Dave Benziger, Guitar
Dave was inspired to pick up the guitar after hearing Brian May’s guitar work on the song “We Will Rock You”. Being an extremely out of shape sixth grader, Dave put down the guitar because it was “too heavy”. Then Dave saw how girls reacted to guys who sing and play guitar, so he picked the guitar back up and practiced instead of doing his homework. (Later in life he would find out that it wasn’t the guitar that the girls were crazy about, it was the singing. Learn from his mistakes, kids.)
Dave’s been playing professionally (just ask the IRS) since the early 90s, and his two proudest musical achievements have been a life-changing letter from Brian May himself complimenting Dave on his guitar work, and the other being chosen a worldwide, top 10 finalist in Guitar Player Magazine’s 2009 “Guitar Superstar” competition.
Dave is still out of shape, but he’s sincerely working on it.
Chris Brown, Vocals
Chris comes from an a cappella back ground having sung with Chicago’s premier a cappella vocal group Ac•Rock for the last 25 years. Over the years he taken the stage with many well known bands and comedians and now…Mixtape Junkies. He has recorded eight albums with Ac•Rock and while that part of his journey has come to an end, he wanted to continue his tradition of not carrying any instruments in this band (maybe a shaker). You will probably catch him before a gig just sitting back, having a drink, and watching while the other guys move all the heavy equipment…and eating Rocco’s girlfriend’s homemade dip.
He also continues his love of singing as a worship and music director at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church (Celebration Campus) in Naperville. Now he and this incredibly talented band musicians are looking forward to taking you back to the days when mixtapes were all the rage… and making YOU a Mixtape Junkie!
Paul Gere, Keyboards
Paul has always loved music. He started piano lessons at an early age and later studied under a Minneapolis jazz master. His passion for playing the keys exploded somewhere in junior high when he discovered he could play and sing his favorite songs from the radio, write and sing his own music…and girls dug it (but sadly, not him).
Paul has played in many bands over the years including a popular 80’s cover/originals act that toured across a ten state region and built followings in several cities. In recent years, he has played with a number of Chicago area bands and is the regular keyboardist for his church’s contemporary service. Paul takes pride in nailing the sounds and keyboard parts for any songs he plays. His early influences include Journey, Styx, Supertramp, Joe Jackson and Howard Jones.
Rocco Marcello, Drums
Rocco has been knocking around in rock bands since he was in junior high. He stopped playing for a while shortly after he got married in the mid 90’s because he started to have a family and thought that was what he was supposed to do. His marriage fell to pieces and he said “screw it; I’m going back to playing the drums”. He’s not really a “monster player” but he’s got a decent sense of time and feel and this allows him to play in bands. If Dave Benziger didn’t recommend him to us, we wouldn’t even know who he was. We practice at his place and his girlfriend sometimes gives us dip and chips. He’s so lazy that he texts his children to bring down water into his basement when we’re practicing instead of going and getting it for himself.
So far so good – but who knows how long this guy will last with us.
Steve Schneck, Bass
Steve has been in bands since the heyday of mixtapes (a.k.a. High School in the 80s). Despite being mostly a prog rock nerd, he grew up listening and playing 80s music of all flavors. Over the last 25 years Steve has gigged and recorded with a number of bands, performing at major venues and festivals throughout Chicagoland and playing live on Chicago radio.
After decades of musical experiences, Steve gets to go back to where it all started musically for him, surrounded by great peeps and killer musicians. Maybe he’ll drop a poorly-timed Rush or Yes bass line in there somewhere, but what else would you expect ….