By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Nov 05, 2009 at 9:02 AM

The Milwaukee air must have been ripe with the scent of salt water back in 1994, because when surf rock revivalists The Exotics emerged that year, the band was an instant hit.

That success extended beyond Brew City, too, as the band played throughout the Midwest, with regular gigs in Chicago and at the fab Lee's Liquor Lounge in Minneapolis.

The quartet features Don Nelson, Paul Wall, Jon Ziegler and Brandt Zacher, most of whom have been in other well-known Milwaukee bands such as Trolley, The Nice Outfit, The Uptown Savages, The Nelsonics and others.

The Exotics shared stages with the legendary Dick Dale -- who invited the band to join him on tour -- and fellow travelers like Southern Culture on the Skids and Los Straitjackets.

After a single LP -- "Go Go Guitars" -- The Exotics slipped off the board and went under in 1999.

Six years later The Exotics reunited and performed on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" and at the Chicago Exotica festival. Then, the Mosrite guitars again went quiet.

But The Exotics has not left Milwaukee's consciousness.

"The Exotics have been back together and playing quite a bit since last spring," says Wall. "We are even planning a California tour next summer."

Local fans will get another taste of this instrumental musical venture (sorry, couldn't stop myself), when the band plays Saturday, Nov. 7 at 9:30 p.m. at Cafe LuLu in Bay View.

The show is a release party for the band's second CD, "Lost Album."

"We unearthed all the recordings from the late 1990s and picked only the very best," says Nelson. "Because it was literally lost for over 10 years, we are calling it the 'Lost Album'."

The sleek sleeve was designed by musician and graphic designer Damian Strigens and Nelson says that package contains some interesting material in that it shows off a number of different incarnations of the band.

"It contains tracks featuring several guitarists from the Exotics legacy," he notes. "The recordings (were) originally intended as the follow up to (the) 'Go Go Guitars'."

You can hear the current incarnation of the band -- those members listed above, that is -- this week.

You never know when The Exotics may paddle back out this way, so ride the crest of this wave while you can.

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 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.