By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published May 26, 2010 at 4:29 PM

BoDeans co-founder Kurt Neumann was in a bit of a reflective mood on Tuesday.

Receiving a commendation from your hometown will do that to an artist.

"It's a strange feeling to play for this long and see all the different years go by and all the shows and fans and records," Neumann said after the band was honored by the Milwaukee Common Council at City Hall. "It's really crazy."

Neumann was asked about the band's fan base, which runs from baby boomers who were saw shows at Century Hall in the early 1980s to teenagers.

"I think it's multi-generational now," he said. "Parents went off and had kids and those kids got force-fed our music and so, after a little while, they decided, 'Hey, I can sing with this.'

"We always kept our music simple -- good melodies and stuff like that where people could sing along. That's why old and young can relate to it."

Neumann moved to Texas more than a decade ago, so he's likely more cognizant of the changes that Milwaukee has undergone.

"When we were playing on the East Side, you could still drink at 18," he said. "The bars were full from Friday afternoon to Sunday. A lot of people would come out and see shows.

"Now, things have changed. Buildings go up and down. I notice the change a lot when I come back through the East Side, where we were regulars for so long."

The BoDeans hit the stage Friday for a homecoming/CD release concert at The Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Paul Cebar will open the show, which is presented in part by

Neumann said Tuesday that the commendation from the city and the Friday show were special to the band. Here is a list of other important dates in the band's history:


Feb. 8, 1961 -- Sam Llanas born in Waukesha.

Oct. 9, 1961 -- Kurt Neumann born in Milwaukee.

1977 -- Sophomores Llanas and Neumann meet in study hall at Waukesha South High School and bond over a shared love of music. The two later end up playing music together.

1980 -- At Neumann's urging, Llanas drops out of college to pursue music full-time. The group pursues gigs at small bars, clubs, dances and events. Llanas comes up with the name, Da BoDeans.

1983 -- As gigs get better, such as opening for the R&B Cadets, Llanas and Neumann add drummer Guy Hoffman (Oil Tasters, Confidentials, later the Violent Femmes) and bass player Bob Griffin (The Agents) to fill out their sound.

1985 -- The group is signed to Slash Records.

Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, 1985 -- The band heads to California to record debut album with producer T-Bone Burnett.

May 1986 -- "Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams" is released. It leads to a full-page profile in Time Magazine. The story, written by renowned critic Jay Cocks, quotes Llanas as saying, "We were a big fish in a little pond. Now we're little fish in a big pond. You're a local band until you get a record contract, then all of a sudden Bruce Springsteen is your competition."

June 27, 1986 -- BoDeans share a booking on the Summerfest Main Stage with R&B Cadets and Violent Femmes. The night of local music is a big hit with fans. 

Oct. 17, 1986 -- Director Martin Scorsese releases "The Color of Money." The film, which stars Paul Newman and Tom Cruise, features BoDeans song "Still the Night," in one scene. Robbie Robertson was musical supervisor. The sequel to "The Hustler" grosses $75 million.

January 1987 -- Rolling Stone names BoDeans "Best New Band."

September 1987 -- Band releases "Outside Looking In," a sophomore album produced by Shorewood native Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads. The first single is "Only Love."

Oct. 27, 1987 -- Robbie Robertson releases an eponymous album featuring Llanas and Neumann, who add vocals to "Showdown at Big Sky" and "American Roulette." Llanas also sings on "Somewhere Down the Crazy River."

Sept. 14, 1987 -- Band opens for U2 at Giants Stadium. Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul also are on the bill.

Oct. 20 to Dec. 12, 1987 -- Band opens various dates for U2 including memorable shows at Rosemont Horizon outside Chicago, at the Indianapolis Hoosier Dome (Nov. 1) and Los Angeles Coliseum (Nov. 18).

Jan. 28, 1988 -- Band is featured on a segment of "The Today Show."

July 4 and 5, 1988 -- BoDeans play a two-night run at the Old Style Heartland Stage at Summerfest -- a stretch that is repeated the following two years.

June 27, 1989 -- The band releases "Home." Key songs on the record, which was recorded at the band's rehearsal space during the blistering hot summer of 1988, include "Beautiful Rain," "Brand New," "Good Work" and the ballad "Far Far Away From My Heart."

March 26, 1991 -- BoDeans release "Black and White," which is produced by David Z and features hits like "Good Things," "Black, White and Blood Red," "Paradise" and "Naked." David Z, who had worked with Jody Watley, Fine Young Cannibals and Prince, brought a pop sheen to the music during sessions at Prince's Paisley Park Studios.

