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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014

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In Music

Trapper Schoepp and the Shades hit the road with The Wallflowers this week.

Schoepp revs up "Run, Engine, Run" on the road


It's been nearly a year since we introduced you to "Run, Engine, Run," a roots rock CD we dubbed Trapper Schoepp and The Shades' "love letter to Wisconsin." A month later, in January, Schoepp and company played a showcase gig in Milwaukee for Side One Dummy Records.

Since then, the label signed the band, gussied up the record and released it nationally last month. A few weeks ago, Side One Dummy announced that Trapper Schoepp and the Shades will tour with The Wallflowers. The first date is Thursday, Oct. 25 in Omaha.

Clearly, it was time to get in touch with Schoepp again and catch up ...

OnMilwaukee.com: First off, congratulations on the record finally being out nationally. How does it feel?

Trapper Schoepp: Well, it's gratifying and also a bit strange to have a record that was released locally almost a year ago to now be getting some national airplay and attention. We've been with these songs quite a while, but it's important for us when touring to remember that a lot of folks are just hearing them for the first time. Having said that, we're all ready to get going on another record.

OMC: Tell us a bit about the makeover the record got for the Side One Dummy version?

TS: In a way, it was more of a "makeunder" than a makeover. We wanted it to sound more natural and real. It's not easy to make a band sound on record like they do live, but that was the goal. It was important to me to have the quieter parts of songs to be quiet, and the louder parts to be loud.

It sounds like a very elementary idea but with the way records are compressed and produced today, it's not. A lot of recordings are so compressed and have so much going on musically that there's little to no volume dynamics, and I don't think that's the way music should sound.

OMC: Were you happy to have another chance to tinker with it?

TS: I think most musicians who listen back to their record six months later will hear things that they missed the first time around. I've always embraced that imperfection because again that's the way music sounds live. But I think there are elements in the tone and mood of a record that aren't so black and white.

So, yeah, it wasn't as much about fixing wrong notes as it was going back and asking ourselves what we really wanted it to sound like.

OMC: You're hitting the road soon with The Wallflowers; are you excited? Butterflies in your stomach?

TS: I'm excited. One of the themes of "Run, Engine, Run" was that ambition to just turn the key and go and the album is now allowing us to do just that. Luckily, I can't really think of another band I'd rather be out with than The Wallflowers. I celebrate their entire catalog, and their new album, "Glad All Over," is no exception.

OMC: What else is on the horizon for the band?

TS: If you aren't making a record, I think you have to stay on the road as much as possible to survive as a young band. So that's where we're at. My hopes are that we'll have a new record out in 2013. In the words of John Fogerty, we just gotta keep on chooglin'.

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