Grunditz band aims to appeal to all listeners
From left, Silvi and George Grunditz of Northbrook from Out of Control, perform at Gig on the Green Aug. 7 at the North Suburban YMCA. | Karie Angell Luc~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 17, 2012 12:25PM
For a man who does it all, George Grunditz said quite simply, “I’m a band leader,” when asked to sum up what he does as principal of the band Out of Control.
His band appeared at Gig on the Green last week at the North Suburban YMCA in Northbrook. Grunditz, who plays keyboards and bass guitar, is also “the sound guy, and I carry all of this equipment in my trailer, I carry everything….”
The husband in Grunditz, he is married to Out of Control singer Silvi Grunditz, who also plays piano and guitar. Their two children are often seen at the band’s 50-60 annual performances.
Their daughter, Kristi, a pianist and flutist, will be a Northbrook Junior High School sixth-grader. George, a tenor sax and piano player, will be a NBJH seventh-grader.
Considered a dance band, Out of Control plays at public venues and also at private events, such as parties and weddings. With a horn section, influences such as Frank Sinatra and Glenn Miller are apparent.
Of Benny Goodman, George Grunditz says: “He’s great, sing, sing, sing…”
Raised in Northbrook, Grunditz started Out of Control in his basement studio in 1992. A graduate of the University of Miami’s music business program, he had a vision of giving audiences a high-energy show that would embrace multiple musical genres.
His goal was to platform music that would appeal to all ages. His band would cover styles from alternative and house music, featuring classics like The Beatles and Motown.
The band was fronted by two female lead vocalists, giving the band a unique presence.
“You want to make people dance,” said Grunditz, “people of all ages.”
“Our function is to play music that people love to dance to and that people love to rock out to, all genres and varieties.”
In its early years, Out of Control played at clubs almost every weekend, quickly forming a steady North Shore following.
Within the first year, George received requests to play at wedding receptions and company parties, thus earning a reputation as a bookable regional group.
The band, which started out as a five-piece group, added a three-piece horn section.
“It’s hard to look at this as work when you’re born with a love of music and you see smiles across the crowd,” said Silvi Grunditz.
George and Silvi say they are fortunate to have what they consider an amazing line-up of incredible Chicago area musicians.
Drummer Jeff Piljac has been with the group since 1996. Lisa Boyle, lead vocalist, has sung on numerous television and radio jingles. Guitarist Bill Uhler also has his own blues band and teaches guitar to children.
The horn section is made up of three Chicago area players: John Gutierrez on trumpet, Aaron McEvers on saxophone and flute, and Steve Duncan on trombone.
Out of Control’s musical focus is cover music.
“I change my voice to sound like the artist I’ve covering,” said Grunditz. “As a cover band, we try to emulate the original recordings note for note, same key, arrangement in the way audiences know and love them. We’re like the opposite of a jam band, we’re a cover band.”
When not gigging, Silvi works full time for Leo Burnett Advertising in downtown Chicago as a project director in the creative Department.
She’s enjoyed seeing memorable commercials made over the year for brands like Allstate, even meeting the Allstate spokesperson, “Mr. Mayhem” himself.
George Grunditz is a full-time musician, playing bass guitar, guitar, drums, piano, marimba, ukulele and kazoo.
He also runs a second band Alter Image and volunteer coaches Northbrook baseball .
In 1986, George met Silvi when she came to audition for the band. The rest, as the song goes, is history.