In Music

Musician, actor, man about town Mike Schank likes to have a good time ... and who can blame him?

Schank sets dreams to music on latest CD

"American Movie" introduced the world to Mike Schank, but the Milwaukee musician and actor is more than just Mark Borchardt's sidekick.

Schank is passionate about the guitar and he's translated that love for the fretboard into a trio of homemade CDs, including the two most recent ones, "Dreams I Know -- Yesternight" and "Classical Songs I Know."

The two follow his first, "Songs I Know."

"Classical Songs I Know" was recorded in 2008 and features Schank performing 16 works in an intimate setting. That intimacy derives in part from the fact that this disc was recorded at home by Schank's wife Kate, but also from the no frills approach.

Schank seems to have a special affinity for Florentine guitarist and composer Matteo Carcassi and he performs four etudes from Carcassi's "Op. 60" set of studies.

Schank -- who is currently the star of a candy commercial on Italian television -- says the disc is potentially unfinished.

"I add as much as I can think of," says Schank of his recording process. "I might just keep adding to this one," he adds, speaking of "Classical Songs I Know."

Likewise, Schank says his latest disc, "Dreams I Know -- Yesternight," may also not be finished.

"I'm still working on it," he says and will keep recording, "until the disc is full. I like to fill them up all the way over time."

"Dreams I Know" collects 11 audio-enhanced recitations of dreams that Schank has noted in his diary.

Schank recites his dreams -- which are no more or less bizarre than anyone's REM wanderings -- to which he's given great, descriptive titles like "The World's Biggest Boat," "The Power of Feathers" and the complementary, "Mike in Heaven" and "Mike in Hell."

Underneath, he adds his musical interpretations, performed on acoustic guitar, and doused with dynamic sound effects, samples and drum loops.

The record sounds like it was a blast to make.

"It's something fun to do," admits Schank. "I never get tired of doing fun things. I never get tired of it."

Adds Kate, "Over time we will be working on volume two of each the classical and dreams discs. He continues to dream, and practice the guitar. I guess you could say he even plays in his sleep. So, there's a good chance we'll be adding to these discs or coming out with new ones. It's so much fun working with Mike."

The three discs are available for $10 each at Riverwest Film & Video, 824 E. Center St., and on Schank's Web site, Schank also sells T-shirts with the "Dreams" CD artwork through the site.

As if he's sold many discs to date, Schank quips, "I would like to. My wife and I could use the money."

Here is a video of Schank playing ...


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