BY SARAH TEREZ-ROSENBLUM
For once I felt certain my feelings were reciprocated. Genuinely interested in my plans, he beamed when I approached, anticipated my needs, and let slip tidbits about his private life. The most significant sign? He never once forgot my drink order. Obviously, our love flowed pure and true.
Then one day he was gone, no more a barista, instead a full-time musician, and September’s Chicago Crush of the Month: Ian Westerfer, speaking on behalf of his band.
Name: Rod Tuffcurls and the Bench Press. Sorry bout that...
Hometown: Chicago is where we hang our collective hat (a large, awkward, oddly-shaped hat), but we play wherever the good lord takes us, as long as there's a couch to crash on and some decent cheese curds.
Profession: Rocking out!
Hobbies: Little known fact: The Bench Press invented the sport of Nutball. It's too detailed to explain in full; suffice it to say Rod won't play with us because he wants to have kids someday.
What inspired you to create a cover band? It all started when a friend wanted Rod to play at her wedding. Cue Hollywood montage of Rod chomping on a cigar, racing around Chicago in a red Lamborghini to beat the clock and recruit a ragtag band of music-playing mercenaries with funny names just days before the wedding – time's running out, gotta learn these songs, OH GOD not one of us owns a decent suit! And then we learned a bunch of songs and had fun and got paid and ate wedding cake.
How did you come up with your band name? Rod has a magical word generator hidden deep in his ass, from which he pulls the most random things. Our name happened to be one.
Favorite song to cover? Shockingly, "Party in the U.S.A." is really, really fun to play. Please don't tell the other guys I said that.
Song you wish you never had to play again? "Brown-Eyed Girl." I would rather kill myself onstage.
Describe your perfect day. "Rod Tuffcurls & the Bench Press's Perfect Day," by C.C. Ryder: Double Jim-Jim (creepy drummer guy) cooks up some Rick Bayless-inspired Mexican breakfast, then swimming, Frisbee, and some Nutball on the beach. Shopping for short-shorts and knee-socks at American Apparel, four-man nap in either a hammock or a really big heart-shaped bed, some vocal exercises in the car with the windows down (you should see the looks we get), a killer show at one of our favorite venues, a big bucket of Gatorade and money being poured over our heads, then doing Bearfights and dancing until the club has to physically remove us from the dance floor! Oh, and then Taco Bell.
Relationship Deal breaker? Uncle Sex (lead singer-type guy) has threatened to quit the band so many times, but he's still in, so [though] we haven't figured out the "deal breaker" yet, we're trying.
First crush? Pawl the Tiger, our mascot, he was our driving force. He was actually our manager for a little while there. But he was taken from us one drunk and stormy night outside a club, and he couldn't get away … because he was a stuffed animal.
Why are you crushworthy? What isn't crushworthy about four geeks in short-shorts playing Miley Cyrus and Kelly Clarkson songs to a giant stuffed Pikachu doll?
Any questions for me? Um, well this is kind of awkward, but ... why are you still looking at me through those binoculars? I'm literally sitting across the table from you.
To stalk the band, visit RodTuffcurls.com
Sarah Terez Rosenblum (@SarahTerez) is an MFA-holding writer, teacher and Spinning instructor. She's also the Theater Listings Editor for Centerstage Chicago. Look for her posts twice a week.