By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 22, 2006 at 8:40 AM
When Couch Flambeau settles into the Cactus Club on Saturday, Aug. 26 for one of its periodic gigs, the veteran Milwaukee ensemble (I bet they’ve never been called THAT before!), brings a new model along for the ride.

Testa Rosa -- Damian Strigens (drums and guitar), Betty Blexrud-Strigens (vocals, guitar and keyboards) and Paul Hancock (bass and piano) -- opens the show, making its debut.

The recently formed outfit has been recording at Smart Studios in Madison

“We recorded at Smart with a guy that Mike Zirkel (a renowned engineer and producer at Smart) suggested, Beau Sorenson,” says Strigens. “(A) young guy with a great ear. We may go back up and record a few with Ed Ackerson in Minneapolis. He did The Mustn'ts EP and I loved working with him.”

Strigens adds that a record is on its way.

“Ten songs will be in the can and released by Christmas,” says Strigens.

For the debut gig, Testa Rosa will have a special guest on stage.

“I did both drums and guitars on the recordings so Jay Tiller's going to drum on a few songs for us at the show,” says Strigens. “(He) is going to play drums on the tunes that demand guitar at the show. He's so good -- he picked it up in one practice.”

Strigens was a member of many Milwaukee bands including The Frogs, The Lovelies and The Mustn’ts, which also included Blexrud Strigens and Hancock.

Show time is 10 p.m.
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.