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Chicago Rock Bands

Chicago might not be home to iconic genres like the Grunge of Seattle, or Glam-Rock of LA, but this Midwestern city has a thriving music community and players from most areas of popular music. Here are a few heavy-hitters that come to mind right off the bat.



Wilco was created in 1994 by the last members of alternative country group Uncle Tupelo upon singer Jay Farrar's departure from that group. Wilco's lineup has frequently changed, only with singer Jeff Tweedy and bassist John Stirratt as the remaining members of the original incarnation. Currently, the members are guitarist Nels Cline, multi-instrumentalists Pat Sansone and Mikael Jorgensen, and drummer Glenn Kotche. They have released seven studio albums, a live double album, and three collaborations.

Smashing Pumpkins

Smashing Pumpkins:

The Smashing Pumpkins formed in 1988 when Billy Corgan and James Iha met in a record store, and started performing in local nightclubs with bassist, D'Arcy Wretzky, using a drum machine. Playing with a drum machine was frustrating to both the band and their audience, in turn Chicago jazz drummer Jimmy Chamberlin was hired soon afterwards.

Cheap Trick

Cheap Trick:

Cheap Trick is an American rock/power pop band from Rockford, Illinois. The band gained popularity in the late 1970s. The members of Cheap Trick are Rick Nielsen on guitar, Bun E. Carlos on drums, Robin Zander on vocals and guitars, and Tom Petersson on bass guitar. Not entirely mainstream, Cheap Trick has maintained a substantial following by touring regularly and a having a sound that blends upbeat of pop with the hard edge of rock.



Originally formed in in 1961, Styx were the first musical act to ever have four consecutive triple platinum albums. Initially the group went by the name, "The Tradewinds". This earliest line-up of the group included vocalist, pianist, keyboardist, and accordion player Dennis DeYoung, and a rhythm section comprised of brothers Chuck Panozzo and John Panozzo on bass and drums.

Plain White T's

Plain White T's:

Plain White T's are most known for the acoustic song, "Hey There Delilah", performed solely by singer Tom Higgenson. The single was originally released in 2005 and later hit #1 in the US in 2007. For over a decade, Plain White T's have been selling out shows to those craving their punchy pop punk sound.

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