Bluesy garage rockers alive with new EP

By HermineBloom

There’s never an inopportune time to form a band, which was made evident by the Chicago-based garage blues trio Dead Sheriff. With no real intention of starting an official group, George Coutretsis, lead vocals and guitar, Brian Robertson, bass, and drummer Nick McKiernan began playing together a mere six months ago. Now, they’re focused on performing at intimate local venues and distributing a four-song EP.

The Chronicle recently talked to Coutretsis about the beginning stages of a band born out of happenstance including the inspiration for their name, where they hope to play in the city and why fans might be confused when they look up Dead Sheriff.

The Chronicle: I heard you just started playing shows; does that mean you guys formed the band recently?

George Coutretsis: We’re about four or five shows deep right now. We’ve been playing together in some sort of formation for probably about a year now. I’ve known our drummer Nick for a while, and we’ve passed through some bands in our day. About a year ago, I was not playing music for the first time in a while—kind of on purpose, to be honest with you. I just got the urge to play and not even start a band; to just get together with friends a couple nights a week and have nothing come out of it. So, I called Nick and [he and I] jammed once or twice a week for a couple of months. There was no intention of a band forming, but a band formed of course. We started writing songs, and we really liked what was happening. So maybe six months ago…we got in contact with Brian because we wanted to add a little bass.

The Chronicle: There’s another band called Dead Sheriff out there. Were you guys aware of that?

GC: Someone was talking about this. I think it’s a broken-up metal band from Sweden or something. We are not that band, and I don’t know if they exist anymore. But yes, that’s been a little more complicated for people who were expecting to hear us.

The Chronicle: Where did you guys draw inspiration for the name Dead Sheriff?

GC: The name came from a mutual friend of ours after a night of getting drunk. We were trying to find a band name that fit the music we were playing. The music we’re playing is pretty dirty, bluesy, [with] elements of garage. It’s kind of dangerous, and it’s kind of rockin’. Somehow or another, those words seemed to go well together. It’s kind of as easy as that.

The Chronicle: Where have you played so far, and where are you hoping to play in upcoming months?

GC: We’ve played a couple Chicago shows so far. We played up in Andersonville—a little place called The Transistor. We played at The Tonic Room before that. We’re all based in Chicago, and we’re definitely a Chicago band. The rules when we started this band were that there would be absolutely no rules. And that goes for the music we’re writing, where we are going to play and want to play. Eventually, we’d love to play bigger venues. We’re a pretty loud band and so far, the three or four places we’ve played have been really, really small, which is cool because there’s nothing cooler than playing a really small show. But I think we’ve been hurting people’s ears, so it would be nice to expand and play a little bit bigger of a venue because we might sound a little better.

The Chronicle: Is there a Dead Sheriff album on the horizon?

GC: We just finished recording a four-song EP at a studio on the South Side called Clava Studios. Our friend Colin [Sipos] did it. Literally, just two or three days ago we got the final mixes. As for what we’re going to do with it now, we’re not quite sure. We’ll probably hand it out for free to anyone who wants to listen or wants free music. But eventually, within the next coming weeks, we’ll probably sell them for very cheap and bring them to shows and see where that takes us. We certainly have enough songs to do a full-length, so that’s the next step.

For more information visit Dead Sheriff is performing at Gallery Cabaret, 2020 N. Oakley Ave., on

Nov. 13.