Chicago-based Evidence of a Struggle presents ‘Alan’s Song’, an intense slice of alternative / post-rock. This is the edge – it is the sound of fear, beauty and hubris. This is the sound of a beautifully crumbling grand distraction.
This new offering follows the debut single ‘Do’Oa’, which entailed a wonderful fusion of sounds recalling the works of Tortoise and 4AD artist Dif Juz. Cinematic, moody and invigorating, both tracks preview the forthcoming 13-track eponymous album, to be released on June 9.
The two videos for both tracks are the first chapters of a six-chapter story-book, so to speak, created by Chicago artist John Airo, who has been involved with this project since the outset – creating videos, album covers and accompanying visuals for live performances.
Surrounding the musings of multi-instrumentalist William P C Simmons V a.k.a. Rev. Billy Simmons, Evidence of a Struggle is an evolving group of artists and musicians whose sonic creations may lead you to the center of the darkness or just might unfurl the universe before you with lush, cinematic, beautiful, and sometimes chaotic compositions.
“Alan’s song is some cinematic Ridley Scott rabbit hole. These songs generally start as observations or reflections on something going on in the world or in my life that affects us somehow. A friend Alan and I were talking about the state of affairs in our world, here in Chicago, family, etc. There has always been so much, too much to put into words. Something about our hubris, chaos, fear, love, hate and distraction,” says Rev. Billy.
“Alan’s song sounds like some of this ebb and flow, rising and falling. It’s somewhere right about to fall off the edge, but somehow floating above the chaos.”
Evidence of a Struggle began in 2020 during lockdowns. This ambitious effort sees Rev. Billy play every instrument – guitar, drums, piano, synth and violin – recorded and engineered from his home studio, The Glue Factory. With Covid restrictions lifted, he began working with Sanford Parker (Voivod, Russian Circles, Yob, Eyehategod, Wovenhand, Darkthrone, Youth Code, Pelican), who helped produce and record the final versions of the songs for this record, as well as mastering.
Shaped by a wealth of records inherited from his older sisters and their boyfriends, coupled with a childhood of playing piano and clarinet until his first guitar acquisition at 16, Rev. Billy was quick to start playing with touring bands. After honing his craft and gaining invaluable experience, he elected to study music performance and guitar at Wichita State University, coupled with two and three-dimensional arts and silversmithing.
Noticed for his unique style and songcrafting, various musicians and labels began to notice Rev. Billy’s talent, and he ultimately had to choose between university and music. Beginning with RCA recording artist Ké, Simmons also wrote songs and played guitar for other artists on major record labels like RCA, Touch and Go, BMG and Universal.
In 2023, Matt Walker (of1000faces, Smashing Pumpkins, Morrissey, Garbage, Filter) became involved in this project, playing drums and helping with production with Matt’s brother Solomon Walker (Morrissey, Bryan Adams, Eastern Shadows, Year of the Rabbit) and Alan Berliant (Chris Connelly, Mavis Staples, Saint Asonia) also contributing bass.
Apart from music, Rev. Billy also owns Rev. Billy’s Chop Shop, known for high-quality haircuts, friendly, welcoming atmosphere and its inclusive, creative space. Hosting new artists’ work bimonthly, Chicago Reader declared this to be the city’s best gallery in 2019. A staple in the Chicago community, Rev. Billy’s Chop Shop is as strong a passion as his music.