By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 14, 2009 at 8:50 AM

Earlier this week, Milwaukee band The Cocksmiths called it quits, sending the news to fans in an e-mail.

"This was truly an amicable decision," wrote guitarist Paris Ortiz in the missive. "We found ourselves in an extremely rare position and wanted to make the most of it. We started as friends -- we are ending as friends. I have been a professional musician of many many years and I have never left a band where there was not some kind of bad blood with someone. That is why this is truly uncharted territory.

"We all agreed that we have taken this amazing band as far as it will go and it was time to step away while we still have our sanity and a positive reputation. The Cocksmiths rocked and I am proud to have been a part of that since November 2004. The Cocksmiths rejuvenated me and reminded me of why I became a musician in the first place.

"If anyone would have told this Puerto Rican that he'd be rocking and soloing over a Johnny Cash tune or some day opening for Danko Jones or The SuperSuckers I would have told them they were high. ... Being on stage with The Cocksmiths has been some of the best moments of my life and I thank all those guys -- especially Ryan Daniels -- for letting me be part of it."

The band will play a farewell gig at the BBC on Saturday, Oct. 17. 

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

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.