By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Sep 27, 2002 at 5:55 AM

For 16 years, Southbound has spread the blues rock vibe around the Midwest. Influenced by a variety of '60s and '70s rock bands like The Allman Brothers, The Grateful Dead and Santana -- as well as more modern bands like Phish -- Southbound fans range from hippies to rockers and everyone in between.

Recently, the band recorded their first album, self-title "Southbound," and plans to release it Friday night at The Up and Under Pub. (1216 E. Brady St.) The anticipated CD took more than six years to complete, and considering the band's penchant for performing covers, it's surprising that all 10 songs are originals.

The record is a kaleidescope of styles, from the danceable, Grateful-Deady "Latent Heat" to the soulful, mellow "Plea." Southbound doesn't reinvent the wheel, rather the band creates songs that their favorite artists might have written themselves. It's almost as if they are channeling the sounds of classic rock bands, and, lucky for our ears, doing it quite well.

Southbound is: founding member Stan Lukasz (vocals and guitars), Tony May (keyboards and vocals), Tim Schulz (drums and percussion), Dan Hanson (guitars and vocals) and Drew Rittgers (bass and vocals).

Recently, we caught up with Tim Schulz and asked him a few questions about his band and their new record.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

OMC: How did Southbound originate?

TS: Southbound was formed in September 1986 by Stan Lukasz and Peter Hammon at Marquette University. They named the group after the first song they ever played. The band got its start by playing Marquette functions and campus clubs such as Thoma's and the Glocca Morra.

OMC: How often do you play out today?

TS: About five times a month. We play out mostly in Milwaukee, but also in Madison and Chicago.

OMC: What songs do you cover?

TS: We've covered a lot of stuff, including The Allman Brothers Band, Beatles, The Doors, The Stones, Phish, Grateful Dead, Clapton, Santana. We know about 80 or so total.

OMC: What inspires you about these bands?

TS: The musicianship. I think those bands showed a lot of true talent. I like stuff with not a lot of synthesizers, just raw instruments.

OMC: Do Milwaukeeans respond as positively to your original material as to covers?

TS: Yeah, and I know we're pretty spoiled. We have a great fan base. The response to our original music is amazing. There's usually a group of people in front singing every word of our songs.

OMC: Is your audience primarily "Deadheads?"

TS: No. We have a classic rock sound that's blues-based. I think anyone who just appreciates straight-ahead rock would get into our music. A lot of our fans don't even like The Dead but come out and see us.

OMC: How did you get involved with the band?

TS: I was in another band called Second Look. Then, Southbound broke up and a few members joined Second Look and then Second Look broke up and we put Southbound back together. That's when I joined.

OMC: Tell me about your new CD. How long did it take to record?

TS: It took about 60 hours. We recorded at Nexus Recording Studio, and Pat Lilley engineered.

It's our first record. One of the songs, "Hard Livin'," was written about seven years ago. It was a slow process for us to finally get enough material for the record, but in the end, we actually had too much.

OMC: What were you trying to accomplish with the record?

TS: We wanted to capture the feel and spontaneity of our live shows with an emphasis on soloing. We also wanted to stay true to our influences and roots.

OMC: Do you feel you did all that?

TS: Yes. I mean, it's always nice to have more time and money, but we're really happy with it, and with the job that Pat did.

OMC: Did you consider recording a cover song?

TS: We thought about it, but we ended up dropping two original songs to keep it at 10 songs, so we decided to go all the way with original material.

OMC: Would you say your music sounds better if you're in an "altered state?"

TS: (Laughing) Could be. I've heard that "the more you pound the better we sound." You'd have to ask the fans.

OMC: Who are the writers in the band?

TS: Dan and Tony and Stan all have writing credits on the CD. It's nice having three different writers, all with different tastes. Not to say I don't have influence on some of the things on there, because I do. Our process goes like this: Someone comes up with an idea, and then we all have input.

OMC: Who inspires you as a drummer?

TS: Jon Bonham. I'm also influenced by fusion players like Billy Cobham.

OMC: How old were you when you started playing drums?

TS: I started at seven, with a snare. And, well, Mom said I used to beat on pots and pans.


OMC: How old are the band members?

TS: We range in age from 29-45. I'm 32.

OMC: How are you live shows different from your album?

TS: With a little bit of improv, the live shows tend to be different every time. We have a pretty enormous set list of songs so we're able to mix it up. A song could be five minutes one night and 15 the next. You gotta keep it fresh, especially since we've been doing it for so long.

Southbound will release their new CD and play Fri., Sept. 27 at the Up and Under Pub. Show time is 9:30 p.m. $5 cover includes food.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.