Interview – Top Shelf Lickers

The following fill in the blanks come from Chicago-based punk rock band, Top Shelf Lickers. This four piece consists of members Neil Turk (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Matt Cushing (bass), Tim Flynn (guitar, vocals), and Derrick Martens (drums). Their latest release, an EP titled Heart Beats Brain!, was released in January of 2014. My two favorite tracks are titled “Without You” and “It’s Never Enough.” Over the years, the band has become known in the Windy City for their catchy songs and boundless energy. Learn more about Top Shelf Lickers from the responses below and be sure to catch them in Cleveland at The Foundry on May 24th!


Three words we’d use to describe us are…Fun, genuine, hairy.

The story behind the band name Top Shelf Lickers is….Since I (Neil) have been in the bar business all my life I wanted a band name that had a bar or drink reference.  One day I was talking about names with “Big” Dave at Studio 333 and he suggested Top Shelf Lickers.  I loved it because it can be interpreted in many ways.  Some think of guitar licks some think of other kinda licks.

The pickiest eater is….me (Neil).  Growing up I didn’t eat much more than pickles, hardboiled eggs and pizza.  I eat lots of things now but there are still many things that I have never even tried, like a burrito or meatloaf.  I’m willing to try lots more these days but sometimes I just can’t get past the look of something.

The most OCD person….would have to be me as well.  I’m constantly using hand sanitizer and triple checking things like making sure the doors are locked and things are unplugged.

For fun we like to….play music, cuz we ain’t doing it for the money!  We practice every Monday and we just have so much fun laughing and busting balls.  We also go to musicals and shows for fun.

We are currently listening to….all sorts of stuff, I don’t think anyone in the band listens to the same stuff.  To name a few bands I’d say the Menzingers, Butch Walker, My Morning Jacket, NOFX, Ace of Base, Led Zeppelin and the Grateful Dead.  We all come from different musical backgrounds and genres but when we are together we play high energy rock and roll with a heavy punk influence.

Our favorite songs of all time include….

  • NOFX – “Lower”
  • Led Zeppelin – “Remains the Same”
  • The Beatles – “In My Life”
  • Alkaline Trio – “This Addiction”

We find inspiration from….real life personal experiences, people and things that we like or hate.

One thing we want you to remember from listening to our music is….that you shouldn’t take things too seriously including our songs.  Have fun, enjoy the music and live your life on your terms.

The first song that we wrote together is called “Rest Of Us” it is new and should be recorded this year.

Something odd we want our fans to know about us is….that we are all lovers together and we have a ritual of making out with each before shows.  Pretty weird huh?

We are absolutely terrified of….roller coasters and rap music.

Our last meals would be….my moms pasta, tacos and pizza.

In the next 6 months you should expect….a new EP!



– Victoria

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