Things are looking good for Madison-based Bascom Hill, a band with deep ties to Southeastern Wisconsin. The group's song "For a Moment" has just appeared in an episode of MTV's "Next," and the quartet has become a regular fixture as openers for national acts like Hanson, Rusted Root's Michael Glabicki and others.
Meanwhile, Bascom Hill has also released its second CD of acoustic and electric guitar-fueled groove music, "Maybe," recorded in Austin, Tx. Now the band is looking to keep the momentum going. We talked to singer Charlie Victor about the record, the future and more.
OMC: Bascom Hill is based in Madison, but the band members are also from Southeastern Wisconsin, too, right? Tell us about the band's Kenosha roots.
Charlie Victor: Four of the band members grew up in or around Kenosha. Jason and I went to Bradford High School together where we originally hooked up to form a band just to play out and have fun. Quin and Joe also went to high school out in Wilmot. Jason met Quin through working at Music Center in Kenosha and ask him to join us as we started to write and play more original music back in 1996. Quin brought Joe to a party we had and the rest was history. Craig joined our band in March after his former band Exit disbanded.
OMC: The band headed south to Austin to record the second CD, "Maybe." Why did you choose Austin and how was the experience?
CV: As far as choosing Austin, we had a song on Garageband.com called "Angels Weep" that placed at no. 3 in the Pop/Rock category. Wayne Ledbetter of EGM management contacted us about working with his up and coming producer Dwight Baker (Honestly, Podunk, Vallejo). We scoped out his work and decided he could be a good fit for the sound we wanted. Plus he actually owned his own studio. So price-wise everything worked very well for our budget.
The experience was amazing. We got to work with Jimmy Messer (Kelly Clarkson, Enrique Iglesias) and Rafael Gayol (Bob Schneider, Bodeans). All very talented musicians who are very well grounded. Being able to just work on music for 30 days straight with no work or interruptions was such a relief. Your focus becomes so channeled on the project.
OMC: The former Tasty Wonton (!) has shared the stage with a lot of big names. What has been the high point of the band so far, in your eyes?
CV: The high point of the band to date has been being able to open for groups like Hanson, The Fray and Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root. All very cool musicians with a lot of knowledge to share. Plus the fact that we've seen our fan base double since playing those shows.
OMC: It looks like the band has played pretty regularly all year, but almost entirely in Wisconsin. Are you looking to branch out further in 2006? Any definitive plans?
CV: We are looking to branch out more for 2006. We're trying to hook up with national acts that are coming through as well as book our own tour. A hard thing to do on your own without a booking agent. We manage ourselves right now, book our own shows and run our own PR. We had very bad experiences in the past with bad management and we're very leery to let others do things for us.
OMC: What's next for Bascom Hill?
CV: Our next step is to reach the national level. Maybe get some radio play and tour the country. Everyone in the band is committed to the same goal. Being able to support ourselves with our music.
Bascom Hill's Web site is bascomhillband.com. The band's next Milwaukee gig is Saturday, Jan. 14 at Shank Hall with Ryan McIntyre.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.