As an early taste of its upcoming second full-length disc, Milwaukee band Well Informed Citizens has issued a CD single to ring in the new year.
"Leaders of the Revolution" is a rough-edged, hard as nails song that has found the perfect mate in WCGV-TV (Channel 24 in Milwaukee) show, "WI MMA Today." The song will be the theme for the show, which airs Saturdays at 10:30 p.m. through February.
The single is also the first release on a new label, Citizen Recordings, run by the band's frontman Dan Nathan and its producer/engineer Jack LeTourneau. The band also includes bassist Zach Steiner and drummer Brian Nolan.
We asked Nathan about the song – co-written by Blax Intellect of Fresh Cut Collective, who sings on the track – and about the upcoming long-player...
OnMilwaukee.com: Tell us about the new single. What's the song about?
Daniel Nathan: I had originally written the words and music as "Melt Your #&^%$*& Face," but once we recorded it with a scratch vocal, it was immediately apparent that we needed some better words. I was always a fan of Blax when he was with Fresh Cut and I was digging his mix tapes, so I got in touch, and he came through with a great approach to the song.
I asked him about the lyrics he wrote and he said "The lyrics reflect my personal journeys and tribulations as an artist attempting to make it out of Milwaukee against all odds. This song is a rally call for the champion under dogs. The first shall be last and the last shall be first. The leaders of the revolution."
OMC: How did you hook up with the MMA and Channel 24 to get the song on the show?
DN: Believe it or not, I used to train to become a cage fighter. Back in the '90s, I got a satellite dish to watch the UFC, because cable wouldn't carry it. Then after a few beers, me and my buddies would don some vinyl 16-ounce gloves and beat the crap out of each other in the backyard.
It's amazing we didn't hurt ourselves more than we did. I eventually started training at Duke Roufus Gym – now Roufusport MMA Academy – back when they were on First and Virginia (in Walker's Point). I was at the very first MMA class at the gym, but I was more of a heavy bag with eyeballs, than a promising fighter, so I gave it up.
I still kept in very close contact with co-owner Scott Joffe, however, and when he mentioned that they were starting a show on My24, I told him I had the perfect song.
OMC: Will the MMA crowd be a little different audience than you've had so far?
DN: Yes! Totally new. I am very excited to reach out to this crowd. I've always been a big MMA fan, and it's great to bring my music to the scene.
OMC: In addition to the single, what's the band been up to lately? Is there a new full-length disc coming?
DN: We've been working on an eight song album. Jack LeTourneau is a fantastic producer, and he has introduced me to some really great players. We've been taking our time; bouncing ideas off other players and seeing what they come up with.
This is the first time I've shared songwriting credits, and some really cool sounds are coming out. We are about 75 percent done with the album and plan to release it in spring and play a bunch of shows.
OMC: Any musical resolutions for the New Year?
DN: Nah, don't believe in em.
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.