Reaction Formation two cassettes from the late 1980s

24 Mar

The suburban wasteland of Downers Grove, Illinois spawned the band Reaction Formation in the early 1980s, and they eventually became an often-gigged & sometimes-touring juggernaut of youthful free energy. Tuneage ranged from classic Midwestern jangle-pop & indie rock; they were “pop” enough to also appeal to the mid-1980s Chicago Mod scene (Green, The Slugs, 007, I-Spy, The Dig), which was documented very well in the Chicago Reader recently. Guitarist Jim “McGuinn” Slusarek became a national powerhouse in alternative radio (he now resides as Program Director for Minnesota Public Radio’s The Current) & singer Steve Timble became publisher of Time Out Chicago (now at The Wall Street Journal). I remember spending lots of great times with these guys, whether they were opening for Trip Shakespeare in Minneapolis, playing Mod Night at The West End in Chicago, or just partying in Champaign (their eventual home base during college years), they knew how to have a good time.

Here is three tracks from two cassettes; coincidentally they are all songs that became a-sides of their 7″ singles, but using different recordings. Galesburg Bound was recorded at House of Chin’s in Champaign, November 7, 1987.

Suburban Wasteland

Galesburg Bound

Looking at You

Thanks to Jim McGuinn for granting me permission to post these here.

Here is a home demo of a song that Jim did with a drum machine, not really RF as a band, but great nonetheless:

Jackie’s Gone

6 Responses to “Reaction Formation two cassettes from the late 1980s”

  1. Will McCool February 7, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    these guys were great! We used to play them on WDGC. Somewhere in my basement, I still have the 45 of ‘Suburban Wasteland’. Without these guys, I don’t think there is a Lucky Boys Confusion.

    • Ole Skjefte February 12, 2013 at 9:03 am #

      Could this be the band that Peter Buck produced 6 songs for back in 1985 – never released?

      • gojohnnygo February 12, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

        Ole- nope. -Johnny

  2. Brenda November 15, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    Loved you guys! You played in Iowa City a bunch- never misseed a show! Great music, nice guys. I lost track of you guys…do you remember coming to our house to crash? Brenda and Kris on North Dodge street?

  3. Harley June 29, 2015 at 5:23 pm #

    I still have my Mod Night flyers, including the one above. Collected them at Vintage Vinyl until I worked up the nerve to see the shows. A dream come true for a suburban kid.


  1. Reaction Formation – Mark David Chapman ep (1990, Never So Few) | musicnukeblog - April 28, 2016

    […] a janglier aptitude that must have slotted in well on left-of-the-dial playlists, de rigueur in Reaction Fromation’s day.  A smattering of singles were cut by these guys as well, one of which, “Galesburg […]

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