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Irock Z motors along

With a brand of sledgehammer rock that can enthrall and frighten, Irock Z is what Milwaukee music should be about: dirty, blistering, and unapologetic.

The three piece churns out animalistic tunes such as "Size Six Sarah," complete with wailing vocals from bassist Trans Am Dan, and vicious guitar courtesy of Lodi Capri. "Sarah" sounds like it should be blaring out of a drag racing track in Detroit Rock City.

Irock Z's inception was in 2004, according to drummer Russell Danger Zone. "I met Dan at work, at a microbiology company. One day during our lunch hour, we jammed in my mom's basement."

The two recruited a guitar player, and began to create a "rockeoke" band. "We wanted to play really obscure rock songs that people could come up and sing with us," says Dan.

But something was not right. The guys sacked their guitar player, and the search began for someone new.

"My roommate at the time told me about Lodi," says Dan. "He knew him from high school and said Lodi could play really well. I met him, and we started rehearsing."

A wealth of original material came from these rehearsals. "What They Want" is typical of Irock Z. This number is highlighted by the powerhouse drumming of Danger Zone, who keeps the band moving like a well-oiled muscle car. The groove-heavy guitar of Capri and the self-assured vocals of Trans Am Dan seal the deal.

"Lodi and Russell are at the top of their game," says Dan. "I play bass and sing, and I find myself struggling to keep up with them."

With the band's chaotic sound, it is surprising how meticulous Irock Z is with the songwriting process. Apparently, little jamming goes on.

"I think a song needs a solid foundation," says Dan. "Someone will come up with a riff, and we go from that. It's like building a castle."

After recording a six-song demo, Irock Z hit the road. Playing such Midwest cities as Springfield, Ill. and Bloomington, Ind., the band had a chance to bond.

"Playing with these two gentleman," says Russell, "is the best part about being in a band. I would say we get along about 92 percent of the time."

Playing out of state, they say, is a blast, but the band's favorite show happened right here in Milwaukee. "We played with Thor," says Dan. "He was '70s rock super hero, very theatrical. He came out with a sword, like Conan the Barbarian."

Not to be outdone on its home turf, Irock Z returned the favor. "I started the show with a drum solo," says Russell, "and I ripped my shirt off. Take that, Thor!"

Aside from intimidating superheroes, what lies ahead for Irock Z?

"I would love to tour nationally, and join a small record label," says Russell. "Its great to shoot for the stars, but making money is not as important to me as breaking even-at least for right now."

"I want to finish a full-length album," says Dan. "And then I would like to tour to support it. You have to sell yourself, that's how you get the labels to notice you."

Irock Z plays the Highbury Pub in Bay View Feb. 11 at 9 p.m. Nuna and Dirty Paws are the special guests. Irock Z's Web site is irockz.com.

Talkbacks

OMCreader | Feb. 12, 2006 at 5:36 p.m. (report)

Mariska said: If you enjoy high energy rock & roll with an old school punk injection you definately need to see IrockZ. Upcoming show dates are regularly updated on their website. www.irockz.com Support your local music scene!

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OMCreader | Feb. 10, 2006 at 5:10 p.m. (report)

Andrew Z said: It's nice to see these guys getting some recognition for their talent. Their stage presence, energy and musicianship make for an entertaining show! Make sure to check them out!

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OMCreader | Feb. 10, 2006 at 9:06 a.m. (report)

Mike P. said: I saw these guys once in a dirty hole of a bar in Racine. They rocked the roof off the place! Check them out.

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