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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

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In Music

The Exotics rode a wave of success in the Midwest in 1994.

The Exotics surf back with the "Lost Album"

The Milwaukee air must have been ripe with the scent of salt water back in 1994, because when surf rock revivalists The Exotics emerged that year, the band was an instant hit.

That success extended beyond Brew City, too, as the band played throughout the Midwest, with regular gigs in Chicago and at the fab Lee's Liquor Lounge in Minneapolis.

The quartet features Don Nelson, Paul Wall, Jon Ziegler and Brandt Zacher, most of whom have been in other well-known Milwaukee bands such as Trolley, The Nice Outfit, The Uptown Savages, The Nelsonics and others.

The Exotics shared stages with the legendary Dick Dale -- who invited the band to join him on tour -- and fellow travelers like Southern Culture on the Skids and Los Straitjackets.

After a single LP -- "Go Go Guitars" -- The Exotics slipped off the board and went under in 1999.

Six years later The Exotics reunited and performed on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" and at the Chicago Exotica festival. Then, the Mosrite guitars again went quiet.

But The Exotics has not left Milwaukee's consciousness.

"The Exotics have been back together and playing quite a bit since last spring," says Wall. "We are even planning a California tour next summer."

Local fans will get another taste of this instrumental musical venture (sorry, couldn't stop myself), when the band plays Saturday, Nov. 7 at 9:30 p.m. at Cafe LuLu in Bay View.

The show is a release party for the band's second CD, "Lost Album."

"We unearthed all the recordings from the late 1990s and picked only the very best," says Nelson. "Because it was literally lost for over 10 years, we are calling it the 'Lost Album'."

The sleek sleeve was designed by musician and graphic designer Damian Strigens and Nelson says that package contains some interesting material in that it shows off a number of different incarnations of the band.

"It contains tracks featuring several guitarists from the Exotics legacy," he notes. "The recordings (were) originally intended as the follow up to (the) 'Go Go Guitars'."

You can hear the current incarnation of the band -- those members listed above, that is -- this week.

You never know when The Exotics may paddle back out this way, so ride the crest of this wave while you can.


CoolerKing | Nov. 11, 2009 at 7:13 a.m. (report)

The sleeve was designed by Damien, but let's not forget the illustration on the front was by John Hill.

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college_dave | Nov. 5, 2009 at 9:52 a.m. (report)

Saw the play recently at Kochanski's Concertina Bar (which is much much better now than it ever was) recently. They were fabulous!

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