In Music

Anthony does double duty with Stick Pony and Capital 8

Capital 8 singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Michelle Anthony debuts her new band, Stick Pony, Fri., Jan. 16 at a 9 p.m. show at Points East Pub, 1501 N. Jackson St. Cover is $5.

Actually, the group made its first stage appearance recently in Chicago, but Anthony, a Kansas City native, is now launching the band here in Milwaukee, where she's based, in advance of the release of "Stand Fall Repeat," a 12-song disc recorded in the Windy City with Jay Bennett, formerly of Wilco, and mixed in L.A. by Chris Fudurich, who recently produced Nada Surf's "Let's Go."

But Capital 8 fans need not lament the band's demise. Anthony promises the band has not split.

"We'll still be recording and playing out around Milwaukee but we'll probably be playing out a bit less as a full band. Mike (Christiansen) plans to play the coffee-house circuit this year as he continues to write new material."

Meanwhile, Anthony will work with her Stick Pony collaborators, including members of Capital 8 (Scott Anthony), West of Rome (Chris DeMay), Dustworks (Ryan Stang), a former member of The Lackloves (drummer Mick Cravin) and vocalist Anjl Rodee, so expect the sound to be somewhat more varied than Capital 8's thanks to a lot of experienced musical ears.

But one of the most important set of ears, according to Anthony, was Bennett's.

"He's like any mad scientist genius kind of guy," she says. "Picture that and you've got Jay and his studio full of vintage gear, tools, a purple piano. What's cool is that when you walk in, he pretty much tells you that you can play on any instrument - nothing is really off limits. Recording with him gave us a chance to play around with some very cool gear."

But why a solo project just when Capital 8 seemed to be turning some heads locally and nationally? Too many songs, says Anthony.

"In spring of 2003, I had about 20 songs that hadn't been recorded yet. We played some of them with Capital 8. Some of the other songs that I wrote just didn't really fall into the Capital 8 vein; they were songs that were too slow, too pop, too piano or too personal to really fit within the C8 framework.

"I brought a few of those songs as demos to Capital 8 but for whatever reason, we never ended up trying them out as a band. The demos were piano-based songs and I play bass in Capital 8. I think we all just kind of overlooked some of the piano stuff I brought in because it didn't really fit what we do with Capital 8. Anyhow, Scott and I discussed the possibility of recording the songs as an alternate project and that kind of set the pace for the rest of the year."

Although there is still no set release date for "Stand Fall Repeat," Anthony's certainly got plans for the new year.

"Capital 8 also plans to record a 5- or 6-song EP this year. Mike will step into the role of "primary songwriter" for Capital 8. When we play out, we'll still play the tunes from Payola and Reason, but we'll also have a bunch of new Mike tunes as well. He's a great writer and I think he's on a roll now...it should be a good thing for the band."

The Katie Todd Band, which won Summerfest's Big Break contest last year, also performs at the Points East show.

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