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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014

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101. Live and let die
I don't think I could live here. My mood disorder would be lit up all the time. Everywhere you look, it's die die die, the German word for "the." It's a constant morbid preposition.
102. I hate road songs but I expect you to love road blogs
On the autobahn, another long drive. We've had one day off in two weeks. This is intense! It requires a little discipline; for instance, in a country that can't pour a bad beer, I had two last night over the course of five and a half hours. Anything more, and the drive would be painful.
103. Van for sale, needs brakes but the turn signals are mint
Night is supposed to be dark. It's funny how a grey day works on your mood, and as soon as it gets darker, the fog lifts. Yes, there are grey days here in Italia and that, combined with a condition I have dubbed Mussolini's Revenge, finds us a dispirited bunch.
104. Neptune's shadow
OK, all is restored. Last night's gig was rough, the crowd too distant in more ways than one. There's nothing like a gig with people sitting under your nose and loving you, and tonight in Bologna, we had it.
105. The corn fields of Cherasco
We pulled up to our hotel yesterday to find ourselves somehow transported to the middle of Kansas. A Holiday Inn Express, set a little way off the freeway, comes with the most American looking cornfield you could ask for.
106. Meet secondi: It worked for Orson, and it will work for you
At the gig, they feed us lasagna that is a revelation and makes me think that a life spent into persuit of pasta and wine might be rewarding, even if I wind up bigger than Orson Welles. But then, when I'm so full, cheese is threatening to run out of my nose, I am introduced to a new and disturbing concept: secondi.
107. Hunter still rocks
Apparently Ian Hunter never got the memo to retire. Playing a sold-out show Thursday evening at Potawatomi Casino's Northern Lights Theater, the one-time Mott the Hoople frontman ignored the oldies route.
108. La dolce vita
Sitting in a shaded, sunken patio just off the lobby and enjoying the fact that summer has lingered long beyond the Wisconsin cut-off date, I am called to look at the pool by Greg. It's the one you dream about on a hot July day, and I have packed no trunks. I'm sure the last thing they want to see here is an ugly American skinny dipper, but the temptation is strong.
109. Hannibal in reverse, hold the elephants
John Sieger continues his adventures on the European roads, battling traffic and playing Woodstock. The Woodstock in Italy, that is.
110. Roll over Mozart
At the club tonight, I felt like apologizing all night to Wolfgang for the loud and undignified sounds rolling of the stage a few blocks from his old haunts.
111. Europe: It's so European!
John Sieger's latest adventure in Europe with the Greg Koch Band takes him to yet another scenic locale, where he plays some tunes, discovers a German flea market, eats a Matterhorn of delicious meat and strains his thesaurus to find new words for "cute" or "charming."
112. Saint behind the glass
The title of this piece is from one of my favorite Los Lobos songs. Today, in a gorgeous and strange church in Kufstein, Austria, I saw a real saint behind what I assume to be real glass.
113. "Red Neck Crazy"
Country music is in me and pretty much all I listen to. And I must say that Tyler Farr's latest single, "Red Neck Crazy," is easily my favorite song of the fall. It's catchy and, yes, crazy.
114. Strike while the ten-pins are hot
Second day jet lag, along with the adventure of getting lost on the way to the gig, had twisted my ever-fragile mood in a direction not conducive to making music. That was a while ago though and luckily, food and bowling have brought me around.
115. Q&A with Population Control
Lisa Simonson sits down to talk making music, old people candy, alcohol and, of course, metal with local band Population Control.
116. Up and down the Alps
The change from hilly Germany to mountainous Austria is not quite as sudden as encountering the Rockies in the middle of Colorado, but it is no less dramatic. It is also about as chock full of charm as any place has a right to be.
117. Let's add a "Z" to that
There is something weirdly inspirational about a long flight. I find myself smiling at everyone, and an abundance of positive vibrations for everything and everyone in God's (better capitalize that) creation. Thank you, two glasses of Delta chardonnay.
118. Cher to perform at BMO Harris Bradley Center
Cher is coming back to Milwaukee. The evil diva will play the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Friday, June 6, 2014, it was announced today.
119. Disclaimer: Did I spell that right?
The part of my personality that makes me a sloppy, typo-prone writer and wreaks havoc on my desktop or work space is related (via some weird deal with the devil) to the impulse to write songs. I'm not sure how it works, or even if it does. But, as I run around trying to get the right stuff into the right bag for a three-week excursion, I am so glad no one has ever handed me the keys to anything too important.
120. WD-40 ... Is that a German thing?
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.
121. Countdown to angsty-ness: Sieger prepares for Europe
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.
122. Guitar Man: The song plays on
After a challenging summer dealing with difficult health issues, Dave is more determined than ever to realize his dream of playing a solo guitar concert at Linneman's Riverwest Inn for his 70th birthday.
123. A cheesehead over the Rhine
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.
124. Baroques guitarist Hutchinson passes away
Jacques Atman Hutchinson, rhythm guitarist for the '60s Milwaukee psychedelic band The Baroques, died Friday, Sept. 6 in Colorado.
125. Llanas shines on "Four/Five Live - Volume 1"
Sam Llanas recently released a new 10-song live album called "Four/Five Live - Volume 1." He also sings on the touring production of "A Day for Grace" that opens this week at Next Act Theatre.