Hard rock band Moloko Shivers was active in Milwaukee clubs from 1990 to '97 before splitting up. Getting back together sporadically since 2005, the group returns again with a new, self-titled CD that includes some new music, but also some unfinished tunes from back in the day.
Though officially reunited in 2005, Moloko Shivers has been on and off the local scene over the past seven years in large part because most of its members are in other bands, too.
Drummer Dave Schoepke plays with Willy Porter, Lovanova, Blank Radio and the No Quarter tribute to Led Zeppelin. Guitarist Randy Komberec is part of a Billy Joel tribute act called 52nd Street and singer Craig Baumann performs with Honest Monday and We Are Your Father.
Recently, I asked Schoepke about Moloko Shivers, past and present, about the new record and more ...
OnMilwaukee: Give us a quick history of the band.
Dave Schoepke: We formed in 1990. Original members were John Jenson (lead vocal, guitar), me (drums), Chris Stenger (bass), and Randy Komberec (guitar). Chris left in 1991 and was replaced by Mike "Hike" Peters. Then the lineup remained unchanged until the band broke up in 1997.
OMC: Why now; what led to getting back together?
DS: After '97 we all worked together in various spin-off groups but not collectively as Moloko until we decided to make another stab at it in 2005. The band had a couple false starts which lasted though '06 which is when Jenson opted out of the picture and we tried a handful of different singers along with some low profile gigs but nothing substantial was sustained and the band dissolved again until we found Craig Baumann in 2011.
OMC: Do you consider the new self-titled record your second or fourth?
DS: Fourth. There were hree official releases in the '90s. "Off Kilter" in '91 and "Diary" in '93. We released our first CD in '96 – "Sooner or Later." When we started this band the industry was shifting from records to CDs. Because of the change it was a lot more expensive to press a disc back then, consequently, our first two releases were on cassette.
OMC: Tell me a bit about making the new record.
DS: This album was done with engineer Paul Kneevers at Kneever Kneeverland studio in Milwaukee over the course of two sessions, starting in November 2011 and finishing in May 2012, the songs were completed fast but time constraints – we're all in numerous bands – and budget held it back a bit.
OMC: Did you guys sit down and say, let's write a new record or did the songs come over time? Did you make the record all in one go or, again, was it a longer-term project?
DS: The plan since revisiting the band in '05 was always to address the dearth of unfinished material we had written back in the '90s and, of course, to write new stuff. However, there was so much material spanning many different styles that we had to impose a degree of self censorship, meaning that we decided to make this new album a hard rock album and relegated all of our jazz, soul and atmospheric songs to the back burner.
This kept us focused on one approach while narrowing down the song choices and preventing us from straying to far far from the task: make a straight-ahead hard rock album. We ended up writing a bunch of brand new songs and finishing a handful of old ones which has left us with a nicely balanced album of old and new songs. All the leftover material is being readied for a mellower next album which we hope to start tracking by summer.
OMC: Are you celebrating with a release party?
DS: We're just so happy to be at this again and proud of the new album that the renewed sense of purpose has really energized us, making every show feel like a release party.
However, our first Milwaukee club appearance is at Club Garibaldi on (Wednesday) Nov. 21 with Circleswitch, Mr.Deagun Jones and Carbellion.
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.