The Jet Set has landed in Milwaukee, having flown the coop in Peoria, Ill., where the band was formed.
Lead singer and guitarist Adam Widener and drummer Joel Kopp, a Brew City native, moved to Bay View in May. The band is unrelated to Milwaukee's long-lost ska/soul band International Jet Set.
Organist Colin Weber, the third person to man the keys for the Jet Set, is the latest addition to the group, which, in Kopp's words, "goes through band members like most people go through air."
Bassist Trista Winn, formerly of Thee Fine Lines, just left the band a few weeks ago after a six-month stint. Dallas Johnston, Mikey Weinburg and Trisha Pasdach have also been members during the band's two-year history.
"It's pretty much guaranteed if you see us one time, the next time it's going to be a completely different band," Kopp says.
"I don't know what it is. It's always been us two, but everyone else is like a revolving door," adds Widener.
The Jet Set relocated to Milwaukee after Kopp was offered a job here, and the move has been beneficial to the band, Widener says.
"Living in Milwaukee, we're looking to expand to a different scene," he says. "(Peoria) is not a very rock 'n' roll town. I think we struggled a lot. As far as shows or being in a band in general in that town, it's really hard to do. Our sound really caters to a minute group of people and it's not very widely accepted and especially in Peoria."
Kopp says the band didn't have a lot of fans in Peoria, so he was surprised when a return trip to the city in July went over really well.
"We went back to play there and it was packed," he says. "They were all going nuts. It's like, 'Where were you people when we were here?'"
In 2004, the group released its debut, "We've Got the Dance Connection," on Missouri's Wee Rock Records, a label run by members of Thee Fine Lines and home to the Gentleman Callers, the Jim-Jims and others. A seven-inch featuring the song "Let's Get Broken" came out on Wee Rock earlier this year.
The critical response to the two efforts was not what band members expected, Kopp says.
"We've gotten pretty good reviews for the CD, which we thought was kind of mediocre at best," he says. "The seven-inch, we thought we did good on, and we've gotten some kind of not so good reviews. It's kind of weird."
Widener says the 45 shows the band is progressing.
"The first album was definitely getting our feet wet," he says. "It was the first CD or first recording or first anything that I've really done. I mean I've done four-track demos, but this was the first real thing. We didn't have a lot of experience with it, so maybe it sounds kind of amateur or inexperienced. The seven-inch definitely sounds a little more mature."
Kopp and Widener say they have a variety of influences from punk and soul to British Beat and new wave, but they don't like to be designated as "garage."
"When I think of garage, I think of '60s teen bands," Kopp said. "I think the word 'garage' gets thrown around so much these days, that it's just doesn't mean anything."
The Henchmen, a veteran Detroit band, are a sort of reference point for the Jet Set, Widener says.
"They were kind of like that teenage, rave-up rock 'n' roll garage and now they're completely different," he says. "They're artsy, they experiment with different genres.
"Anybody can start a three-chord rock 'n' roll punk band, but I think it'd be interesting to do something in that vein but be a little more -- I had to use the word 'artsy' -- but that's what it is."
Widener says the band has been working up new songs and hopes to record a new effort in January.
The Jet Set opened for the Exotics at a pre-Thanksgiving show at Mad Planet recently and now hits the road for much of December and early January, with gigs in Chicago, Montgomery, Ala., Chapel Hill, N.C., Baltimore and elsewhere.
The Jet Set's main goal is just to remind people that rock 'n' roll is about having a good time, Widener says.
"Too many band these days are influenced by MTV and just this corporate rock. They think they can just pick up a guitar, write a hit song and be famous," he says. "That's not why you do it. You pick up a guitar, get up on stage with your friends and drink some beer and have fun. People need to get back to just having a good time, hanging out with friends and making some racket."
"And sweatin' a little bit," adds Kopp.
The Jet Set's Web site is myspace.com/theejetset.