More About Eric Lee

Musical History 

Eric Lee (Chicago)

Songwriter, Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals, Lyricist

Arranger: Instrumentation, Vocal,3-part harmony

As a guitar player, I learned during the ‘70s with all that great music of the time.

My influences: 

Ritchie Blackmore - big time! Robin Trower,, Rory Gallagher, Carlos Santana and so many others ‘70s guys.

Studied Music & Sound Engineering at Columbia College

Got my first guitar at age 8. Began singing arount age 16.

I began to make up songs in my bedroom and ping-pong two cassette recorders to get the number of tracks I wanted - not many. Guitar, vocals, and a lead maybe.

Had to buy a TEAC 3340 reel-to-reel to really do it right, or so I thought.

All kinds of musical investments - Guitars, Keyboards and MIDI gear, a Macintosh SE/30, and boy was I rocking. Anyway, been writing a long time.

Had two friends, Jeff Bell and David Gilpen on bass and drums. Long time friends from the neighborhood. We had a LONG run of coming up with stuff together. We came up with a lot of original stuff to jam on as well as tunes I’d find in the fake books - good stuff.

I kept jamming with those guys for a long time and while I was playing in other bands. Those guys moved way out in different directions, but THAT led to a LOT more original tunes flowing out of me.


I went through a lot of bands, basement, attic, friends. scoured the Illinois Entertainer for more musicians. I wish that were more fruitful, but had some long running bands. Headfirst was one of those - a 5-piece cover band and we got a taste of some nice stages. What, 1980’s somewhere?

Me, Kurt Schmaltz on vocals and guitar, Ray Burakowski on keys, and my good old friend Jeff Bell on bass.

Had some good fun there. Blasted the hell out of JJ Martina’s when we brought a private sound company - PA gear was due for testing, i guess. My god was that loud!


Found George Plant and Bob Vawter in the IE. They were Deep Purple fans - perfect, and Vawter had this power voice. Performed some the originals they had, then that situation split, but kept playing with those two. More original stuff.


Me, George and Bob covered a lot of Aerosmith tunes and came up with the idea to do an Aerosmith tribute with Dan Parker on drums and Gregg Darrough on 2nd guitar. Eventually got Paul Martin on vocals -thank you Nick Cox.

 TOYS IN THE ATTIC - THAT was a pretty darn good combo, but ahead of it’s time because the real tribute scene came later.

I think some live rehearsal recordings will wind up on this site.

After that, I swore off covers (not the first time) and went on with Jeff and Dave.

SLACKERJACK (the band that  mainly performed my original material, yay!)

So, my brother’s friends had a band with Mike Mirto on drums and backing vocals, and Rick Finnegan on bass and vocals. I thought they sounded good, and somehow I guess I lured them. I had a BUNCH of original music and we went to work on that. I wanted a separate vocalist so I could concentrate on being the single guitar player and I’d sing harmony. We went through a bunch of vocalists, but came across Mike McMahon who we did a lot of gigs with until Mirto decided he wanted to go back to a cover band. With that break I started doing all the lead singing and then Mirto decided to come back with us. By the way, Mike Mirto was now the 2nd DRUMMER with perfect pitch. Barry Stern was the other drummer with perfect pitch. Dang.

Somewhere in there we got Rick Radzik on keys and he was a big purple ban with a leslie and everything. Wow, now we’re talking. I’ve got a LOT of live rehearsal recordings  of that band.

That was really taking shape and the vocal arrangements were really good. Nobody was doing vocal stuff like that and especially with original material. We recorded a lot of things, but at my place and not “radio” ready.

Tragically Rick “Bubba” Finnegan on bass and vocals died - perforated ulcer? Devastating. No way to even think of trying to recruit another bassist for an original thing cause he was one us three. i didn’t play for four years - I couldn’t even look at my music room.

I think that band went from 2000-2005 and I stepped out 2005-2009. Still wrote stuff though. I even started to sell stuff - but that is a whacky world that I might never talk about.


I worked at Tellabs as a software engineer for a long time and they had events that needed a band. Word went out, I answered and Mike Michor, keyboard player did too. Mike and I got on and he said his band needed a guitar player/vocalist. I went for it. Good stuff. Two guitars though, and I was new and my opinions didn’t really get traction. I left, but two of the guys, John Fornino on drums and Jason Thompson on bass were interested in doing a separate thing. That became NO SHOOTOUT the permanent 3-piece, mostly covers, but carefully picked covers and we adapted them - that’s the only way I’d do covers - Fuck note-for-note, sound-like-the-record bullishit! That band had a long long run. It was just pretty local, but it built a good following - it did,, and thank you BIG TIME to everyone that would come out for that band! I had a lot of fun using facebook for band stuff at that point, and it worked. Ahem…

Good band and it ran its course.

I’ll have recordings of that band available here too.

There was this new Aerosmith Tribute idea that I spent time on, but that’s all I’m going to say.


I had gone back to writing, but things changed in music and I didn’t have an avenue for the writing stuff, so back to doing gigs with you, know covers. Hell of a lot of fun though, cause a little here and there was pretty good. People sort of knew me.

Alex Kleiner, Peter Bartels, my long time buddy Mark, or Marko as they say, Patti Prendergast, all in there. Nice time.

COVID, but still able to gig.

In between I’d go back to writing, and then what happens?


Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band. Now the tribute scene was a big thing at this point. I got invited in and since there were gigs lined up despite COVID winding down, and a lot of other bands had just stopped. What a great set of gigs just right at hand, hell yeah.

A lot of out of town gigs, big stages and all that. if you’re from Chicago though, you know that story.

After a year and a half, a split was coming due, but timing was terrible cause I was free, but not ready for what was next.

i missed out on a couple of biggie things, and I had to lay really fucking low. So I wrote. LOL

Which brings me to this site. I could usually craft a tune to perform or give away and they didn’t have to be “radio”. 

Now, I’ve got too many tunes doing nothing and I guess I’d say ‘ya have to polish them’.

Or do ya? ;)

They’re going here either way.

Chronological List of Stuff

All of 2023

Composing and recording original material.

Archiving all existing recordings - huge

Developing a website for those archives

 (2020 - 2022)

LYNSKYNYRD - Tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd

Lead guitar (Collins)

Touring interstate

Backed nationals

Headlined locally

Huge fun, Lot’s of sacrifices.

Initiated the website

NO SHOUTOUT (2013  - 2019)

Performing covers

Lead guitar, Lead and harmony vocals

Locally popular, long-running 3-piece

Non-typical hard rock covers

Years of 4-hour single-band gigs

Eric Lee, Jeff Bell and Dave Gilpen, Sara Hollister (2003 -2017)

Composing and recording original material

Brothers of Convention, Denominator (2012 - 2013)

Performing covers

Composing and marketing original music (2006 - 2012)

SLACKERJACK (1998 - 2005)

Original music

Founder, Composer, Leader

Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals

Composed all instrument and vocal arrangements

Lyrics, 3-part harmonies, Melodies, Bass, Drums and Keyboard parts - everything.

Recorder and mixer

Recruiting, booking, hiring, firing - all the wonderful roles

Ended when bass player Rick Finnegan passed. Devastating.

Aerosmith Trbute - Toys in the Attic (2005?)

One of the better ones

Why On Earth (2001-2002)

Original and cover music

Eric Lee, Jeff Bell and Dave Gilpen (1990 - 2004)

Original music