By Andy Turner   Published Nov 22, 2005 at 5:01 AM

{image1}Though they primarily perform original songs, The Pulltops' covers "policy" might give some clue to the band's musical point of view.

"We don't play anything past 1979," says Mark Pierret, drummer and lead singer of the Milwaukee trio, which also includes guitarist Tom Crowell and bassist Rocky Dunst.

They prefer classic tunes such as the Chambers Brothers' "Time Has Come Today" and Pink Floyd's "Run Like Hell" or songs by soul heroes Wilson Pickett and Sam and Dave.

"We really love '60s and '70s music," Pierret says. "We collect vinyl; we're into the Beatles, Stones, Yardbirds. But we're a three-piece band, so there's a lot of power to it. We put our own spin on it."

The Pulltops formed in late 2001 after Pierret and Crowell's former band, Udi Subudi, dissolved after four years and three albums. Dunst, their long-time friend, came aboard in the waning days of Udi Subudi, but ultimately, they decided to change the band's name and continue on as a trio.

Pierret and Crowell have been together since playing the "firemen's picnic circuit" in a cover band in the early '90s. The two bandmates have always shared an appreciation for "short songs with a hook," Pierret says.

"Straight-forward rock 'n' roll," he says, "that's always been our approach. But we've been fans of other styles of music that tend to get worked into it -- be it old R&B or country or a lot of psychedelic Pink Floyd-type stuff.

"It's very easy to get together as a three-piece and make a lot of noise. We take The Who approach, but Mark has to be Keith Moon and Roger Daltrey all in one."

The band has a pair of accomplished self-releases, 2002's "8-Track" and last year's "As Seen on TV," both of which have garnered local and national praise. The albums display The Pulltops' varied influences but bring to mind the arena rock/power pop of Cheap Trick or more recently, Nashville's The Shazam.

With the help of Missouri-based Sheheshe Music Services, a radio promoter for indie acts, The Pulltops have managed to get their songs played on more than 230 radio stations, mostly college, across the country.

Crowell says hiring a radio promoter has helped the band tremendously.

"It's the kind of thing where as much as you can try to do it on your own, it's very time consuming," he says. "It is a full-time job to promote a band to radio."

Meanwhile, Crowell has concentrated his promotional efforts on the Internet, which has helped the band attract international fans. Posting some of their songs on one online site got more than 50 people, more than half from out of the U.S., to sign up for The Pulltops' mailing list.

"Granted, one person in this country is listening to us, so what's the big deal?" Crowell says. "But it's pretty cool to know that we wrote, recorded and produced something completely on our own, threw it out there on the Internet and somebody in another country likes it enough to ask to be on the mailing list.

"That's the thing about the Internet, it's not that you're going to get a real massive response or boost your sales by the millions; it's your reaching people thousands of miles away that you never could have 10 years ago."

Among the places The Pulltops are selling their CDs is through Not Lame, an acclaimed power pop label and online store.

"I think we've sold the most through them," Crowell says. "With Not Lame, I submitted it, and if they didn't like it, they wouldn't carry it. So it was sort of an honor for them to carry it."

Not Lame has also included the band on its two most recent International Pop Overthrow compilations; The Pulltops have played at the IPO, an annual series of festivals featuring power pop bands in several cities, in Chicago.

Four of the band's songs are included in a new movie about the late Wisconsin stock car driver Alan Kulwicki, "Dare to Dream, The Alan Kulwicki Story."

Crowell and Pierret say The Pulltops have a handful of new songs they are working on that are trying to work out during their live shows.

"The more you play a song out live, it really develops a lot," Crowell said. "That's sort of the approach a lot of bands took in the late '60s, early '70s -- almost have an album completely put together and performed live before they went into the studio, so they had all the bugs worked out."

All but one of the songs on the band's two releases Crowell and Pierret wrote together.

"I don't know all the fancy chords," says Pierret. "I just play guitar and write."

"He depends on me for the fancy chords, and I pretend I know them," adds Crowell.

See The Pulltops at Latest Edition Saloon, N168W20788 Main St, in Jackson on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 10 p.m. with Seize the Day. For more info, call the saloon at (262) 677-4566.

The band's Web site is More information about "Dare To Dream, The Alan Kulwicki Story" can be found at