Who says you can't go home again?
Violent Femmes drummer John Sparrow is finding his way back to his alma mater, South Milwaukee High School, as part of the band's five-city Viva Wisconsin tour this month.
The band plays at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center – which is attached to the high school and is the home of the school's music and theater departments – on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 20 and 21.
Sparrow, who has been with the Femmes for 12 years, grew up just a few blocks north of the school, which he attended from 1990 until 1994.
He assured me that his permanent record at the school was clean and that he wasn't sitting on a cache of long-overdue school library books at home, which – based on the reception he received – appears to be true.
Recently, Sparrow flew back to South Milwaukee for a full day's slate of classes, talking to different groups of students.
He took a break to chat and to find his old locker with OnMilwaukee...
Tickets for the shows are available here.
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.