I’ve wanted to write an article spreading the “Love” for a while. After seeing the band, Lovehammers, rock a sold-out show at the House of Blues in Chicago, I felt it was time.
There are many things to love about the band.
First and foremost, half the band is Greek. Brothers Bobby (drums) and Dino Kourelis (bass) form the tough as nails rhythm section, with Billy Sawilchik on guitar and Marty Casey on vocals. The four of them have been buddies since meeting at T-ball as young boys. Well, fast forward several years and those little boys are now rockstars. With countless tours and CDs under their belt, they are generating major mainstream buzz with their latest release, Heavy Crown.
Born and raised in Chicago, Bobby and Dino Kourelis grew up like most siblings; best buds one minute and pummeling each other the next. Make no mistake about it–things haven’t changed one bit! But instead of wrestling in the front yard, they now fight over who will one day run Yiayia and Pappou’s olive fields in Nemea, Greece. Younger brother Dino jokingly says, “What would Bobby do with them? He doesn’t even eat olives. What Greek doesn’t eat olives?” Older brother Bobby quickly points out, “I worked in the olive fields with Pappou every summer, not Dino. I know how to grow them, he only knows how to eat them”. Laughing it off, the brothers mention they are actually awaiting a shipment of Pappou’s olive oil this month. “There’s no substitute for authentic Greek olive oil. Everything tastes better when you’re cooking with the real deal,” says Dino. Yet another reason to love him, he’s a rockstar on stage and in the kitchen. “I can make pastichio, yemista, dolmades, you name it, I can make it. I have all of my Yiayia Dorothy’s recipes.”
Dino shares his rich culture with his wife, Kim, and two small children. He proudly boasts, “My two year old, Johnny, knows “Feggaraki Mou Lambro”, his numbers and alphabet in Greek.” Ten-month-old Jesse, shows his Hellenic roots by wearing a bib that reads, “Spanakopita is an essential food group”. Dino wants the family traditions to live on through his children. He along with “Theo” Bobby took Johnny and Jesse to Greece last year to meet their great-grandparents. “We used to go as kids and it’s important to me that they do as well. It was great seeing my Pappou walk through the agora with my sons”.
Bobby and Dino are also members of SS. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Palos Hills, IL. That’s where they went to Greek school and that’s where their children will go when the time comes. “Bob and I hated going to Greek school, but now realize how important it was. It’s such a huge part of keeping our culture going. I want to make sure that doesn’t get lost in future generations.” The guys regularly attend church services and it seems even Father Panteleimon is a fan of the band. “One day, I went up to get my antidoron and Father Panteleimon said, ‘Hi Bobby! How’s the band going?’ “I thought that was so cool, I’d love to see him at one of our shows!”
Bobby, who is affectionately known as the Greek God of Thunder by his fans, is already planning to visit Yiayia, Pappou and his olive fields in August. When Dino hears that, he mischievously pipes in, “you mean my olives fields? Maybe I’ll just have to go with you”.