News of the passing of punk rock-era Milwaukee musical legend Richard LaValliere on Wednesday has appeared on Facebook. LaValliere may be gone, but he is not likely to be soon forgotten.
LaValliere, who lived most recently in Brooklyn, where he performed with the band Polkafinger, was a member of seminal Milwaukee bands The Haskels and Oil Tasters.
I was lucky enough to see him perform in 1983 with the Oil Tasters and the following year with his band The Barnburners, who were lesser-known but equally energetic and fun. Alas, I was too late for the almost mythical Haskels.
We wrote about LaValliere when he came home in 2009 to perform with Polkafinger. Alas, I never did the in-depth Milwaukee Talks interview he deserved. I rue that missed opportunity.
A memorial service for LaValliere will be held Thursday, Feb. 16, from 4 to 7 p.m., at Schmidt & Bartelt, 10121 W North Ave., in Wauwatosa.
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.