By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Jun 06, 2002 at 5:58 AM

It isn't easy for a band from Milwaukee to hit it big, but The Lackloves are already well on their way. The quartet has been busy lately, signing a contract with New York City's Rainbow Quartz Records and releasing a new album, "starcitybaby," on May 15.

The record was released internationally two weeks earlier and The Lackloves and Rainbow Quartz are looking to foreign markets for success. With than in mind, there will be a UK-only CD single release and the label will target markets in South Africa, Japan, Australia and Europe for special promotion.

The release of "starcitybaby" will be heralded here at home with a release party Sat., June 8 at Club Garibaldi, 2501 S. Superior St., in Bay View. Chicago's Frisbee will open the show.

We got the chance to talk to this busy band on the rise about their music, influences, the origin of their name and more.

OMC: Obviously the band is fond of 1960s pop music. What is the appeal of music and songwriting from that era?

Mike Jarvis (vocals/guitar): Our appeal for that era's music isn't contrived nor is it stationary for that time frame. We like the classics -- Beatles, Who, Zombies, Beach Boys, Byrds, Kinks, etc. because those groups, as well as many others, just happened to have written some of the best pop/rock songs ever. We also really like many '70s, '80s and '90s acts, too. It's not so much the era from which the song came from as it is the song itself. "My Before and After" by Cotton Mather came out in the late '90s. To me, that song is just as enjoyable as (The Beatles') "If I Fell."

OMC: How does it play a part in your music?

MJ: Songs that have great melody and harmony, with lots of vocal interplay, will always be important to me. I try to write a great melody every time.

OMC: How did the deal with Rainbow Quartz Records come about? How did they hear about a band from Milwaukee?

MJ: A Los Angeles promoter named David Bash recommended us to Rainbow Quartz. The label then called me and formally offered us a deal. A week later we signed the contract and here we are.

Nick Verban (drums): When I e-mailed David in L.A. to tell him we wouldn't be able to play the International Pop Overthrow (last year), that is when he suggested that we contact Jim McGarry at RQ. I think this entire "deal" was done over, and because of, the Internet. The contract itself was sent to us via email. I believe that we have arrived at this point because of the Internet and our presence on it.

OMC: Why did you record the album here?

MJ: It's more convenient. While the label will pay for recording, they're not going to add plane fare, hotels, etc. to that bill just to have us record in a studio in New York which may or may not be better than where we recorded (Walls Have Ears). Besides, here we can just record whenever we can make it without having to worry about taking time off from our day jobs.

OMC: Will you guys tour extensively? Is the band excited to get on the road?

MJ: We will be touring the U.K. and Europe. Our label has strong footholds overseas and many of the label's bands are quite successful over there. And yes, we are very excited to tour.

NV: I think we are at a point were we can play shows in the midwest, Minneapolis, St. Louis and Cleveland, and not have to "ride the van" through West Virginia and Mississippi for a Tuesday night show. I think we can do this and still establish a fan base outside of Milwaukee and move CDs. The plan would be to tour Europe once or twice a year for a week at a time and perhaps the Far East (Japan, Australia), and then play within an eight- or nine-hour drive of Milwaukee. It isn't cost effective for us to tour extensively in the U.S. at this point, plus I am sure to break down physically if we are driving in the back of a van.

OMC: Are you all from Milwaukee? What's it like being in a band in Brew Town? Likes and dislikes?

MJ: For all practical purposes, we're all from Milwaukee. We've all played in this town for years now. Likes: friendly people. Dislikes: there isn't a lot of local commercial radio support other than being relegated to Sunday nights. In short, not many chances are taken. There's no way in hell these stations will just play some local band mid-day unless you're the BoDeans or the Femmes, which further illustrates only how far they'll go.

NV: Milwaukee is what it has always been, a market where people aren't willing to take chances on a local original band until someone else validates it for them. Cover bands and show bands will always appeal to the folks in town. I think that original bands in Milwaukee have had to hustle very hard to get decent gigs, make decent monies and promote their product. The odds are heavily against most original local acts.

OMC: Your music is definitely catchy, but that's such an overused term. How would you describe it?

MJ: Hmmm......Super Catchy?! people who are true aficionados of "melodic rock", we'd be classified in the pop subgenre also known as "Power Pop." For those who don't know what that term implies, "Super Catchy" will suffice.

OMC: There's a lot of music out there now, but not a lot of good music. How do you plan to go about making a name for yourselves? It looks like you're already well on your way.

MJ: We will continue to churn out pop nuggets, play live and let the label help us out in the 'making a name for yourselves' department. We've always done our part. Fortunately now we have a cool label that will do theirs.

NV: Yeah I think we lucked out in a major way hooking up with Jim at RQ. As he says, it's the world's best label, and he might be right. The energy and time and money he puts into his acts is so well planned and thought out and the marketing he does is perfect for our type of music. He has been successful overseas and that's where he will put most of his resources. He seems to have a plan and is sticking to it. He understands that this type of pop music isn't going to move huge units in America, but it will in England or Australia. It's a perfect match.

OMC: Is the name of the band self-explanatory, or is there a story there?

MJ: My good friend Dave "Deerlick" Reinholdt was watching Shakespeare in the Park one summer and they were performing "A Midsummer's Night's Dream" and he heard the name from a Puck monologue, ' lackloves, you kill courteseys...' and thought it'd be a cool name for a pop band. We figured why not since "The Mighty Deer Lick" was already taken.

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