The Slugs

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The Slugs
Origin Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genres Rock
Years active 1983–present
Labels Pravda Records, Chicago
Famous Mistakes, Chicago
Website Official website
Members Dag Juhlin
Gregg Juhlin
Johnny L.
Mike Halston
Past members Al Paulson
Tristan Gallagher

The Slugs are an American rock band from Chicago, Illinois, United States. Starting in 1983, the band plays power pop heavily influenced by bands such as the Who, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Kinks.


The Slugs grew out of basement jam sessions by brothers guitarist Dag and bassist Gregg (born Dale Gregory) Juhlin and guitarist Al Paulson in Paulson’s Park Ridge, Illinois home. All three were co-workers at SportsVision (later renamed SportsChannel and FoxSports Chicago). By the early eighties, anxious to become a real band, the trio put out an ad for a drummer that was answered by Chicago native Mike Halston. The Slugs were officially formed on March 6, 1983.

Al Paulson left the group soon after, and they were later joined by English vocalist Tristan Gallagher who left in 1985. The group put out their first single, "Walking in Circles/Give Me a Sunday" in 1986 on Susstone Records. Their second single, "Back to the Playground/Now They Can All Lie Down," was issued on Pravda Records.

The Slugs led Sunday Night Mod Nights at the West End bar located at Racine and Armitage in Chicago, along with other local favorites I-Spy and Reaction Formation.

In 1988, while still a trio, the Slugs put out their first album, Non-Stop Holiday, on Pravda Records. The record sleeve displayed a photograph of an adolescent Mike Halston. The band toured extensively throughout the Midwest, gaining a cult following but little notice from record companies.

In 1990, Johnny L (born John Lukashevich), formerly a sound man for the group, officially joined the band as lead guitarist, with Dag moving to rhythm guitar. Frequently taking long hiatuses due to tensions within the group, the Slugs creative output was meager. The band’s second album, Fort Fun (Pravda Records), was released in 1992; their third, Junior (Famous Mistakes Records), in 2000. The band frequently played at local Chicago bars such as Schuba’s and the Hideout. A rumored fourth album has not appeared.

The band announced that they would reunite on January 22, 2010 for one show at the Abbey Pub in Chicago to celebrate Pravda Records' 25th anniversary, along with Pravda bands the Service and Boom Hank.


The Slugs' onstage demeanor can be described as raucous, irreverent and energetic, an energy that is only rarely translated in their recorded music. The band often breaks into outright comedy on stage trading inside jokes with each other and their core fans. They frequently launch into cover versions of songs from the Who as well as other songs such as Blue Swede’s "Hooked on a Feeling," "Winter Wonderland" and The Kings' "Switching to Glide." The majority of the songs are written by Dag Juhlin with some others by Gregg and Johnny L.

The Slugs released a video to the song "Margaret," the opening track of their album, Junior.

Other projects[edit]

Before the Slugs, Dag Juhlin was in a band called Horizon and Dag and Gregg were in a band called Chaser. Drummer Mike Halston was bandmates with James Pintozzi in 1981 & 1982 (later bass player for Johnny L band).

From 1992-1999, Dag Juhlin was lead guitarist for Poi Dog Pondering. Dag began appearing with the group again as early as 2001, and by 2005 was an official member of the band again.

Johnny L released a solo album, Brain Pop, in 1999 on The Orchard label. Johnny played shows supporting this release with Slugs drummer Mike Halston and bass player of Chicago's Boom Hank, Clark Hayes.

Dag released a 2CD demo collection "House Music" in 1999, as well as a solo record, "Into The Woods" in 2004 on his own 11:14 Records.

Dag Juhlin is also a member of the Goldstars along with members of other Chicago indie rock icons, the New Duncan Imperials and Krinkles.

Dag and Gregg formed The Greenwoods in early 2005 along with former Daisy Chain/Mind Bomb drummer and fellow Park Ridge, Illinois native, Jim Bashaw and, for a time, singer Paul Tomasec. Tomasec performed one gig with the group and eventually left the (at that point still unnamed) band after roughly six months. In December 2010, Gregg Juhlin broke up The Greenwoods via an announcement on the group's Facebook page, catching both his bandmates completely off guard.

Gregg Juhlin played bass and toured with The Service, The New Duncan Imperials and Cheer-Accident. Gregg Juhlin also played bass on several tracks of Johnny L's "Brain Pop" album.

Dag played a pair of shows as guitarist for Robert Pollard (Guided by Voices) in winter, 2007. At the time it was rumoured that more shows may take place in summer, 2008.

In 2010, Dag started a cover band called Expo '76 with keyboardist Kenn Goodman (The Service, New Duncan Imperials), drummer John Carpender (Michael McDermott, Barrelhouse Chuck) and bassist Ralph Baumel (The Crayfish).[1]

In 2018, Dag released the album Blue Music with new band Sunshine Boys, including Freda Love Smith on drums and Jackie Schimmel on bass.[2]


  • "Walking in Circles", single, -- Susstones, 1986
  • "Back to the Playgrounds"—single, Pravda, 1987
  • Non-Stop Holiday—Pravda, 1988
  • 20 Explosive Dynamic Super Smash Hit Explosions—cover of Hooked on a Feeling (Pravda, 1991)
  • Fort Fun – Pravda, 1992
  • Super Fantastic Mega Smash Hits! - Hooked on a Feeling - (BMG/Backyard/Pravda, 1995)
  • "Margaret" - Home Brewed in the Windy City - (WXRT/Starbucks, 1999)
  • Junior – Famous Mistakes, 2000
  • "Honey Rose" - Urbs in Horto compilation (Johann's Face) 2003
  • Table Scraps - compilation/retrospective - fan club release 2005


External links[edit]