With Chicago's early reputation based on being a city infested with organized crime during the turn of the century, it's only fitting that 88 Fingers Louie took their name from a piano-playing gangster, even if it was from an old Flintstones episode.
Not that any of them was involved in the Mafia. They just started out wanting to play sloppy, fun punk for themselves back in spring 1993. Later on that year, 88 self-released their first EP and appeared on a couple of local compilations before getting hooked up with Fat Wreck Chords in 1994. By releasing their EPs Go Away and Wanted, they were automatically dubbed as another "Fat Wreck Chords band" thanks to their galloping pop-punk sound, not-so-serious lyricism, and occasional harmonies; comparisons to NOFX and Lagwagon where usually present in every review. Rocco Records released the 10" Tootin' 40s and Fucking Shit Up that same year, before Hopeless Records issued their first full-length, Behind Bars, in 1995. With their next EP, Chicago vs. Amsterdam, in 1996, a full-scale tour followed shortly with gigs all throughout North America and Europe. But several months into it, band turmoil and the stress of being on the road kicked in, resulting in 88 Fingers to abruptly break up in July of that year, even with a whole bunch of U.S. dates left over. While the absence of the band took place, Fat Wreck Chords released The Teacher Gets It EP and The Dom Years 10" in 1997, while Hopeless re-released all their vinyl-only and hard to find material on Up Your Ass. But after a year and a half of being on hold, original members Dan Wlekinski (guitar, aka Dan Precision) and Dennis Buckley (vocals) wanted to continue on their 88 Fingers legacy in 1998 by adding Joe Principe (bass) and John Carroll (drums) as their new rhythm section. Back on the Streets was dubbed as their big "comeback" album that same year, even though only two original members remain in the band. A split with Kid Dynamite followed a year later. ~ Mike DaRonco