Teacher by day, rocker by night
Frank Monacella teaches at a River Grove school during the day and plays with a rock band at night.
Out for Hours info
Frankie Monacella - Vocals/ Guitar
Chris Ulrich - Backing Vocals/ Guitar
Paul Wilhelm - Drums
Mark Vazquez - Bass Guitar
Adam Wilhelm - Backing Vocals/ Keys
Updated: June 11, 2012 8:54AM
You can usually catch Frank Monacella grading papers, creating lesson plans, or helping students with homework at Rhodes School in River Grove.
But after the bell rings and classes end, Monacella is rocking out with his band, Out For Hours.
Out For Hours has performed countless shows around Chicago, but most recently was awarded a top slot to perform at a House of Blues concert.
Monacella’s love for music began when he was a young child.
“My brother took guitar lessons and I would sneak into his room and play his guitar,” Monacella said. “I kind of taught myself how to play, until I convinced my parents to let me take guitar lessons.”
He started playing guitar seriously in eighth grade. His musical inspiration growing up included U2, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Black Crows, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and of course, The Beatles. Even though Monacella loved music as a young boy, Out For Hours wasn’t formed until years later.
Out For Hours began when Monacella was on a mission trip to Oklahoma.
“My wife was involved in a group that gave aid during the Oklahoma tornadoes,” Monacella said. “During the trip, I brought along my guitar. Chris [Ulrich] brought his guitar, and we would sing and play every night.”
When returning home, Ulrich convinced Monacella to start a band. Since Monacella and Ulrich grew up together, they found other musical high school friends to play the drums and keyboard.
But Monacella is keeping his day gig too.
“I have been teaching for one year,” he said. He first had a job in computers, but decided that his true calling was teaching.
“My father was a teacher and encouraged it when I wanted to switch careers,” Monacella said. “I love working at Rhodes School.”
“When I first started working at Rhodes, I didn’t tell anyone I was in a band,” said Monacella. “But as I created friendships, some colleagues would come out to my shows.”
The administration needed an assembly idea for the last day of ISAT testing, and one of the teacher’s recommended Monacella’s band. “We made it educational by doing the history of music. We played songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s,” Monacella said. “It was really amazing seeing my students get into my music.”
So how does he juggle a family, teaching, and a band?
“It’s difficult!” Monacella said. “I’m always tired!”
Monacella said that he wakes up early to finish his lesson planning. At his lunch break, he makes phone calls and writes e-mails for Out For Hours. At night, he sends out more e-mails, prints shirts, promotes, and updates his MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook pages. Then he spends time with his wife and baby. Out For Hours rehearses twice a week.
Out For Hours has been playing some great gigs around Chicago.
“We were recording a song at a very nice professional studio on Michigan Avenue. The engineer of the studio liked our sound and pitched it to the studio manager who was putting together a big concert,” Monacella said. “They put us on the bill and we were included in on the show.”
Out For Hours sold so many tickets that they were put into the middle slot of the House of Blues concert.
“The room was beautiful, and the energy was amazing,” Monacella said.
Out For Hours is recently signed with Monacella’s own record label. Monacella started the label when he first started DJing after college. He had a good connection with a distributor, which would sell music to a lot of stores. “It is expensive to finance a band,” Monacella admits. “So right now my label just distributes music for Out For Hours.”
For the future, Monacella hopes to travel, write music, and play more shows with his band.
“Someone told me that the more you put into something, the more you’ll get out of it,” he said. “That is a phrase I truly live by in every aspect of my life.”