Dan Aykroyd’s Blues Brothers memories

“The Blues Brothers (Collector’s Edition)” (Universal Studios)

Would have been fun to stumble upon The Blues Bar. Wonder which building specifically Dan Aykroyd is talking about?

1355 wells

On the Blues Bar:

“Here’s the story on that. When Second City switched companies with the Toronto company, which I had been a part of, I moved to Chicago. I lived there with John Candy. I was with Gilda (Radner), too. I fell in love with Chicago and loved being a resident. I explored the blues culture and would go to Checker Board Lounge and blues clubs on Halsted. I absorbed the culture. And at that time there was this bar on Wells, near Second City and the Old Town Ale House. It was yellow and had been one of the few houses to survive the big fire. So when we came out to make the movie, we found the lease on the place was up. So John and I took the lease and basically opened this (unlicensed) tavern. We would come to drink when we had time off. Weekends became precious to us during that shoot. We’d go across the street to see improv, wake up at four in the afternoon. We were living in Astor Towers. But the bar — we gave everything away, it was basically a promotional thing. But a lot of musicians came through. Jackson Browne. Joe Walsh.”

(click to continue reading Dan Aykroyd’s Blues Brothers memories: On the 30th anniversary of The Blues Brothers, Aykroyd recalls filming the blockbuster comedy in Chicago – chicagotribune.com.)

Wells Street in the rain

Haven’t seen The Blues Brothers in years and years, not since before I moved to Chicago actually. Curious to how it plays now that I have some familiarity with the city and its history1

One more snippet from the interview:

“Our story (Jake and Elwood get their band back together to raise money for an orphanage) came from a newspaper story. The story was that the city was going to levy taxes on orphanages with schools located in them. So this is where we came up with this idea of dealing with state and religion, because if you look at many Catholic populations, in Chicago, and in Canada, where I’m from, the two are pretty linked. I think we used that as a starting point, then dealt with other cultural characteristics and figures.

Certainly when we were there, (the film) was spoken of as this great event, and the city, of course, became a character alongside all those great musical numbers and beautiful musicians, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, James Brown. The antagonists are the state, and Landis did a great job — Chicago looks as good as Paris the way he treated the architecture and drawbridges and the grit of some of the factories on the South Side. … Certainly Chicago was this known cultural entity. In Europe, they know Capone and the blues and the architecture, so I think the city was already famous, of course, but what we did was enhance its beauty while poking fun at its institutions. But it was John Landis’ picture. It wasn’t perfect, but to this day if you have someone who has never been to America before, (that film) might provide them a lot.”

  1. Netflix []

5 thoughts on “Dan Aykroyd’s Blues Brothers memories

  1. Marie says:

    It’s the middle of the night, the phone rings. Hello? It’s Jimmy Toronto. “Hi! I’m at ______ partying with the Blues Brothers. You should come out and join us.” I didn’t go. I was too asleep.

    The name of the place escapes me, but it has to be the bar in the article. If I remember, I’ll let you know.

  2. Marie says:

    Sorry. I shouldn’t comment in the middle of the night. It wasn’t the Blues Bar. It was another place. Coherence to follow at a later date.

  3. ha, that’s great. In fact, I’m going to retell this story in the future, and not mention that it was retracted later. 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.