal (y’know… the Muppet).

The presentation was a bit tawdry, with scantily‐clad Go‐Go Dancers taking the stage between each act and a red and white striped big‐top themed set. However, the tacky set did provide for a hilarious Spinal Tap moment when the curtain’s rings got stuck on the pole while stagehands were attempting to dramatically reveal a band launching into their set (this happened not once, but twice!). The first time, it took the roadies the better part of the band’s first song to force the stubborn curtain open.

This didn’t seem to rattle local act Chooglin’, however, as they held up respectably to the touring acts. Their highlight came midway through their set, when they built up steam with a propulsive instrumental and then let it slowly leak back out with a tense, creeping slow‐burner before eventually blowing the top off again at the end of the song. Read more

Minneapolis Star Tribune

January 20, 2006, by Chris Riemenschneider

Words can’t describe First Ave’s new bands.

To fully enjoy First Avenue’s Best New Bands showcase, don’t start chooglin’ too much before the last band.

That’s the best I could come up with during Wednesday’s newcomers show for the “use Chooglin’ in a sentence” contest, which preceded a mighty set by the band of the same name, featuring two former Midnight Evils, a bursting two‐man horn section and hyper takes on old gems such as Roy Head’s “Treat Her Right.” Read more

January 18, 2006, by Zosia Blue, David de Young and Jennifer Paulson

Just before Christmas, Chooglin’ gave Soul Asylum a run for their money in the opening slot at the veteran rock band’s holiday show at First Avenue. At the Best New Bands Showcase, Chooglin’ got their comeuppance when they had to follow equally stellar Birthday Suits. It was a tough job they handled easily by virtue of having a different story to tell, and by sheer numbers (they win 6 to 2 when you count the two horn players who joined them onstage for their last couple songs). Each member of Chooglin’ contributes to the musical tornado they whip up onstage. Up by the speaker stacks, chest cavities continued to resonate as they had during Birthday Suits, if only a slightly less frantically. Vocalist/guitarist Brian Vanderwerf’s cap was pulled down so low it was almost over his eyes at times. Jesse Tomlinson shreds the “other” but definitely not second guitar. The bass player wielded his instrument like a weapon. Drummer Shawn Walker sits on a stool so low it looks like a tuffet, but Little Miss Muffet he ain’t. Judging by the reaction of most audience members, there’s no question this band belonged on the bill. Read more

City Pages

January 18, 2006, by Dylan Hicks

Their goofy name comes from an old Creedence tune. Two of their members—singer/guitarist Brian Vanderwerf and guitarist Jesse Tomlinson—come from roots‐punk hard‐asses the Midnight Evils, voted Best Live Band in these pages not long ago. And their sound comes largely from ’70s rock of the hard and fast variety. But based at least on seeing Chooglin’ open for Soul Asylum this past December (they played their first show in late November), the group isn’t egregiously or self‐consciously retro. They don’t bother with Me Decade visual trappings, and treat their influences playfully rather than ironically (or reverently). Most importantly, of course, they rock in the manner of a hurricane or tornado or some such natural power. The lyrics, I haven’t been able to make out yet. For some insight into Vanderwerf’s tastes, we sat around his Uptown apartment, played some records, and talked about them. Read more

City Pages

November 23, 2005, by Christina Schmitt

The word “Chooglin’” sounds like an onomatopoeia for beer guzzling or trains chugging. It’s actually a Creedence Clearwater Revival term for partying and fornicating, as laid out in the classic, “Keep on Chooglin’"—"You got to ball and have a good time/And that’s what I call chooglin’.” What’s also called Chooglin’ is a new local band that debuted last Friday night at the Triple Rock. The CCR reference was probably lost on the majority of the twenty‐to‐thirtysomethings at the show, but judging by how quickly and early the bar filled up, many did know that the opening band featured two former members of the now defunct Midnight Evils, guitarist/singer Brian Vanderwerf and drummer Jesse Tomlinson, who now plays a Telecaster. Chooglin’ the band is a good time, emphasis on beer and a classic rock sound; their standout, Shawn Walker, also drummer for the Fuck Yeahs, channels Keith Moon through his manic drum fills. Read more

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