But when your new EP opens with a song like "Merry Andrew," a songwriter's song that has the raw energy of something that could have come off of U2's Boy, there is no way you are going to end up in a bin full of dreadfuls.
Circo, Gidlund and Sutherland found a place to live within their music, forming the band in 1999. They still call this their sanctuary and through their personal lyrics and strong stage presence, they don't keep it to themselves - they invite in all who are willing to listen.
Penny Dreadful's debut EP, entitled Sanctuary, was co-produced and engineered by Chris Steinmetz (at Chicago Recording Company) - who has engineered records by industry legends KISS, BB King and Miles Davis, as well as internationally renowned Chicago artists including Koko Taylor and Crucial Conflict.
Sanctuary's tracks have enjoyed pre-release airplay on 89.1 WONC-FM and 88.9 WRRG-FM. Wider airplay is anticipated subsequent to the CD's national release.
Penny Dreadful will be supporting the EP release with high profile Chicago gigs, as well a winter college tour.
Taking a peek into each of their backgrounds, you'd never have guessed that these three musicians would have ended up together, producing the solid, hook-filled music that they do.
Circo comes from a house full of music and has been playing drums since he can remember. "I thought that was how every household was," he says. "My influences range from Bach and Beethoven to Blue Oyster Cult and Black Sabbath. I try to get influences from everywhere."
John Gidlund originally wanted to be an actor. He admits to finding some inspiration at age 13 from the movie Wayne's World. After imitating self-styled amateur musician Garth, he realized that being a musician wasn't just funny, it was becoming his passion. His biggest influences are the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and the Smashing Pumpkins.
Sutherland, 24, found his calling after witnessing the ultimate power - a live concert. In September 1992 he attended a U2 concert and said "This is what I want to do." He has been committed to that ever since. For Christmas that year he bought himself a guitar. "I became a huge U2 fan, got into the Beatles, Dylan and everything else. I want to write songs for the rest of my life... and Penny Dreadful has done nothing but write good songs since we've been together."
Penny Dreadful is about to see if their wish-list can come true:
"The best thing that could happen to Penny Dreadful would be to make enough money that this is what we do to make a living, to support ourselves," says Shaun Sutherland.
"To have the Dave Matthews Band open for us," laughs Circo.
Gidlund says, "Knowing someone is listening to my work and that it gives them the same escape it gives me - that's making it."
Check out the artist's website:
1. Merry Andrew
4. Given On
5. From Their Satellites