Two days from embarking on a month-long tour in support of The Ike Reilly Assassination’s newest album, Junkie Faithful, frontman Ike Reilly is shopping at a drug store in his hometown of Chicago.
“I’m buying birth control for the tour,” he says over his cell phone. It isn’t clear if he’s joking or not.
Talking to the eccentric Reilly is an exercise in shooting the shit. Nothing comes across as particularly serious and perhaps only half his musings are factually based. It’s the same sort of persona that penned the lyrics to songs such as “Farm Girl,” about romping in the hay with a girl “with dirt in her hair and grass in her teeth,” or “What a Day,” a catchy and sickly upbeat tune about the day of his mother’s funeral—“Everybody got a new suit!” Fact or fiction is anyone’s guess.
“It will basically just be five greasy city boys,” he says, previewing the band’s first ever stop in Missoula. “We’re just really excited to play some rock ’n’ roll. It’ll be fun. There’s a lot of spontaneity.”
Reilly’s lyrics are acutely funny yet refreshingly sincere. Asked about his tongue-in-cheek humor, he pauses and says, “Well, [the lyrics] are packed full of experiences…and lies…there’s no rules. They happen to be truthful, but not every word is gospel. Because, you know, the gospel is bullshit.”
Reilly’s band sounds reminiscent of a more comprehensible and contemporary Bob Dylan. His three albums, including Junkie Faithful, also offer hints that Reilly may have listened to Beck, Paul Westerberg and Tom Petty.
“Well, we’re white guys with guitars,” he says of the comparisons. “They’re not going to compare us to Snoop Dogg or Jessica Simpson. I mean, I listened to Dylan as a kid, but I’m not insulted because I know we are an original band. My thoughts are original.”
The Ike Reilly Assassination plays the Elk’s Lodge Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 8 PM. Stomping Ground opens. $8.