Milwaukee Talks: The Yell Leaders

The Yell Leaders, featuring our very own Bobby Tanzilo on drums, is one of Milwaukee's most well known and well-respected bands. In 1997, VH1 declared them to be the best unsigned act in the entire Midwest, one of their songs is featured on a "Party of Five" episode, and they play to a sizeable audience at Summerfest every year. Their latest album, "Noxajoy," was recently released.

The band's singer/guitarist Joe Vent (Mary Brown completes the trio) was kind enough to answer some questions for us. Here's what he had to say:

OMC: What's the best thing about being in The Yell Leaders?

JV: Having a creative outlet; a way to ply the craft of songwriting, recording and performing with people who share your tastes and visions. Being able to use that forum to get your music to anyone in the world who might like to hear it.

OMC: And the worst?

JV: Not being hugely successful, international superstars. Always having the nagging feeling that Milwaukee bands are cursed, and you're one of them!

OMC: Do you still enjoy playing live as much as you used to? Does the fire still burn?

JV: Playing live has always been one of my favorite things, for the 45-120 minutes that you're playing. Almost everything else surrounding that time is horrible, absolutely sh*t. I've never had a real hard time enjoying myself on stage, sometimes to the utter dismay of my bandmates, but getting to the gig, setting up for it, breaking down gear afterward, loading in/out. All bullsh*t.

Does the fire still burn? Yes, I'm screwed because despite everything I just mentioned, I've got some unreasonable urge to get in front of people and make a nuisance of myself, at the expense of others. I'm not sure why. Truly, the "fire" for me burns hotter for writing and recording music, and releasing it to the world. I guess I've just done this long enough that I'm in it for good. I'm sure that if I ultimately stop playing altogether, I'll have extreme emotional and physical withdrawal, like with any addiction.

OMC: If Bobby were to take lead vocals on a song, would it be the end of the band?

JV: I guess it depends on where he took the lead vocals! I can only imagine that Bobby would have to be extremely intoxicated or have lost his mind completely to grab the mic and have a go. That's certainly not to say that he wouldn't be a good singer, he's a great musician, but I don't think he'd ever do it. It's the one thing he's been rather proud of exempting from his resume. I seem to remember he did a scream or a squeal or something on one song on our last CD, and it was the first time he'd ever had his voice recorded. I could be wrong. So, in conclusion, I guess the answer is yes, because if Bobby ever decided to start singing lead, hell would have frozen solid and one of the residual results would be the end of the Yell Leaders.

OMC: You guys had a song on the popular show "Party of Five." Was that episode the only one you ever saw?

JV: No, because I didn't watch the whole show! Our song ("Windchill") was used as feature music for the opening scene, so after the first five minute of the show, I could stop watching. I think I went in the kitchen and washed the dishes right after. No offense to the show, but the dishes weren't going to do themselves, were they?

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EliCash | Aug. 21, 2007 at 1:21 p.m. (report)

Way to rock it out, Bobby! I didnt know you were in bands before. Anybody know if the Yell Leaders are still performing?

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