A few months after the landlord declined to renew his lease on the Miramar Theater and Walls Have Ears Studio above it, at 2844 N. Oakland Ave., Bill Stace, who opened and operated both those businesses in that former movie theater for 19 years, is seeking funding for another Milwaukee music project.
Before moving into the theater – which began life as a cinema in 1913 and after its closure was home to the Milwaukee Repertory Theater and later hosted concerts as the Metropole – Stace, a drummer who had performed in bands like Dark Facade and Three On Fire, recorded Milwaukee bands in the basement of his house a few blocks down Oakland Avenue.
Now, he’s sitting on decades' worth of local music history.
"I have hundreds of bands that I have recorded since 1982," says Stace, who is looking for a job after losing his lease on the Miramar on June 1. "I would like to remix and master them all."
Stace estimates the work would take about two years to complete. To do it, he would need to purchase some older technology to access the music on a variety of formats used over the years.
"Once this is underway, I would give them to a radio station or stations that support local music: WMSE or 88.9FM."
If you’re interested in helping, or know someone who is, please email Bill Stace at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"I would like to thank everyone who supported Pam and me in all our endeavors at the Miramar to bring quality entertainment to Milwaukee," Stace wrote on Facebook.
"It has been a long road paved with gold and with rocks! We are proud of what we accomplished, and do not regret a thing. This summer has been a highly emotional and stressful time for us but we are staying positive, and are working hard to build our new future. Do not completely count us out of the entertainment business!"
According to Stace, the Miramar remains open under the management of Brew City Bass, which had been partnering with him.
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.