Mid-1980’s suburban Chicago (Naperville!) punk. 13 song LP includes the band’s hard to find 7” alongside unreleased studio tracks, demos & live cuts. Naperville’s Protagonists formed in the wake of the first wave of Chicago hardcore punk. Instead of being inspired by the first generation weirdo Chicago punks like Silver Abuse and Tutu & The Pirates or the hardcore legion that followed (AOF, ROTA, Negative Element, etc.), Protagonists drew their motivation from sources as diverse as punk icons Buzzcocks, The Dickies and The Damned to prime era 50’s and 60’s teen anthems (Buddy Holly, Dell Shannon, and The Monkees). The group formed in a Naperville high school, played local talent shows and teen dance parties, and hooked up with older kids (Reaction Formation) who helped them get radio gigs and put out a tape recorded by Phil Bonnet, influential recording engineer and long time friend. The band followed up with a 7” for Reaction Formation’s label Nova which garnered positive reviews but they were shortly after pulled apart by the usual strains on the end of adolescent trajectories.
This compilation gathers their original tape, unheard outside of the suburban Chicago teen punk scene, and pairs it with the songs from their hard-to-find 7” EP (originally pressed in 1000 copies in 1985). The b-side features basement demos of original songs recorded by the band as well some great covers which show they could rock as a punk dance band.