If one were skilled at archeology and could do a "dig" on the wooden posts of the East Side, you'd likely uncover worn, faded paper clues to the history of Milwaukee's late '70s and '80s rock and roll scene.
There you'd certainly find evidence of the existence of one of the country's – and certainly Milwaukee's – best noise bands, Boy Dirt Car.
Founded by Eric Lunde and Darren Brown in 1981, Boy Dirt Car has endured in some shape or form for three decades and the group celebrates its 30th anniversary this week with a 9 p.m. gig at Club Garibaldi, 2501 S. Superior St., in Bay View, on Thursday, May 26.
Also performing are Zerobeat, The Demix and Peter J. Woods.
While Boy Dirt Car wasn't the only local band exploring the outer reaches of rock and roll, where noise meets beats – one immediately thinks also to F/i – it was by far the most active and most internationally renowned Milwaukee example. You can get a sense for the kind of pulsating, grinding – sometimes jarring – work the band has produced by checking out its Web site.
During its first super active stint, which included touring far beyond the city limits – from 1981 to '87 – Boy Dirt Car included such important local scene-makers as Tony Selig (club owner and manager), Dale Stamey, Keith Brammer and Dan Kubinski of Die Kreuzen, Dave Szolwinski (F*ckFace and Earwaves Records) and Joe Schkeryantz, among others.
Schkeryantz, who has been working the audio desk for QVC for years now, lives on in the world of BoDeans fans thanks to the nickname he earned while doing sound for that band. That moniker, Joe Dirt Car, was lent to a live BoDeans record, too.
The group went through many changes and, later, Jeff Hamilton was added to the mix.
Although Boy Dirt Car's experiments in sound and improvisation aren't as ubiquitous as a quarter-century ago, the group remains active and released its latest discs, "Familia" and "Treacherous Young Witches," in September and December 2010, respectively.
Expect the Garibaldi gig to be engaging and ear- and eye-opening. But also expect it to bring out a lot of faces familiar to veteran local underground rock and roll musicians and fans. It will be a party and you ought not miss it.
Also this week, The Baseball Project has gone to extra innings, releasing "Volume 2: High and Wide," on Yep Roc Records.
This quartet of famous rockers – Peter Buck (REM), Steve Wynn (The Dream Syndicate), Scott Caughey (Young Fresh Fellows, The Minus 5) and Linda Pitmon (The Minus 5, Golden Smog) – returns with a baker's dozen power pop and rollicking rock and roll tunes that namecheck everyone from Mark Fidrych to Catfish Hunter to Bill Buckner to Willie McCovey ... and on and on.
So, if you're a baseball and Beatles fan (they mention "And Your Bird Can Sing," too) – and certainly a 40-something one – you can spend hours decoding the lyrics and combing through them for names you remember from the Topps cards you collected in grade school.
There are also some guest appearances, again, too, including The Hold Steady's Craig Finn, Death Cab's Ben Gibbard and Los Lobos' Steve Berlin.
When the group comes to Turner Hall on Saturday, May 28, Buck will be elsewhere, but his REM comrade Mike Mills will pinch hit for him. Showtime is 8 p.m. and admission is $10.
New York's Supermajor makes its Milwaukee debut this week at Club Garibaldi. The group plays with Revolush! on Saturday, May 28 at 8 p.m.
Comiccritique.com says Supermajor is "a new decal for the locker of bubblegum subconscious." How can you resist?
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.