Rob Martwick, Illinois Rep, rocked his vocals and guitars in Wicker Park


Robert "Rob" Martwick

Robert F. Martwick, Illinois House of Representative, 19th District, sported a different persona Sat., Apr.  27, when he and the Chris N group rocked in Phyllis' Musical Inn, 1800 W. Division St. 

While Martwick tucked the guitar away when he was close to 9-years-old and when years later he told his bride that he wasn't going to run for a political office again, Saturday night was proof that life can take unexpected turns.

"I always loved music so much that I was mad at myself for not keep up. Then I got a picture from my friend Joe Calabrese. It showed his son sitting at a set of drums. On it he wrote, 'Remember those days?'" 


The Chris N

Martwick called Calabrese and found out that the drums were the same ones that had been in the Calabrese basement since he was about 9. Calabrese admitted that he was "playing around on them." Martwick headed for his basement. The two-some was about to revive efforts started several decades ago. 

"When we first got together, we sounded just awful. But we met some people and just kept playing," explained Martwick. Now the Chris N group has three guitarists, one base guitarist, a drummer, a keyboardist and vocalist. 

"I have a lot of stress in my job but when I pickup the guitar, it is like it all the stress melts away." 

The group is named after Calabrese's mother, Chris, who was their first fan. "When we were 8, she lived in a small ranch house. We would play next to the furnace and duct work. You can imagine how the whole house must have sounded as though it were coming down. Any mother, after 20 minutes, would have been within her rights to stop us. But she said, 'You're not going to get any better unless you practice…you've got to keep practicing." 


Between sets four Illinois House of Representatives members "caucus," Christian Mitchell, Art Turner, Martwick and Toni Berrios

Martwick and his band-mates were cheered at Phyllis's by three other Illinois House of Representatives members: Toni Berrios, 39th District; Christian Mitchell, 26th District; and Art Turner, 9th District. 

Martwick who was a state's attorney then a criminal law attorney. Politically, he began as a trustee for Norwood Park Township in 1993 and barely lost to Walter Dudycz for an Illinis Senate slot in 1996. He began a 12-year stint as a Trustee of the Village of Norridge in 1999. In 2002 he unsuccessfully challenged Republican Peter N. Silvestri  as Cook County Commissioner in the 9th District. 

His vow to stay out of politics was shattered when the then 19th District Rep. Joseph Lyons decided to not seek another term and asked Martwick to take over his seat. Martwick defeated an opponent in the Democratic primary in March 2012 and ran unopposed in the November 2012 election.


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