July 2, 1993 -- BoDeans play the Marcus Amphitheater, opening for Bruce Hornsby at Summerfest. 

Oct. 12, 1993 -- BoDeans release "Go Slow Down," which marks a reunion with producer Burnett and work from John Mellencamp drummer Kenny Aronoff.

As Llanas told an interviewer, "After ‘Black and White,' we thought, well, we didn't really make any progress that way either, so let's go back and ask ourselves, what do we really want to be doing here? And that's how 'Go Slow Down' came about. We just wanted to make some music that we felt good about. So we got back to what we do best, which is pretty much keeping it simple and straightforward and concentrating on a good song."

July 4, 1994 -- BoDeans headline the Marcus Amphitheater, with Roger McGuinn as the opening act.  This kicks off a three-year run of headlining stints.

Sept. 12, 1994 -- Fox debuts the series "Party of Five," which uses a snippet of "Closer to Free," the opening track on "Go Slow Down" as its opening theme. The single and show become a hit, with the show running for 142 episodes over six seasons.

June 30, 1995 -- Headline the Marcus Amphitheater at Summerfest, supported by Lowen & Navarro. 

Aug. 8, 1995 -- Sparked by the success of the TV track, the band releases "Joe Dirt Car," a two-disc live CD.

June 28, 1996 -- BoDeans headline Summerfest's Marcus Amphitheater, supported by John Hiatt. 

Nov. 5, 1996 -- BoDeans release "Blend," a 10-song effort that includes "Heart of a Miracle," a song that once attracted attention from advertisers. The record includes drummer Nick Kitsos and E Street Band accordion player Danny Federici.

1997 -- A Chicago group begins performing a BoDeans tribute act under the name "Naked."

June 25, 1998 -- BoDeans headline the Marcus Amphitheater on opening night of the festival. Big Head Todd and the Monsters open. The bands will share dozens of bills across tthe country over the next decade. 

Oct. 31, 1998 -- Llanas releases "A Good Day to Die," which features 13 tracks and is played with Absinthe, a group featuring local guitar guru Jim Eanelli and drummer Guy Hoffman. Songs from the CD were a tribute to Llanas' brother, who committed suicide in 1976.

June 25, 1999 -- Another headlining gig at Summerfest, with Chris Isaak serving as the opening act. 

July 9,  2000 -- A sold-out crowd of over 23,000 turns out to see the BoDeans headline closing night at Summerfest, with Big Head Todd & the Monsters.

June 25, 2000 -- Neumann releases "Shy Dog," a collection of 14 solo songs. Memorable tracks include "Perfect Blue Sky" and "Like I Do."

June 30, 2001 -- BoDeans headline Summerfest again, with Joan Osborne opening. 

July 1, 2002 -- The boys are back at Summerfest again, with Train serving as the opener. 

April 30, 2003 -- The band fires longtime manager Mark McCraw, touching off years of legal battles, suits and countersuits.

July 3, 2003 -- Another year, another Summerfest headlining slot. This time, Guster opens the show. 

June 22, 2004 -- BoDeans release "Resolution," a Zoe Records release that features "If It Makes You," and "(We Can) Live." It's the band's seventh studio album.

July 8, 2005 -- After a year away, BoDeans return to Summerfest/Marcus with support from The Wallflowers and Anna Nalick.

Aug. 16, 2005 -- "Homebrewed: Live From the Pabst" hits stores. The two-disc set captures the band live in concert.

June 29, 2006 -- BoDeans open the Miller Lite Oasis on opening night of Summerfest. 

October 2007 -- Neumann and Llanas return to the studio with producer T-Bone Burnett.

March 4, 2008 -- The group releases it's eighth record, "Still," which includes "Hey Pretty Ghost," "Willin'," "The First Time" and "Wonder Wonder."

April 6, 2010 -- The group releases "Mr. Sad Clown," its first effort on 429 Records. The title comes from an encounter Neumann had at a high school party with a "fat, drunk girl" who looked at the loner and asked "Whatsamatter, Mr. Sad Clown?"

May 25, 2010 -- The BoDeans receive a commendation from the Milwaukee Common Council, an honor akin to receiving a key to the city. Neumann attends the ceremony, which begins shortly after 9 a.m. Llanas does not.

May 28, 2010 -- A homecoming show / CD release party at The Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.