The Jerks

Most of the Illinois Valley’s music scene lived in a bigger town an hour and change south of LaSalle/Peru’s modest twin cities, but for guitarist Alan Thacker and drummer Dick Verucchi, “Will it play in Peoria?” was never the question. Their post-graduation country-yacht quartet Buckacre had lit out in 1976, recording an album with Glyn Johns for MCA and touring with the Outlaws and Jimmy Buffet before calling it quits in 1979. After licking their wounds back home, Thacker and Verucchi traded in faded Laurel Canyon cowboy hats for snappy sports coats and skinny ties. Their new wave cover band, Hamburger & the Works, made it two weeks before becoming simply The Works. But locals paying to see the band’s steady gigs at Three N’ Company, Friday’s, and Murphy’s Saloon gigs preferred a rhyming nickname that better suited their misplaced preppy new wave: The Jerks. The customer is always right.

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