Yesterday, news emerged that veteran Milwaukee rock and roll and blues drummer Vodie Rhinehart has passed away.
In honor of the seven new original tunes on "First Name Lucky," the new CD by Milwaukee blues outfit Tweed Funk, we hit guitarist J.D. Optekar with seven questions about the WAMI Award-winning band, which has released three records in three years.
Last summer, two Milwaukee music giants - John Sieger and Greg Koch - unveiled their CD collaboration, "Plays Well With Others," showing how two strong voices could reach a perfect pitch by working in unison. Back then, Sieger - who also remains active with his band Semi-Twang - made it clear that he and Koch had completed many more songs than could be collected on "Plays Well With Others." Now, another stack of them arrives in the form of Sieger's "A Walk In The Park," which comes out on April 1.
Of the five Sieger brothers, I'm the one who writes songs and always turns the screwdriver the wrong way. There are four other male sibs, two on either side, who can do things like rebuild an engine, wire a house, remodel a bathroom or make hi-tech mounts for $6 million Greek statues (that would be brother Bob, who spent time at the Getty). Me? I cry when I see tools in my hand.
While I'm looking forward to getting some new stories, I'm also the kind of pins-and-needles guy who can spin innocent anticipation into morbid dread with very little coaxing. This is especially true two days before I cross a fairly large and wavy ocean to drive all over Germany and many of its former conquests with Klaus, a guy Greg describes as a little crazy. I hope he's wrong.
On Sept. 18, I'll be boarding Luftwaffe or Lufthansa (I still get them confused) with other members of The Greg Koch Band to fly to the Not-My-Fatherland (Germany). Italy, Austria and Denmark are also on the itinerary. There isn't a gypsy in the world would have had me believing this turn of events a year ago. What happened is two dissimilar musicians got together and wrote themselves to a new place.
Though nearly a quarter-century passed between the release of Semi-Twang's first record - "Salty Tears," the sole fruit of the band's major label deal with Warner Bros. Records - and its second - the independently released "Wages of Sin," in 2011 - the band is already back with a new disc, "The Why and the What For." We talked to John Sieger about it.
I was a lukewarm Leonard Cohen fan until last night, but now I'm close to red hot. I always respected the man's work, chuckled at a few of his best lines and adored, along with generations of Americans, his song "Hallelujah."
Milwaukee is and has been home to a plethora of amazing musicians so it isn't easy to identify the best of the best. However, when the Social Circle was posed with the question this week, they came up with a diverse array of past and present Brew City talent.
On the eve of a football season that holds great promise, I'm writing to you to suggest a solution to a problem that has vexed both the team and its fans for several years. The problem that I'm referring to is the "what do we do about Brett Favre" thing.
Some are wondering if Brett Favre should get a statue outside of Lambeau Field in Green Bay. We would be better off if we leave statues to mermaids, Caesars, sphinxes, deep thinkers and naked men and ladies with - or without - arms.
Soulful blues outfit Tweed Funk is still a baby, formed just 18 months ago. But in that time, the quartet has become a household name in the Midwestern blues scene. Believe it or not, the group's already got a second disc ready to launch at a release party this Friday at Shank Hall. "Love Is" was co-produced by local guitar giant Greg Koch.
If you ever have the chance to meet Greg Koch in person, do it, but don't be shy. He has the personality and talent to sell both the sizzle and the steak. And his nickname is "The Gristleman."
The Packers' roster has been decimated by injuries this season. The effects are obvious on the field, but in the locker room, the loss of certain players can also hurt the team dynamic.
John Calarco -- also known as John Cee or Johnny C -- started drumming at age 10 when his uncle introduced him to jazz. It didn't take long for Calarco to move on to rock `n' roll, a genre that has served him well for two decades. Calarco's drummed with the Blue Man Group, Willy Porter, Greg Koch, Daryl Stuermer and more.