Unlikely as it may seem, one of the most popular tunes performed by a Chicago-based band is a song called "Syracuse."
When Windy City guitarist James Weigel wrote the song eight years ago he had yet to visit the Salt City. His inspiration was not our bedraggled burg itself but a pair of our rowdier residents. A young couple who lived here had crashed at a communal home of musicians, and their devil-may-care behavior inspired his tune.
The guy and gal, who drove a new SUV, had a baby boy with them when they visited the Midwest. Raising a child, Weigel noted, didn't stop those poor little rich kids from their primary pursuit -- getting high.
The song depicts the couple driving back home to Syracuse from Illinois. It features a catchy chorus with the lyrics: "And when you get back home to Syracuse/ You can rest your weary head/ Take some pills, sniff some cocaine/ Put the baby to bed."
Now, although Weigel's no longer with the band, the Henhouse Prowlers proudly perform "Syracuse" and will likely sing at their appearance at 8 p.m. Friday June 3 at the Homer Center for the Arts, 72 S. Main St., in Homer. Ticket prices range from $10 through $18; center4art.org; (607) 749-4900.
Despite its upbeat rhythm, "Syracuse" is a dark and brooding composition, a bitter slice of life prompted by a couple of wayward parents from our hometown.
The tune's description on YouTube describes it as "a poignant and riveting song about a young couple's propensity for drug use while raising a newborn child."
Story behind the song
In 2002, Weigel, who now has a wife and daughter of his own, was then living with a handful of band-mates in the Outlaw Family Band, a rock group in which he played electric guitar.