By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jan 03, 2005 at 5:05 AM

{image1}Young Milwaukee punk/metal band The Servos launches its debut CD -- the EP "Fightforevermore" -- this week and celebrates with a pair of CD release gigs at Mad Planet, 533 E. Center St. On Saturday, Jan. 8 there will be an all-ages show at 5 p.m. and a drinking show at 10 p.m. Also on the early bill are This Holiday Season, Big Green Sofa and Student Uprising. At the late show 52 Metro and Lost Idols, with members of Slurr, perform.

The band plays with energy and volume but doesn't ignore melody and, especially, harmonies. In fact, everyone in the band contributes vocals, which is not typical for hard rocking bands.

We asked drummer and vocalist (of course!) Derek Mantz about how the band got started, the experience of recording the first record and what's in the future for The Servos.

OMC: Tell me how the band got started.

DM: The Servos were officially formed in May 2003 when Brandon Dennison (vocals/keyboards) and Nick Perow (guitar/vocals) joined the group, but Chad Szopinski (guitar/vocals), John Mueller (bass/vocals) and myself have been playing together since 2001 with other members. We all knew each other from being in bands that played together years back.

OMC: What kind of music, what other bands, inspired you guys to form a band?

DM: The great thing about The Servos is all of us bring a huge mix of different musical tastes and influences to the band, yet we all have an area of tastes in common with each other as well. It ranges anywhere from soft indie rock to death metal to experimental to straight up punk rock. It makes for a unique sound in the final output of the songs we write. We tend to have fans in many different genres out there.

OMC: Are you pleased with the way the disc turned out? Was it your first experience in the studio?

DM: Overall, we are very pleased with how our new record turned out. Our friend Kevin Arndt of Treehouse Studios recorded it at The Exchange, a newer studio in Milwaukee, and it was mastered by Trevor Sadler of Mastermind Productions, also right here in Milwaukee. We went in and recorded nine full songs and some extras. The record ended up with the best six tracks from the sessions. All of us will agree we spent the most time on the vocals, since all of us sing, probably too much time. That's what ended up costing us a bunch was all the studio time for vocals. Since we recorded this record only about five to six months after Brandon and Nick joined, we still were getting used to working with each other -- who could/would sing which part and in which range, etc. But, the record did turn out awesome so it was all worth it. It was our first time in a studio together and in a studio of that caliber.

{image2}OMC: Will the band be stepping up the gigs in support of the new record?

DM: Definitely. We plan to play lots of shows around the Midwest for the rest of the winter and then do a small East Coast tour this spring right before spring break. We will always be on the lookout for more shows to play in support of our new record.

OMC: What's the next step for The Servos?

DM: Well, the first thing we're going to do is play as many shows and tour to promote our new CD as much as possible the end of this winter and into the spring. Then we're hoping in late summer to record a handful of new material. Then most likely go on another small tour in fall. Basically we want to get our name and our music out there as much as possible. I guess you can say the next step for us will be to work our butts off and have fun doing it.

The Servos' Web site is Another site,, has downloadable tracks from the CD.

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 has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.