Taking the Stage – Interview with Chip & The Charge Ups

Pittsburgh, PA based Power-Pop band CHIP & THE CHARGEUPS has released a creative music video for their Green Day/Poison Mashup, “Good Riddance, Fallen Angel.” Directed by Marcus Morelli of Skene 19 Films, the video recreates scenes from the original songs’ videos, combining the two seemingly unrelated storylines into a unified and entertaining narrative. Here is the interview conducted by Charlie Ross

You never know what will happen when music speaks to you. Evidently, in the case of lead vocalist Chip Dimonick of Chip & The Charge Ups the two songs that became their mashup “Good Riddance” and “Fallen Angel” was heard loud and clear. This band worked these two together very well, almost seems to be a natural organic flow.

Although this release is a mashup the pop side of who the band is according to Chip is becoming edgier. Let’s see what develops over time.

Charlie Ross: Would you say Chip & the Charge Ups is more of a pop or rock band?

CHIP DIMONICK:  We’re definitely more of a rock band.  The more we play together and the more songs that we write, we’re definitely evolving into a band with an increasingly obvious edge.

CR: How long have you all been playing together?

CHIP DIMONICK:  Chip & The Charge Ups formed in April 2018.

CR: Since there are various ages in the band is it a challenge to find venues to play in?

CHIP DIMONICK:  So far, no.  At least not in our hometown of Pittsburgh. About 10 years ago, they passed a smoking law in our region.  Part of that law essentially separated venues into “restaurants that serve alcohol” and “smoking bars.”  Because a lot of venues make a good bit of money from food, they have to ban smoking indoors.  For those venues, you can have under-21 people inside as long as they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.  So, that works in our favor whereas, 10 years ago, it wouldn’t.  It was much stricter.  It will be interesting to see how things are when we plan our future tours.

CR: What is the music scene like where you are?

CHIP DIMONICK:  The Pittsburgh music scene is ever-evolving.  When I first started performing regularly 13 years ago, it was pretty bad.  There wasn’t much interest in local music and, frankly, many of the bands were less than stellar.  Today, there is a lot of fan interest, some great bands, and plenty of institutional support for local music.  There are so many music festivals that have popped up and those have really helped to grow the fan base.  Pittsburgh radio and media are largely supportive, too.  Local music is getting more airplay than ever in my memory.  There are some media outlets and at least one radio station that have some ridiculous gatekeeping that stifles the scene a bit despite their facades of promoting local music.  But, I think they’ll come around.  Overall, Pittsburgh has become a really good music city and I think it is moving towards becoming a great music city!

CR: Reading somewhere that Chip’s daughter is in the band?

CHIP DIMONICK:  Yes!  Our bassist, Maleena, is my daughter!

CR: How do the dynamics work with dad and daughter playing together?

CHIP DIMONICK:  So far, so good!  Maleena brings great, youthful ideas to the band.  And she’s such a great, trained musician.  When we play together, it’s like waving a magic wand:  We’re not dad and daughter, we’re bandmates.  I respect her the same way I respect every other member.  But, we also have a closeness and a chemistry that adds value to the band.

CR: When suggestions or creative differences come up how do the two of you handle it?

CHIP DIMONICK:  I view the band as a foursome and not necessarily as a father/daughter duo and two other guys.  We talk through things as a foursome and make decisions accordingly.  As such, there’s never really a dad versus daughter creative disagreement.

CR: How about when some guy hits on your daughter Chip what happens… does the dad hat come out and how does the respect go down?

CHIP DIMONICK:  We haven’t run into that yet, thank God!  But, I’ve seen online videos of guys in the audience yelling out inappropriate things to female musicians on-stage.  I really, really hope that never happens to us.  Because an angry dad with a microphone can be a dangerous combination!

CR: Was this particular mashup a challenge to create?

CHIP DIMONICK:  In most ways, our Green Day/Poison mashup, “Good Riddance, Fallen Angel,” just kind of flowed naturally.  The most challenging part was probably the drums.  We recorded it before Jeff (DiPerna) was in the band and used a studio drummer.  We had to go measure by measure, listening to Rikki Rockett’s beats and fills and punching them in.  The drummer did a great job, but it did take about two hours of meticulous recording to get it perfect!

CR: Why did you pick these two bands to create a mashup from?

CHIP DIMONICK:  I kinda feel like I didn’t pick the two bands but rather that the songs picked me!  Those two songs just popped up into my head and got me thinking:  “Could I mash those up?”  I grabbed a guitar and let inspiration take over.  Before I knew it, I had a mashup!

CR: Any call yet from Green Day or Bret Michaels?

CHIP DIMONICK:  Not yet!  But if and when we hear from them, I hope it’s a positive reaction, especially if it’s in response to the video.  When you dress up as someone else, you never know if they will be flattered or insulted.  Hopefully, they are flattered because we love those artists and did the mashup as a pure tribute to them and their iconic songs.

CR: The video looked like you all were having a ton of fun together- do you find in general this band has fun together?

CHIP DIMONICK:  Absolutely!  This band has such a positive vibe.  Nearly every band has its “Debbie Downer.”  But not us!  Everyone is so enthusiastic and open-minded.  It’s great!  I think our audience feels that and that’s why we’re steadily building a really cool fan base!

CR: Have you all considered a Boy George and Frank Sinatra mashup?

CHIP DIMONICK:  Ha!  No.  And now you’ve ruined the chances of us ever doing that!  I love doing mashups.  But half of the fun and the challenge is figuring out two artists and two songs that will go together mind-blowingly well.  So, I would never do a mashup that someone outside of the band suggested.  Sometimes, people suggest mashups to us very seriously and it’s awkward telling them that we won’t use their idea.  It’s not because it’s a bad idea, it’s just that it has to come from our brains to be fun and authentic.  If it’s their brilliant idea, it just would feel icky doing it, even if they insist we have their blessing.  It’s kinda like someone saying “You should write a song called ‘Such and Such’ and here are the lyrics and here are the riffs and here are the chord progressions and here are the drum beats and so on.”  It just wouldn’t be our song.  And someone else’s idea of a mashup just wouldn’t be our mashup.

CR: Give us the scoop on what is next for Chip & The Charge Ups.

CHIP DIMONICK:  There is a ton of great music on the way from us in the immediate future!  We just released our debut album, “Flow of the Current, Part I (+)” in September.  Part II is done and we’ll be releasing that in the Spring of 2019.  We’ve written songs for our third album already and we’ll be recording them in the next couple of months and releasing them publicly in Fall 2019.  We have a membership program on Patreon (http://www.patreon.com/thechargeups) where fans can get our songs before they are released to the public and we intend on pushing that to make it as valuable an experience as possible for our fans.  We also hope to do some more music videos and hit the road very soon!  We really want to reach as many people as possible and allow them to experience that fun vibe we talked about!

Official Video for, “Good Riddance, Fallen Angel”

Chip and the Charge Ups on Social Media