By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Nov 22, 2004 at 5:22 AM

{image1}Milwaukee's alternative music scene has not been terribly well documented, sad to say, but local filmmaker Ron Faiola has done his bit with "Last Rites: The Final Punkstravaganza," a DVD/CD release that documents a farewell concert for WMSE DJ Scott "The Rude Boy" Ruud.

After 20 years on the air, Ruud decided to explore new roads -- he's moving to Phoenix -- and he called on some of his favorite bands over the years to play at an August gig at The Mad Planet. The gig featured performances by the reunited Sacred Order, Evel and The Crusties, as well as a current group from Manitowoc, Wis., Words That Burn.

Ruud then asked Faiola, also a local musician (he was in Couch Flambeau, and produced a series of Cheap Trick tribute CDs as well as CD-ROM for Monster Magnet and a Pigface tour documentary, among other projects), and Bill Stace of Walls Have Ears studio, to capture the show on audio and videotape for posterity.

"As we talked, it became a 'project' that grew from just a simple videotaping of the event to a full-scale DVD/CD package which we planned to donate to WMSE for the fall fund drive," Faiola recalls.

"Looking back at that original conversation, we really made a huge leap from simple to complicated in a very short amount of time. It didn't spiral out of control, but it got pretty all-consuming at one point. I basically locked myself in my editing studio and didn't leave until I had finished this 63-minute 'punkumentary.' I'm very happy with the project, and I feel like we really accomplished something that will make everyone happy: the bands, the audience, WMSE."

{image2}In addition to live footage of multiple songs by all the bands -- although Sacred Order and The Crusties, two outfits that ruled the '80s punk scene here are better represented -- Faiola taped interviews with Ruud, WMSE's Tom Crawford, promoter Jack Koshick (Odd Rock Café, MetalFest) and Couch Flambeau's Jay Tiller.

Although Ruud talks a bit about how the bands influenced the local scene, most of the interviews in the film -- which was produced, directed, filmed and edited by Faiola -- focus on the DJ himself and maintain an appropriate light-heartedness. The concert scenes are rendered in bare bones, up-close footage that perfectly suits the hard-edged, no-frills music.

While masquerading as a chronicle of some Milwaukee punk bands from the 1980s, '90s and 2000s, "Last Rites" is, in the end, more a salute to Ruud's passionate devotion to the local music scene and to WMSE. Over the course of 20 years, incidentally, Ruud did more than 1,000 shows -- on a volunteer basis, of course -- on WMSE. Crawford, in one interview in the film, lauds Ruud's dedication and his careful prep work for his shows.

"The Rude Boy did a lot to keep the punk/metal/hardcore scene active," says Faiola, president of the 11-year-old Push Button Gadget Inc., a video production company which also owns Cheapo Flims. "He really cared about his listeners and made sure they were entertained and informed about the music. His departure leaves a huge void for his listeners and the music scene in general.

"For 20 years, the Rude Boy consistently presented a well-crafted radio show as an unpaid volunteer for WMSE. He also made his own promotional items and started the hugely popular on-air Christmas giveaways. Even at the 'Last Rites' event, he gave away some Rude Boy skateboards and T-shirts. So, it made sense that he would want WMSE to benefit one last time from his efforts."

Milwaukee music fans also benefit as the film fills in veterans and newcomers alike on some of the bands that worked hard here for many years. Of course, there are many more crying out for recognition, and Faiola -- who also made a compilation video of bands screened at the release party for "History in Three Chords: Milwaukee Alternative Bands 1973-1982" -- is on the case.

"I'm waiting for another DJ to leave town," he jokes. "Actually, I have boxes of music videos that I shot from the mid-to-late '80s that I'd like to sort through and make into some sort of compilation. I've got live footage of Wild Kingdom, die kreuzen, Couch Flambeau, Liquid Pink, F/i and even some national acts from that time period (like) Concrete Blonde, Urge Overkill and Jim Foetus."

In the meantime, "Last Rites" is available on DVD and audio CD, with the former boasting extras like a gallery of posters advertising Milwaukee bands from the 1980s and beyond, a Last Rites concert photo gallery and a previously-unseen 1988 video for die kreuzen's "Stomp." The audio disc is 63 minutes long and has 10 tracks not on the DVD.

"Last Rites" screens at the Miramar Theater, 2444 N. Oakland Ave., Wednesday, Nov. 24 at 8 and 10 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and the "Last Rites" DVD and CD will be available for purchase, with a portion of the proceeds going to WMSE. The Rude Boy will be there.

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.