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Growing up in the Tanzilo household was perfect practice for being in a working band.
We never flew – always drove – when we’d visit family in North Carolina or Milwaukee. And we never stayed in hotels. Once in a while, we’d stay in a motel, but even that was pretty rare. More often we pitched a tent or slept anywhere there was space at the home of the folks we visited.
That was fine. I know that despite working hard, my parents had to be careful with money. We were a working class family and I’m proud of that. And, like I said, it was perfect practice for the years I’d spend riding around the Midwest in a van on the way to gigs, crashing on floors along the way.
Picking up my grandparents at the airport was an amazing adventure ... as if I was growing up in the 1930s, not the '70s.
I can remember my first flight. I was going back to New York City to visit for the first time since I’d moved here a couple years before. I was probably 18 or 19. It was winter and the slippery touch-down set me on track to forever dislike the landing process.
What I can’t really remember is the first time I stayed in a hotel, but I suspect it was at a Hyatt, either in New York City or Chicago, and I can assure you I was already an adult.
Even now that I’ve stayed in hotels in America, Canada, England, France and Italy, I still feel a bit like an outsider – like the kind of person who doesn’t stay in hotels.
When I stay at a place like The Peninsula Chicago or The American Club in Kohler, I half expect a knock on the door and an eviction notice for being an imposter.
My kids are getting a much different experience. Sure, we sleep in a spare bedroom or whatever when we visit family, but we also stay in hotels of all shapes and sizes and star-ratings, from former Italian castles to luxury Chicago digs to waterpark properties around the state.
They enjoy them all, and I can relate. Like them, I’m excited to be there – a kid in a candy store – spending a day or two or three away from the pressures, just lounging around and enjoying life and the amenities that seem better than home.
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Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published June 29, 2015
Thanks to my co-worker Jill Jensen-Matelski, I saw this cool Summerfest 1970 poster that you can see above. She found it on the Facebook group "You know you are from Milwaukee WI if you remember..." My eyes immediately went to "Roland Kirk" and I was blown away. Then I saw Sly and the Family Stone, James Brown, Sarah Vaughan and so many other amazing acts.
Published June 29, 2015
As the 11-day music blowout we all call Summerfest was about to get underway, we caught up with the Big Gig's associate entertainment director Vic Thomas to get a peek behind the scenes.
Published June 28, 2015
How on Earth does one explain the ongoing success of The Flaming Lips? Don't get me wrong, frontman Wayne Coyne and company make interesting and engaging music and put on a hell of a show, but since when has that been enough? We found out Saturday night at Summerfest.
Published June 27, 2015
Saturday night marked Maritime's first big Milwaukee gig since it released its paean to its hometown, "Milwaukee," in April. So, did Brew City turn out to return the love?
Published June 26, 2015
U2 is in the midst of an eight-day, five-gig run at the United Center in Chicago as part of its iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour. We went down to have a look and a listen.
Published June 24, 2015
Living rock and roll legends the Rolling Stones took the stage at the Marcus Amphitheater Tuesday night for what may well be their last Milwaukee appearance. Here's what happened when the Zip Code Tour steamed into 53202.
Published June 23, 2015
When Paul Weller came to Chicago's Vic Theater last week I had to go. And, because Weller is so defined by Britishness, I decided to make the jaunt an English themed trip.
Published June 23, 2015
Word emerged today that Top Shelf Guitar Shop in Bay View sold the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards a guitar.
Published June 22, 2015
Milwaukee is lucky to still have so many beautiful 19th century and early 20th century schoolhouses - designed by the most respected and talented Milwaukee architects of their day. But some have also been lost to time, thanks to fire, demolition or replacement. Here, excerpted from my 2012 book, "Historic Milwaukee Public Schoolhouses" - and augmented with a few more "bonus" gems - are 11 lost Milwaukee schoolhouses.
Published June 19, 2015
Tis the season. Here, Bobby Tanzilo scours the Big Gig schedule to make some suggestions for some must-see acts at Summerfest 2015.