Hey Beautiful,

This information is for YOU


The Space Ape Sides exist.
Number one, Evolution, has dropped.

Evolution is the first in a new ongoing series of EP length bursts of material to be released throughout 2023 by Chicagoland’s improvising art rockers, Grape Juice Plus.

The series is called, The Space Ape Sides, and it takes its cue from ringleader Barry Bennett’s pandemic spanning 20 EP series, The Shut In Sides. (

Says Bennett:
“When everything first shut down, i initially thought I’d make a couple EP’s while the world did a quick quarantine.
That turned into a 2 plus year, 20 EP project that became a real meditative creative practice personally. I cherish what we have in Grape Juice Plus so much.
Now that the world is moving again, I’d like apply that mindset to GJP.”

The Space Ape Sides also is not just inspired by the nickname some have for the GJP lads, either. When Tony Churchill (projectionist for GJP’s live shows) started sending Bennett these beautiful ape portraits he was making, everything seemed to click into place.

Again Bennett:
“Every time i’d try to conceptualize what a Grape Juice Plus recording project could be, I’d get stuck. How to get Tony involved? Even if he is not at every show we do, he adds so much to what we are about.
The first portrait I saw became the cover for Evolution. The second that thing popped in my inbox, I knew I was no longer stuck. I had found a way for Tony’s work to be a prompt for us in the recorded realm.”

The Space Ape Sides are primarily meant to be a studio project, but the series actually kicks off with a live recording captured at one of Grape Juice Plus’ haunts, REGGIES’ in Chicago. Asked how this came to be, Bennett had this answer:

“I had the whole Space Ape Sides project already in my mind when I came across someone sharing a twitch feed recording of our last show at Reggies.
I pulled the board feed audio and it sounded great. I didn’t want it to go to waste. I thought, just start the project. Once you begin it exists. No turning back.”

So, welcome.
The Space Ape Sides exist.
Number one, Evolution, has dropped.
Stay tuned in to Grape Juice Plus for more…

released January 13, 2023

Barry Bennett: electric drumming, vocal
Eric Klotz: guitar
Tony Churchill: space ape portraits

This album was improvised live in front of an audience at REGGIES’s in Chicago on December 3rd, 2022.
Wiley Wells did the original front of house mix


“The Simian Syndrome is the debut album from Chicago duo Grape Juice Plus. Featuring Barry Bennett on drums, keys and vocals, and Eric Klotz on guitar, these guys are not the usual guitar drum rock duo like Black Keys or Japandroids. What you get is a highly original, experimental band that pushes the limits everywhere. This is an album of edgy, discordant, improvisational music, with plenty of depth, ranging from rock cliches to African tribal rhythms. This is one of the most creative albums so far this year and will challenge listeners at all levels. A definite must have.” ——– Floorshime Zipperboots


What is it?  A haunted liquid to stimulate the auditory nerves? Ape Astronaut Zira’s favorite libation?

Actually, Grape Juice Plus is a multi-media improvising outfit out of Chicago that has been freaking out/delighting audiences since 2014 and have shared stages with such luminaries as STICK MEN (featuring Pat Mastelotto & Tony Levin from King Crimson) and prog fusion legends, BRAND X.

It began with Barry Bennett and Eric Klotz as a series of Monday morning  sessions.  Both musicians were looking be pushed to new areas of their improvisational sand boxes. At first glance, they seemed frome disparate places.  Bennett, a fixture of Chicago’s free rock scene dating back to the classic Chicago band, MiLkBabY.  Klotz, meanwhile, emerging from the world of jazz fusion. They discovered their chemistry quickly.  When they decided to take their little fever dream public, they found the perfect collaborator in video artist, Tony Churchill, who is a multi jeff award winning projection designer whom Bennett met while sound designing a play.  it turns out, a projectionist can improvise just as fluidly as musicians and can add a bit of wit and mystery to the proceedings that already included tribal groove, other worldly chants, electricity, improvisation, ritual, celebration, unknown lands, an ocean floating in the sky, a sprinkle of retro-future, and a dash of prog…

Well, they found some new sand.  this one populated by apes on horseback.


Barry Bennett:  drumming, synths, vox

Eric Klotz:  guitar

Tony Churchill: projections (live)


take a drink.  see what happens…



like a physical release?!!  The album! The Simian Syndrome!! Click to pick up!





Stay tuned for next round of shows!


okedokkee. keep scrolling, and you can watch some fun videos…

GRAPE JUICE PLUS returns from lockdown for first outing since pandemic bagan…

opening for the legendary Brand X @ Reggies’… as you can see, a chipmunk taped show between the wedges….

a clip from our home away from home, The Outtaspace, in Berwyn, IL!

video by Hannah Doris Bennett (age 10 at the time)!

from above the stage, opening for STICK MEN @ Reggies… the first 5 of the set…

sometimes we have to travel without tony…monsoon outside, but inside The Burlington Bar…

from WIRE in fabulous Berwyn.  one of our first with Tony!!

another crow’s nest video — this time opening for the progtastic District 97!

another from the monsoon show at The Burlington Bar.  seriously, there was ankle deep water outside the door.  our fans were heroes…

mighty GJP get tender…

ringside from the days of old at the best BBQ around, Cigars and Stripes.  before tony, we would play planet of the apes movies and score them…

still here?  you should just book us to come to your spot!



One thought on “GRAPE JUICE PLUS

  1. Pingback: TRIBAL/AMBIENT/SPACE/PUNK…for the people… | Barry Bennett Sounds

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