Mike Benign is a well-known face on the Milwaukee music scene, thanks to his bands Umbrella Man, Arms & Legs & Feet, Blue in the Face and, these days, the Mike Benign Compulsion.
He’s also undertaken at least one other collaboration recently, which you can read about here.
The cover of the record is a salute to the Beatles’ "Let it Be" sleeve and the images of the band members – bassist Paul Biemann, guitarist Joe Vent and drummer Mike Koch – are all ‘70s school photos.
Inside, the music is as incisive and melodic as ever, full of the kind of guitar-fueled pop that you’d expect from fans of Elvis Costello and The Attractions and Squeeze.
The record, Benign has noted, is "an album of mostlys:"
- Mostly a collection of character sketches, with a few songs of desperation and self-loathing – including the title track – thrown in to keep everyone honest
- Mostly recorded and mixed by Shane Hochstetler at Howl Street Studios, but for the four tracks mixed by Danny Shaffer
- Mostly featuring the bass playing of Paul Biemann, the band’s newest member, except for "What You Do To Me," which features former Compulsion bassist Brian Wooldridge
- Damian Strigens’ album art, which mostly parodies an album cover from a rather legendary band (though not the one depicted on track 6 of ‘Kid’)"
In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I have been in bands with roughly half the musicians named in this article and have likely played on the same bill as most, if not all, of the others.
But don’t let that dissuade you from attending the CD release party Friday, May 19 at 8 p.m. at Red Dot in Tosa. The reunited Ball Turret Gunners open the show and cover is a mere, paltry $5.
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.