By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Sep 14, 2021 at 12:29 PM

Wire & Vice, a world class recording studio tucked away out of the limelight in Wauwatosa Village, is being sold.

Opened by Daniel Holter as Burst HQ in 2002, the studio went on to record the likes of Rihanna, Field Report, Eric Benet, Skillet, Collections Of Colonies Of Bees, Maritime, WebsterX, Abby Jeanne, Chester French, Dead Horses, Trapper Schoepp and Charlie Behrens, among others.

Records by The Replacements and Ol' Dirty Bastard were mastered in the building, too, when Justin Perkins’ Mystery Room Mastering was located there.

Holter, who moved to Seattle a year and a half ago and who broke into the business creating music libraries available by license for film, television and other uses, is selling Wire & Vice to Dave and Amy Cotteleer and their son Luke.

He will continue to operate his other business, The License Lab.

The studio control room. (PHOTO: Daniel Holter)

“You may know Dave from the Milwaukee business community through his two decades as an executive at Harley-Davidson,” says Holter, “but I know him as a lifelong friend and someone who believed in me at the earliest stage of my career.”

Cotteleer hired Holter as a front-of-house sound engineer for his Chicago-based touring production company and then the two partnered on a small recording studio, called Northern Audio, in 1993.

Four years later, Cotteleer was an investor in Holter’s Gravity, the latter's first foray into licensed music production.

In 2001, Holter bought the former Wauwatosa Post Office on Underwood Avenue, completely remodeled the interior and opened Burst HQ the following year.

Tosa Post Office
The post office building as it appeared in 1995. (PHOTO: Wisconsin Historical Society)

In the 20 years since Burst was built – and later renamed Wire & Vice – Holter remained friends with Cotteleer.

“We had the good fortune to have our kids enrolled in the same school, and our sons grew up together as friends,” says Holter. “Before Luke graduated from Columbia, my company The License Lab brought him on as an intern, and after graduation we ended up hiring him.

“So this whole transition is a bit of a Circle Of Life thing.”

Dave and Daniel
Dave Cotteleer and Daniel Holter during the building of Burst. (PHOTO: Daniel Holter)

Dave Cotteleer adds, "I’ve known Daniel for over 30 years and I’ve been proud to support the start up and growth of what has become Wire & Vice," he says. "I vividly remember working side by side, building the walls of what would become this great studio. 

"I am excited to be a part of this next chapter with my son, Luke. We are committed to not just maintaining, but growing and enhancing our presence in the Milwaukee music community."

The studio has always been active, but not always easy to book, says Holter, as its been heavily used for his own work.

“I always viewed it as my workshop, so it's been tough for people to book time and I think there was an air about things that we were not exactly open for business like normal studios,” he says. “But that's changing moving forward, since I'm gone and it's focused on being a full-time studio for hire now.”

In addition to selling to a good friend, Holter is pleased the building will continue to stand.

The structure was erected in 1933 to replace the small post office that had occupied space in the Jacobus Saloon building – now home to Ristorante Bartolotta – since 1902.

When the Tosa Post Office merged with Milwaukee’s P.O. in 1927, James Lefeber began work on the Art Deco building on Underwood, which served as the city’s post office until a new one was built on Mayfair Road in 1970.

(Underneath the building is a creepy crawlspace that maybe someday I'll get to explore.)

Crawl space
The crawl space. (PHOTO: Luke Cotteleer)

“I’m beyond stoked to keep the studio in the extended family, as it were, and even more gratified to see the building  remain a creative space and not just another tear-down multi-use condo development,” Holter says. “I’ve had a bunch of interest and offers over the years (for the latter purpose).”

The Cotteleers, too, are happy to continue the building's commitment to music.

“Music has always been a huge part of my life," says Luke Cotteleer. "From playing in bands, going to shows and finding bands and artists that nobody has heard of.  It has always been my dream to work in a studio and interact and capture artist’s creativity. 

"I've worked for Daniel for many years and have hung out at Wire & Vice even before I worked in this building. I love what has been going on here and am excited for the future. Keeping Wire & Vice’s reputation as a world class recording studio is very important to me. There are a lot of ideas for what's to come, and I am excited to get artists in our rooms and get creative!”

On Wednesday, Sept. 22, Holter will host what he calls “a clearance/garage/estate/fall cleaning sale,” at the studio, 1442 Underwood Ave.

“We have lots of random stuff to sell, and it would be super good to see a bunch of people one last time,” says Holter. “I am so happy to have spent the past 20 years in the Milwaukee music scene and beyond excited for what this next life for Wire & Vice could mean for everyone.”

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.