Louise Post
Credit: Alison Dyer

Editor’s Note: Louise Post’s show Thursday night at Lincoln Hall has been cancelled, along with the rest of her tour, due to illness. Post announced via her Instagram account that rescheduled dates will be soon be announced, and refunds will be available at the point of purchase.

LINCOLN PARK – As one half of the driving force behind the band Veruca Salt, Louise Post was at the crest of the alternative music wave that swept Chicago in the ‘90s.

Now nearly thirty years after Veruca Salt’s heyday, Post is returning to where her music career first kicked off, on her first solo tour, with an appearance Thursday night at Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave.

Post famously was “fixed up” musically with her Veruca Salt bandmate Nina Gordon by their mutual friend, actor Lily Taylor. The two immediately meshed creatively (and vocally), leading to a radio-ready single, “Seether,” and the band — which also included bassist Steve Lack and Gordon’s brother Jim Shapiro as drummer — quickly signed to major label Geffen and released two records: American Thighs and Eight Arms To Hold You.

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By the end of the decade, Gordon left Veruca Salt, and Post kept the band going for several years with different members. She eventually moved to L.A., where she now lives with her husband, musician Tony Parks, and daughter. In 2014, the original lineup of Veruca Salt reformed, and released the well-received album Ghost Notes the following year. Now Post is out on touring with her first full-length solo release, Sleepwalker, with a stop in Chicago this week.

What first drew Post, who grew up in St. Louis and went to Barnard College in New York, to Chicago was not music but theater.

She was visiting here and went to go see The New Criminals, John Cusack’s theater company, which was then offering inventive and improv “punk rock theater, guerilla style and one of the funniest things I’d ever seen,” she said

Post was so intrigued that she moved to Chicago and joined the company for two years, but ultimately decided that for a creative outlet, writing songs would offer her more autonomy than being an actor. “I wanted to be my own director, my own producer, my own creator, and not to be beholden to even a man’s theater company,” she said.

So Post started recording her own songs on a four-track, eventually collaborating with Gordon. At the time, Veruca Salt was just one of a number of bands in the Chicago area benefiting from the city’s vibrant and thriving music scene. Smashing Pumpkins, Urge Overkill and Liz Phair were in the forefront, but Veruca Salt and several other bands were right behind them.

“The theater community I was in was just on fire,” Post said. “It was similar to the music community I soon found myself in,” naming then-local-band-contemporaries like Triple Fast Action, Local H, Loud Lucy and Red Red Meat, as well as Menthol and Hum from Champaign.

“We just loved all those bands around us.”

Post lived in various neighborhoods in the city, particularly Andersonville, before moving to the music hub of Wicker Park for a few years before eventually departing for L.A.

“It was such a fertile time for music, a creative time. All our friends were musicians. We had not a care in the world, except … everything was hinging on every move we made,” she said with a laugh. “Every little step we took felt so important. We had the luxury of being carefree enough to just focus everything we had into our music.”

“I think back to the ‘90s now and it seems all so naïve with everything we’ve all experienced now,” she said. “[But] I think back to that time very fondly. Even just the first snowfall in Chicago, I would always play Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’. And I can’t do that in L.A. because we don’t get snow. “

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Coming to Chicago this week, she says, is “incredibly meaningful, very much like a homecoming.” Although she played Lincoln Hall previously with Veruca Salt when they were out promoting Ghost Notes, “This whole tour is my first time playing these new songs, this new record, fronting my own band, being out under my own name. Across the board I feel in a way more vulnerable and raw,” she said.

It’s a new experience for Post, “and yet, the same fans are coming,” she said. “I see familiar faces everywhere I go. I’m playing some Veruca Salt classics, songs from every chapter of my career thus far.”

The latest release, Sleepwalker, “started taking shape in a different way,” Post said. She was eager to make another Veruca Salt record after Ghost Notes, but “years were passing, and then Covid hit,” and Post kept writing more songs. The result is a deeper, richer release than what fans are used to hearing from Post: While she maintains much of her catchy ferocity, like on pop-punk single “Guilty,” Sleepwalker also offers tracks that are surprisingly ethereal and orchestral, with piano lines, strings, even trumpet on “Secrets.” “What About,” a devastating ode to a lost friend, combines both of Post’s musical sides, a melodic lament punctuated by the emotional rage she feels because her friend is no longer there.  

Now Post gets to bring these new songs back to where her music career first launched, coming full circle. “I’m just going to be so happy to be back in Chicago,” she said. “I love Chicago. It’s always going to feel like home to me.”

Tickets are still available for Louise Post’s appearance at Lincoln Hall Thursday night. They’re $20 in advance, $25 at the door. 18 and older. The Dumes open. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. For more info, see the Lincoln Hall website

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Arts & Culture Editor Twitter @gwenemarie