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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, April 17, 2014

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In Music

Kurt Neumann (left) and Sam Llanas have been playing music together since the early 1980s.

In Music

Neumann and Llanas play Friday night at The Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.

In Music

Llanas (right) and the BoDeans toured with U2 in 1987.

BoDeans timeline: Important dates in the band's history


BoDeans co-founder Kurt Neumann was in a bit of a reflective mood on Tuesday.

Receiving a commendation from your hometown will do that to an artist.

"It's a strange feeling to play for this long and see all the different years go by and all the shows and fans and records," Neumann said after the band was honored by the Milwaukee Common Council at City Hall. "It's really crazy."

Neumann was asked about the band's fan base, which runs from baby boomers who were saw shows at Century Hall in the early 1980s to teenagers.

"I think it's multi-generational now," he said. "Parents went off and had kids and those kids got force-fed our music and so, after a little while, they decided, 'Hey, I can sing with this.'

"We always kept our music simple -- good melodies and stuff like that where people could sing along. That's why old and young can relate to it."

Neumann moved to Texas more than a decade ago, so he's likely more cognizant of the changes that Milwaukee has undergone.

"When we were playing on the East Side, you could still drink at 18," he said. "The bars were full from Friday afternoon to Sunday. A lot of people would come out and see shows.

"Now, things have changed. Buildings go up and down. I notice the change a lot when I come back through the East Side, where we were regulars for so long."

The BoDeans hit the stage Friday for a homecoming/CD release concert at The Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Paul Cebar will open the show, which is presented in part by OnMilwaukee.com.

Neumann said Tuesday that the commendation from the city and the Friday show were special to the band. Here is a list of other important dates in the band's history:

BODEANS TIMELINE

Feb. 8, 1961 -- Sam Llanas born in Waukesha.

Oct. 9, 1961 -- Kurt Neumann born in Milwaukee.

1977 -- Sophomores Llanas and Neumann meet in study hall at Waukesha South High School and bond over a shared love of music. The two later end up playing music together.

1980 -- At Neumann's urging, Llanas drops out of college to pursue music full-time. The group pursues gigs at small bars, clubs, dances and events. Llanas comes up with the name, Da BoDeans.

1983 -- As gigs get better, such as opening for the R&B Cadets, Llanas and Neumann add drummer Guy Hoffman (Oil Tasters, Confidentials, later the Violent Femmes) and bass player Bob Griffin (The Agents) to fill out their sound.

1985 -- The group is signed to Slash Records.

Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, 1985 -- The band heads to California to record debut album with producer T-Bone Burnett.

May 1986 -- "Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams" is released. It leads to a full-page profile in Time Magazine. The story, written by renowned critic Jay Cocks, quotes Llanas as saying, "We were a big fish in a little pond. Now we're little fish in a big pond. You're a local band until you get a record contract, then all of a sudden Bruce Springsteen is your competition."

June 27, 1986 -- BoDeans share a booking on the Summerfest Main Stage with R&B Cadets and Violent Femmes. The night of local music is a big hit with fans.

Oct. 17, 1986 -- Director Martin Scorsese releases "The Color of Money." The film, which stars Paul Newman and Tom Cruise, features BoDeans song "Still the Night," in one scene. Robbie Robertson was musical supervisor. The sequel to "The Hustler" grosses $75 million.

January 1987 -- Rolling Stone names BoDeans "Best New Band."

September 1987 -- Band releases "Outside Looking In," a sophomore album produced by Shorewood native Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads. The first single is "Only Love."

Oct. 27, 1987 -- Robbie Robertson releases an eponymous album featuring Llanas and Neumann, who add vocals to "Showdown at Big Sky" and "American Roulette." Llanas also sings on "Somewhere Down the Crazy River."

Sept. 14, 1987 -- Band opens for U2 at Giants Stadium. Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul also are on the bill.

Oct. 20 to Dec. 12, 1987 -- Band opens various dates for U2 including memorable shows at Rosemont Horizon outside Chicago, at the Indianapolis Hoosier Dome (Nov. 1) and Los Angeles Coliseum (Nov. 18).

Jan. 28, 1988 -- Band is featured on a segment of "The Today Show."

July 4 and 5, 1988 -- BoDeans play a two-night run at the Old Style Heartland Stage at Summerfest -- a stretch that is repeated the following two years.

June 27, 1989 -- The band releases "Home." Key songs on the record, which was recorded at the band's rehearsal space during the blistering hot summer of 1988, include "Beautiful Rain," "Brand New," "Good Work" and the ballad "Far Far Away From My Heart."

March 26, 1991 -- BoDeans release "Black and White," which is produced by David Z and features hits like "Good Things," "Black, White and Blood Red," "Paradise" and "Naked." David Z, who had worked with Jody Watley, Fine Young Cannibals and Prince, brought a pop sheen to the music during sessions at Prince's Paisley Park Studios.

July 2, 1993 -- BoDeans play the Marcus Amphitheater, opening for Bruce Hornsby at Summerfest.

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Talkbacks

dukefame | May 27, 2010 at 1:17 p.m. (report)

Is that picture from the Kenwood Inn?

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sandstorm | May 27, 2010 at 10:53 a.m. (report)

1988: local Bodeans "tribute" band Jethrine and the Rickshaw Riders debut. the bassplayer makes toast, butters, and eats it onstage between songs. Bodeans not amused.

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