If you were at the WAMI Awards ceremony at Turner Hall Ballroom last month then you likely witnessed near-legendary local punk band Die Kreuzen's induction in the WAMI hall of fame.
All four of the band's members – including Brian Egeness, who now lives in Austin, Texas, and drummer Erik Tunison, who traveled from his home in Amsterdam – were on hand for the honor.
In accepting the award, singer Dan Kubinski talked about some great current bands who deserve attention, including Ifihadahifi and others. I ran into that band's drummer D.J. Hostetler at the event later on and he was more than a little honored.
That reminded me how important it is for respected local musicians to stand up for lesser-known and / or younger bands that could always use a little push. Decades after the peak of their success, Kubinski and Die Kreuzen still understand that and remain modest and connected enough to put it into practice.
This week, news arrived that Drugs Dragons have a new EP coming on Milwaukee's Dusty Medical Records. The six-song "The Milorganight EP" will be released on a vinyl 12" limited to 333 copies, including 50 on color vinyl.
It will be launched with a Saturday, June 4 gig at The Cactus Club with White Faces, Cyborg Fortress, Moon Curse and The Get Drunk DJs.
What does this have to do with Die Kreuzen? Well, the body of the press release was written by D.K. bassist Keith Brammer, who – like Kubinski – is a champion of Milwaukee rock and roll.
"The truly amazing thing about Milwaukee, WI's Drugs Dragons is how close they come to distilling the essence of 'rock' into a recording," wrote Brammer. "Live, they're intense and unpredictable. Sweat, blood and beer appear in equal measure at their shows, and, like all good rock bands, volume is a necessary ingredient.
"Coming fresh off the release of their Dusty Medical Records' debut (following a pair of 7" releases on their own Terror Trash label) this EP is set to take the band to the next level, whatever that may be. Recorded by fellow Milwaukeean Josh Busnelli (who has also worked with The Midwest Beat and Sticks N Stones), "The Milorganight EP" will no doubt be the soundtrack to many a party, and many a nightmare, for years to come."
Yes, Drugs Dragons and Ifihadahifi are great bands that deserve your support, too. And Die Kreuzen is doing what a "hall of fame" band really ought to be doing ... paying it forward.
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.