Milwaukee's Molitor is a band that has learned that you don't have to leave town to get moving. Recording its debut EP, "Sometimes I Get Like This," at Madison's Smart Studios, the quartet hired Wisconsin producer Justin Perkins and had the disc mastered in Milwaukee by Trevor Sadler.
OK, so it was mixed by Ed Rose (The Get Up Kids, The Anniversary, etc.), but Molitor has been sticking pretty close to home, for now.
For now, because with this melodic, propulsive five-song punk pop disc out there and a slew of gigs coming up -- including one at Summerfest, warming up for The All-American Rejects -- Molitor isn't going to be Wisconsin's secret for long.
In fact, in August the band hits the road for a long string of dates from Minneapolis to Seattle to San Diego, Phoenix, Omaha and back.
We asked bassist Erv Tang to tell us about the beginnings of the band (which also includes singer/guitarists Tilly and Dushan and drummer Kevin ... no one's using last names in Molitorland) and the recording of "Sometimes I Get Like This."
OMC: Can you give us a quick history of the band?
ET: (We) originally formed in the fall of 2000 with a slightly different line-up (and) made some changes along the way. Then in June of 2005 a new line-up was solidified with Dushan playing guitar instead of bass, and (me) on bass. This line-up changed caused a drastic change in the band's sound and dynamic. From that point on we were basically a completely different band, but decided to keep the same name 'cause we all liked it.
We had three songs that were good enough to keep from the previous band, and wrote three more right away. In July we went and recorded at Smart Studios in Madison for three days with Justin Perkins. We weren't able to get everything all the way done at that time and ended up finishing with him in November. In that time Ed Rose heard some rough mixes and asked to mix our EP for us.
While we were working on our EP we kind of hung out and played some shows with our friends The Response, The Benjamins, The Actual and The New Loud.
All in all, Molitor is a group of long-time friends with one new friend (Tang), who love to play music, and who all have the same awkward, annoying sense of humor and they have no choice but to play in a band with each other. Good thing we all get along and dig our band, eh?
OMC: Why did the band choose to do an EP this time 'round?
ET: When this all started about a year ago, the original idea was to tour in August, but we wanted to have something to help us get booked, and to sell. We ended up getting all these really good deals to record at Smart with Justin, get mixed by Ed Rose, and have Trevor Sadler Master it. With all the scheduling problems, costs and random illnesses, it just made more sense to do an EP.
Also, when we recorded in July, we only had six songs total, and only five songs were recorded. When all is said and done, though, we are glad we spent extra time and extra money on recording a quality EP instead of a somewhat decent sounding full-length. It makes us sound better than we are and like we are professionals or something. (Laughs)
OMC: Is anything in the works?
ET: As of right now nothing is officially in the works. We think one or two of the songs could end up on a full length in the future. We have talked with Ed Rose and he's more than willing to do a full-length with us. There's just a lot involved in doing a full length with him, though. He's a suuuuuper busy guy. It's also expensive, and this time around we'd like someone else to pay for it, not us. So that means we are talking to labels and all that jazz.
OMC: You worked with a pretty talented team in Perkins and Rose. Was it smooth sailing?
ET: Lets not forget Trevor Sadler either! Not really. I mean, scheduling with everyone was terrible. We didn't finish all the vocals at Smart with Justin so we had to book more time with him at his home studio. Our singers kept getting sick when the seasons were changing, or Justin kept getting busy with other big projects at Smart or doing sound for Number One Fan when they toured with Green Day.
With Ed he was really really busy and because of a miscommunication on our behalf he ended up having to push us back to his January schedule. Then there were files missing from recording, so we had to fix that and that took time, and Ed had to push us back even further.
The smoothest/quickest part of the whole process was working with Trevor Sadler at Mastermind. That dude's amazing and has some of the best stories. We'd do it all over again, though, 'cause it was worth it in the long run. Overall though, it was an amazing learning experience for us too. We learned a ton from Ed Rose.
OMC: Tell us a bit about the Hot Tour. The band has reached the quarterfinals, right?
ET: It's pretty cool. Lots of amazing stuff could happen if we win, or even just go to the finals. Basically, the quarterfinal stage is you register on Sonicbids.com and someone looks to make sure you meet the right criteria and to make sure you aren't TERRIBLE. During the quarterfinals, people vote for the bands and the top eight from each city go onto the semifinals.
I believe we are doing pretty well in it. We have a pretty amazing fan base not only here, but outside of Wisconsin, too. We are pretty confident that we'll make it to the next round, but from that point it's anybody's game. If some of the other talented (Milwaukee) bands win -- Heart of a Failure, The Good Luck Joes, I Voted For Kodos -- they could give us a run for our money in that round. But overall it'll be a fun experience.
By the way go to sonicbids and vote for MOLITOR! Ha ha ha, we are self-promotion whores!
OMC: OK, why not Yount, Gantner, or Coop?
ET: I honestly don't know who Coop is. (Tang is from Minnesota). Why not Aaron, Fingers or Higuera? The answer for this question actually changes on the time when you catch us and how you ask us.
(The) real story is coming up with band names is really hard and most bands end up going for the least worst idea. We were no different. Lots of names were suggested and we started talking about the Brewers during the process. Tilly and Kevin suggested Paul Molitor's last name 'cause he was one of their favorite Brewer growing up, and also a great player -- hell, he's in the hall of fame, isn't he? (Yes, elected in 2004. -ed.). Nobody could think of a good reason to use this name, and nobody could really think of a good reason not to use this name. And its one word and simple.
We get asked a lot on Myspace.com, "My last name is Molitor!!! Did you name your band after me?" And we always say, "Yes, because you are pretty rad!"
"Why did you name your band Molitor?" We have a thing for having a really simple to say band name that everyone seems to mispronounce!
The band celebrates the release of "Sometimes I Get Like This" Friday, May 26 at the Cactus Club. Also on the bill for the 10 p.m. show are The New Loud and The Cardinal Sin. Cover is $7.
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.