Milwaukee rockers The Cocksmiths have been making a very big noise on the local scene for years now. When the band's then-unreleased "Area Mofo" kicked in on the second OnMilwaukee.com music sampler last year, that fact became clearer than ever. Make no mistake, The Cocksmiths know the value of aural assault.
But as the quintet prepares to unveil a new CD, "Trouble Pill," and two new members Saturday, Oct. 13 at the BBC, it's also clear that this is a hard rock band to be reckoned with.
Guitarist Paris Ortiz calls The Cocksmiths' music "whiskey rock" and that's as good a description as any. A wall of grinding guitars churns over a thundering bed of drums and bass as the vocals of Ryan Daniels and Matty Gonzalez wail confidently above it all.
"It's not metal but it is heavy in an AC/DC kind of way," says Ortiz. "I am extremely proud of it and I feel we produced a great rock album."
Ortiz says The Cocksmiths recorded the 13 tracks live in the studio -- Guy Fiorentini's place in Cudahy -- over the course of two days with veteran local producer and musician Jeff Hamilton.
"(It's) very old school," Ortiz enthuse, "just like the albums we grew up on. Jeff really raised the level of his game. He did a wonderful job and should be acknowledged for his role as producer. Trevor Sadler and Jeff mastered it and we couldn't be more pleased at the sound quality. It even rocks at a low volume."
Ortiz says that even after some time away from the disc, he's extremely proud of "Trouble Pill."
"I didn't listen to it all summer until Jeff Hamilton came back from the working with the Violent Femmes -- he is their touring bassist. I wanted fresh ears on it when he got back. This CD is probably the best thing I have ever been a part of."
When the band takes the stage at the BBC, it will look a little different. Drummer Dave Schoepke, who has played with The Probers, Willy Porter and Moloko Shivers, and bassist Joey Carini replace Bill Backes and Jeff O'Connor, who played on the CD.
"They bring a level of professionalism that's rare to come," says Ortiz.
"They seemed to be joined at the hip. Matty, Ryan and I have three years under our belts together but because Joey and Dave have been playing together for so many years there was no learning curve or any time wasted trying to get the rhythm section to gel. (They) came in ready and so locked in you would think they were in the band from day one."
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.