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Band History

Current Members
Jenn Frank
Alex Thomas
Will Butler
Eric Tal
Adam Yanke
Mark Bowden

Former Members
Dave Wiemer
Andy Brommel
Rob Smierciak
Band History

The band America now knows and loves as Citizens on Patrol was born in the spring of 2001, the brainchild of Dave Wiemer and Alex Thomas, as a direct response to what they saw lacking in the local music scene. Rather than a showcase of musical skills, lyrical complexity, and a way to peddle their wares, they dreamed of a band whose only goal in life was to play their hearts out and thoroughly entertain the audience. Their vision was of a cover band with a female vocalist that would play high octane power pop.

Having been recently reunited with high school friend bk, the two wanted to put this plan into action. That summer they formed the band Cousin Larry (along with Matt Wiemer and Jessica Manske) to play a friend's graduation party. They rocked Glenview, IL's world, then promptly never played together again.

For a year and a half Alex and Dave continued to dream about reforming a band of some sort. After class one day, they recruited Jenn Frank as lead singer (without any direct knowledge of her vocal abilities - thankfully, they lucked out). In the winter of 2003, the three finally saw their opportunity. They had heard Northwestern's Dance Marathon was accepting submissions for their Battle of the Bands. The time for diplomacy had passed. The three headed to the Wiemer basement to record a demo tape (literally) of a few songs they knew they could play. Not thinking they would be accepted, they kept it a trio with occasional assistance on guitar from Dave's father (who is blind). The tape was submitted, along with a lie. Written on the tape was a description of the band as power poppers who dressed as a flight crew and were called Sandpiper Air (from the hit nineties sitcom, "Wings"). No such band existed. At least yet.

To their surprise, their submission was accepted. But now they knew they needed an actual band. Shredder bk was re-enlisted as lead guitarist (after some convincing that the uniforms would be cool). With Alex on drums, Dave and bk on guitars, and Jenn on vocals, they needed a bass player. Alex began writing an email to Will Butler asking if Dave could borrow his bass for the contest. Halfway through the letter, Alex realized that Will was perfect for the band and he should ask him to join. So Alex asked, and Will was brought "on board."

From there they jumped into rehearsals and bought their uniforms to dress up as a flight crew. Jenny as stewardess, Alex and Dave as pilots, bk as mechanic, and Will as male stewardess. True to their philosophy, they played high octane cover songs, playing everything from 60's Motown, to 80s tunes, to modern power pop. They accomplished their mission, rocked the crowd, and won the the Battle of the Bands. From there, they played in front of hundreds at the Dance Marathon. The dance-weary crowd was energized by their high octane covers. As their success took off from there, the band realized they were on to something.

In the spring of 2003, Will Butler left the band briefly to record an album with his real band, The Arcade Fire. In the interim, the band recruited Andy Brommel to fill in on bass. By the end of the summer, Dave Wiemer moved out to Hollywood, and most assumed it was the end of this successful experiment. But when Will returned in the fall ready to play, the band decided that they should continue playing together. Rather than stay on as Sandpiper Air, they decided to change the look (now performing as law enforcement personnel) and rename themselves Citizens on Patrol (as a tribute to the cinema classic, "Police Academy 4"). A new era was born. The gigs continued to roll in and the band recruited trained dancer Eric Tal and barely-trained walker Mark Bowden as COP's official District Attorney/Convict dancing duo. At the end of 2003, bk ran off to Boulder, CO in search of nirvana. To fill the vacancy, Eric was promoted from dancer to guitarist and Mark was demoted from dancer to manager. In 2004, Adam Yanke was recruited as bailiff/keyboardist to provide the synths and order in the court that COP so desperately needed.

The band continues to roll along, now playing original music as well, but never forgetting their original mission: to play their hearts out and thoroughly entertain audiences everywhere they go.

Click here to read individual band member bios!