By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Dec 01, 2004 at 5:19 AM

{image1}For a few years, beginning in 1994, The Exotics were the Milwaukee band to see on a Saturday night. The quartet, comprising members of other local bands, dished up tiki-torch surf sounds worthy of a Venice Beach luau, before their other commitments began to pull them in all different directions.

Luckily, they left behind an album, "Go Go Guitars" (Tiki Tone) -- along with a 45 and a handful of appearances on compilations -- as a reminder of their theme-y greatness.

However, like us, the members of The Exotics -- guitarists Brandt Love and Paul Wall, drummer Donny Nelson and bassist John Ziegler -- are a little nostalgic and have reformed for their first show in five years. Just in time for Christmas, The Exotics will play with The Bent Sceptors at Mad Planet, 533 E. Center St., on Saturday, Dec. 4. DJ Flavor Dav will also spin that night.

In anticipation of the big event, we trapped guitarist Paul Wall and demanded he answer some questions.

OMC: Why the five-year break?

PW: It took us that long to learn the entire Ventures back catalog, including their hit, "Theme from Airport 1975."

OMC: Has everyone been chomping at the bit to get back together?

PW: "Chomping at the bit" isn't even telling half the story.

OMC: Now that you're back, will you revive that impressive itinerary of gigs The Exotics always seemed to have?

PW: If we have anything to say about it "no." If our manager, Ron Schneider has anything to say about it "yes."

OMC: What about a new record?

PW: Already written, chum. Ha ha -- no, not at all. But we have talked about going on and periodically doing shows. Not really sure if that involves recording. I definitely have a backlog of surf tunes.

OMC: Everyone else is in at least one other band, right? Does that make it hard to find time for The Exotics?

PW: Jon and Don are in the Nelsonics, a real cool new soul surf combo with a great new 45 out called "Dousman Street." Jon is back with the fab Uptown Savages, and I rock it with Trolley and The Nice Outfit, two competing garage-y pop groups. So the answer is "yes."

OMC: How did you know that by the time December rolls around, a little surf music is exactly what the doctor ordered?

PW: Don Nelson has sort of a sixth sense brought on by the inhalation of All-State scooter fumes.

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.