By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published May 20, 2004 at 5:27 AM

{image1}A couple of bands from the Fox Valley have been getting some attention lately and one of them is Number One Fan, which is preparing to release its debut disc, "Compromises," on Pat's Record Co., distributed by Universal.

The band was discovered by Pat Magnarella, a veteran manager and industry bigwig, who has worked with Green Day, Goo Goo Dolls and The All-American Rejects, among others. But first Number One Fan was, appropriately, discovered by fans who bought the band's self-released discs by the thousands and made NOF one of the buzz bands of 2003.

Number One Fan was formed three years ago by brothers Nick (vocals and guitars) and Michael (bass) Ziemann and also includes drummer Jonathan Fries and guitarist Matthew Reetz. They recorded "Compromises" with Justin Perkins and Eric Thielen at Simple Studios in Green Bay (where Perkins' band The Obsoletes recorded its upcoming 145 Records disc, "Is This Progress?").

Although the release of "Compromises" has been pushed back to June 29, we talked to Nick Ziemann about the band, the record and the up-north rock and roll scene.

OMC: Is there a good scene up in Appleton and in the Fox Valley these days?

NZ: Yeah! We've got tons of true music fans and good bands around here. Wish we had more rock venues, but there's great coffee shops to play rocks shows at like New Moon & Blue Moon and house parties and DIY shows. The scene is great.

OMC: Was it hard for Number One Fan to get heard up there? People always say it's impossible for Milwaukee bands to get noticed. If that's true, it has to be harder still in Appleton.

NZ: Yeah, it's a little tough not being in a larger city to get noticed. We got heard by sending out our CDs to Web 'zines and labels and slowly word started to get around about our band. Most people found out about us through word of mouth, and through e-mails to friends and on the Internet. There's not really a musical infrastructure here -- we kind of had to do our best to create our own. But hopefully more bands from the area will get a chance to tour and be heard outside of Wisconsin.

{image2}OMC: Has the band come to Milwaukee regularly since it was formed? How has the reaction been here?

NZ: We've been coming to Milwaukee regularly over the last six months or so. Great fans in Milwaukee. The person who started our Live Journal lives here. Every time we come to Milwaukee there are more kids at the shows, and they know the songs and sing along. It's definitely become our home away from home.

OMC: Jonathan is quoted as saying it's hard to believe you're on these tours this year since last year you were buying tickets to them. What has the last year been like for the band?

NZ: The last year has been crazy. All that we could have hoped for. We've worked really hard, but some great opportunities have come our way. It's been really exciting. We've played shows with Something Corporate, The All-American Rejects, toured with The Juliana Theory and are doing six weeks of Warped Tour this summer. It's been a blast. We can't wait to see what the next year will bring.

Number One Fan celebrates the (delayed) release of "Compromises" with a show at The Rave, 2401 W. Wisconsin Ave., Saturday, May 22 at 7 p.m. The Oprahs, Half Past September, The Servos and The Response also play at the all-ages show. Admission is $10.

Number One Fan's Web site is

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

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 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.