Mike Benign's a smart guy. And he's an ace songwriter with an almost sardonic snarl of a voice. That's why he's been such a long fixture on the local scene via his bands Umbrella Man, Arms & Legs & Feet and Blue In the Face.
He's always been wise in picking his bandmates. His latest amalgam – The Mike Benign Compulsion – bears his name, but owes much to its quality support staff of bassist Brian Wooldridge, drummer Mike Koch and guitarist Joe Vent.
On the band's second disc, "Martha," the whole package comes together quite nicely once again. Benign's melodic, jangly, never-wilting guitar pop is rendered in taut arrangements that get a further boost from the mix by power pop legend Chris Stamey (he of The dB's).
The disc is officially released with an 8 p.m. performance Saturday, Feb. 25 at Tonic Tavern in Bay View, with Slo-Fi following at 9:30 p.m.
Check it out and you'll see that TMBC sounds as tight onstage as it does on "Martha."
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 can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.