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The Orwells’ Mario Cuomo Finds Sweetness in Solo Project

Caroline Fisher | Posted on October 29, 2019

Mario Cuomo

Photo by Ben McQuaide

Frontman of formerly beloved Elmhurst band, The Orwells, announces the release of solo EP “Dark Days for Rock & Roll”

The Orwells

The Orwells

Credit: The Orwells

Mario Cuomo, the frontman of the (late?) Chicago suburbs rock band The Orwells, has announced on Instagram that he will be releasing a solo EP titled, “Dark days For Rock & Roll” under the alias “VILLAN” on October 31st of this year. The Orwells were a rock band from Elmhurst, Illinois comprised of five young musicians, Mario Cuomo, Matt O’Keefe, Henry Brinner, Grant Brinner, and Dominic Corso. The band’s classic sound paired with macabre lyrics and questionable behavior gained them some traction in Chicago’s hard rock/punk scene, and soon enough their reputation began to swell. They landed gigs like Riot Fest, SXSW, Coachella, and even Late Night with David Letterman. It wasn’t long after their peak that their reputation started to take a turn for the worst.


Mario Cuomo

Photo Via Cuomo’s Instagram

The singer and his bandmates underwent some intense scrutiny in 2018 based on a web of sexual misconduct allegations, and although the band claimed that these allegations were unfounded, they publicly announced that they had “disbanded” in August of last year. This past June, Cuomo announced a new album by The Orwells on social media, and stated that the record is “self-recorded, self-titled, self-released.” He claimed that he “could not wait any longer for this record to be heard,” and, “it would have taken even longer if [he] didn’t make the decision to self-release this album.” He posted the album to Reddit and Youtube along with other platforms and got some wildly polarized and passionate feedback. The comments on his Reddit post range from “Mario why don’t you take a long walk off a short pier you piece of f***ing garbage” and “hey what’s up, you done raping teenagers yet?” to “Holy sh*t! Thank you! We love you” and “Yesss will you guys be touring again?!?” There haven’t been any formal statements made regarding the legal outcome of the allegations or the feelings of the other band members involved in them. Since disbanding, Cuomo has shared bits on social media regarding his personal process of taking time off and becoming sober. I find it hard to ignore the lyrics that seem to have some sort of connection to the villainization Cuomo may feel he’s undergone throughout his career. I’ve personally been a big fan of The Orwells since around 2013 and I’m glad to see Cuomo healing and evolving as a person, as well as continuing to release music.

Dark Days For Rock & Roll

Mario Cuomo

Photo Via Cuomo’s Instagram

Cuomo shared on Instagram that he will be releasing the new EP under his new alias, “VILLAN.” He stated in an instagram story that he needs “somewhere he can create with no rules” that’s “outside of the genre of rock and roll music.” I’m curious to see what genres he’s experimenting with in the new EP. He’s previously shared the song “MC-MC” that seemed to be a hybrid of rap and surf injected with some ska flavor. I’m not surprised he’s decided to pivot from the rock scene with this new EP, as his previous shunning from the greater Chicago scene was pretty dramatic, and included being shamed by other bands/previous friends like the members of FIDLAR and Twin Peaks. Perhaps he feels as though appealing to a different range of people with his new work will give him a better chance at conjuring up a new audience, freeing him from some of the stigma now attached to him and The Orwells, and giving him an opportunity to start fresh.

The Orwells – Sweetness

A track from The Orwells’ self-titled album, released in 2019 by Mario Cuomo.

The Orwells “Dirty Sheets” (Officially Live)

The Orwells performing “Dirty Sheets,” a track from their 2014 album, Disgraceland.

The Orwells performing “In My Bed” from their debut album Remember When (2012).

Mallrats (La La La) – THE ORWELLS (Official Video)

Check out Dark Days For Rock & Roll, out this Halloween.


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