#tbt Material Issue / International Pop Overthrow (1991)

By Randy Nieto
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If you asked anybody on the streets of Chicago what their favorite Chicago band was in 1991, I am willing to bet more than half of them would say Material Issue. They sounded English, but were they? Did they move here from the UK? Not at all. During a time when British shoegaze bands ruled alternative radio and C+C Music Factory was ruining music for everybody else, Material Issue brought a fresh new sound to the powerpop genre, eschewing out the hair metal craze and setting the tone for the first coming of grunge (Nirvana). Born in the bedroom of his parents house in Addison, Illinois, Material Issue was the brainchild of Jim Ellison and Ted Ansani. They would go on to debut their video for “Diane’ on 120 Minutes with Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson of the Replacements, eventually opening up for what would be the ‘Mat’s last show at the Taste of Chicago in 1991. No doubt Material Issue were influenced by the Replacements, they seemed to fit in nicely with other power pop bands at the time like Teenage Fanclub and The Posies. Later there would be some controversy mixed in their with Chicago Rivals Red Red Meat, and unfortunately lead singer Jim Ellison would later commit suicide. Material Issue was the best power pop trio to come out of Chicago, and to this day the International Pop Overthrow Festival is held each year in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago to commemorate power pop, Jim Ellison, and Material Issue. Check out the video for “Valerie Loves Me” below.

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