Milwaukee's own Trapper Schoepp has a new record, called "May Day," coming out – not on May Day, but a few weeks later, on May 21, from Grand Phony Records.
An advance single “River Called Disaster” offers a little preview.
“The river is an apt metaphor for the way we can get swept up in our destructive desires," says Schoepp. "This past year, social isolation has exacerbated these kinds of feelings and challenged the way we cope. Many of us are bottoming out and trying to make our way back to the surface.
“On May Day, I use the natural world as a motif because I feel a strong connection to it. Nature is something real that I can feel, see, smell and touch, and it's a place where I've found comfort in these times.”
The new record is his first since 2019's "Primetime Illusion," produced by Wilco’s Patrick Sansone, which included a song co-written with Bob Dylan. You can read about that unusual circumstance here.
The 10-song "May Day" – produced by Schoepp and Ian Olvera – was recorded at Wire & Vice in Tosa Village during a year that was marked by the pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests and it is, he says, "both a celebration of more hopeful times and a reflection of a darker past."
“In between vocal takes, I stepped outside in my surgical mask and saw a fleet of military Humvees driving by the studio to a protest,” he recalls. “Helicopters overhead. Surreal and scary for the people taking to the streets to stand up against police brutality.
“The pandemic devastated the live music industry but the need to be transported through song remained. I hope May Day offers that sort of escape.”
The record was mixed by Milwaukee ex-pat (and Wire & Vice owner) Daniel Holter at his Seattle studio and mastered by Justin Perkins at Mystery Room in Wauwatosa.
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 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.