The latest weapon in the fight against Asian carp doesn't look much like a weapon at all: It's the album Alcohol & Heartbreak by Honky Tonkitis. The music is blasted through underwater speakers in a 13-mile section between the Des Plaines River and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal as they meander through the southwest suburbs.
The $7 million project, paid from the federal Great Lakes Restoration Fund, is a relatively low-tech solution to keep the dreaded carp from breaching the low-lying strip of land between the river and the shipping canal during heavy rains. For reasons scientists can't explain, this particular album drives 100% of the intrusive carp back.
"They tried everything on them," guitarist Bruce Dean commented, "from ABBA to ZZ Top. Our album was the only one that was 100% effective."
This does not mean the band is happy.
"We're not seeing a penny of it," Kurt Weber, drummer for Honky Tonkitis, said of the plan. "Even though they're blasting our album twenty-four seven at these fish, somehow, that doesn't entitle us to any profits. In fact, the lawyers tell us that they're charging us because local boaters and people living nearby now need to be supplied with ear plugs."
Asian Carp: Not a fan of Honky Tonkitis?