LGBA Presidents’ Other Business Is Rocking Out

Incoming La Grange Business Association president Steve Jasinski and outgoing prez Ryan Williamson play in new band Teknikal Diffikulties along with two rock vets.

The La Grange Business Association is known for representing the Village’s strong commercial community, but in early 2012, it also did something completely different: helped start a band.

It was through the Association that then-president Ryan Williamson met Steve Jasinski—his successor, and the current LGBA president—and the two began discussing their compatible skills with guitar and voice, respectively.

Starting with a tiny amp, a beat-up guitar and a random microphone, Williamson and Jasinski formed Teknikal Diffikulties, their own rock band, which has since swelled to include bassist Ken Valskis and drummer Jay Virzi.

“It’s a great relief away from work and the hustle of everything living, but you’re also doing something that every dude dreams of doing: being in a rock band, being that rock star,” Williamson said. “It’s awesome to get to be okay, to hear yourself and think, ‘we don’t suck.’”

They don’t. They’re pretty good, and much better since adding Virzi two months ago. (“A rock band without a drummer—you might as well just go home and not play at all,” Williamson laughed.) Practicing every Sunday morning in Jasinski’s garage in Countryside, the band is apparently even impressing the folk next door.

“We have the neighbors come up to us everyone once in a while, like, ‘hey’—they know the songs— ‘your version of Stone Temple Pilots was really good this week,'” Jasinski recalled. “And these are 60-year-old women—that’s pretty cool!”

Teknikal Diffikulties played its first gigs at the end of last year, opening at the Brew Moon festival and rocking the LGBA Christmas party. Now with Virzi, they are scheduled to play both the post-Pet Parade festival and Rocktoberfest in 2013, and as many more local shows as they can manage.

The band’s moderate age span—from 37 to 50, all dads—helps ensure that a blend of influences go into TD’s punk-rock sound, like adding an extra reggae kick to classics from bands like Pearl Jam, The Offspring, Green Day and The Ramones. Currently, their setlist is all covers, but a few originals may be in the works as well.

“We don’t have plans of being in Hollywood, but it’s fun to at least have a couple of tunes out here,” said Jasinski. “We’re not getting our heads too big, just playing here and there.”

Williamson is a financial advisor with Horizon Wealth Management; Jasinski a realtor with Baird & Warner, both in La Grange. Bassist Valskis, from La Grange Park, also has a local connection: he works with District 105 schools. (Virzi does IT out of Montgomery.)

This, of course, means that the band has to be a little bit cautious with its punk image. “We want to have a stage presence, but at the same time, we’re also professionals in the community,” Williamson said. “How far off the deep end can we go before people are like, ‘I can’t invest money with that guy!’”

While Jasinski and Williamson are TD's genesis, they have little experience in bands—that comes from Virzi and Valskis, both veterans of the suburban-Chicago music scene. Virzi has done studio gigs and currently plays in four total bands; Valskis has toured on the road, and spent 20 years with Chicagoland power-pop group The Vandalays.

“It’s fun playing with some newbies, because we get to mold them,” Valskis said, with the founders out of the room.

“Twist their little minds,” Virzi added.

Sinister. But for now, Teknikal Diffikulties, despite the potential portent of their moniker, appears to be fast on the rise.

“It’s been awesome, far better than I ever expected,” Williamson said.

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