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The Effigies are considered one of the most important early punk rock groups in Chicago in the 1980s. The band, first formed in 1980, was active for approximately a decade, undergoing multiple personnel changes, with frontman John Kezdy the only constant, before disbanding in 1990. The band released 5 LPs and several EPs, most on Ruthless Records and distributed by Enigma. They toured outside of Chicago, notably including a live performance at CBGB in 1983, and received some radio airplay, principally on Northwestern University's WNUR and other college stations.

The Effigies' website states that they were one of the first punk bands in Chicago. This is a complicated claim for a band not formed until 1980, but true in the sense that the Chicago market was very late to discover or appreciate punk to any degree; in the half-decade after the The Ramones and The Sex Pistols first released records, Chicago remained dominated by blues, heavy metal, and even disco; punk bands had few places to play, and punk music fans had few places to hear live bands. Chicago's "progressive" radio station, WXRT, was never very supportive of punk. What most punk fans recall as the first "scene" in Chicago did not occur until the 1980s, when Oz and O'Banion's provided venues for live punk; Chicago Sun-Times music writer Jim Derogatis correctly terms the heyday of The Effigies "the second generation of Midwestern punks."

The Effigies are generally considered hardcore or post-hardcore and, to the extent it is distinguishable, Chicago hardcore. Indie rock pundit Steve Albini writes that The Effigies "were a moving force during a crucial and exhilarating time".

The Effigies re-formed in 2004 and play at punk revival shows as well as at Midwest punk venues such as The Bottom Lounge in Chicago.

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