07 December 2007

Something 4 The Weekend # 47

There were alot of strange and wonderful bands in the Milwaukee music scene of the 1980's...Bands that colored outside the lines and made powerful sounds that nobody else was making...Bands that didn't sound like Bad Boy, and if yr familiar with the Milwaukee scene from that decade, you know exactly what I'm talking about...If yr not, just think about a band who called themselves Bad Boy, and you should know what they were all about (Hair Metal)...
Anyways, in the beer-swilling, flannel-flying, blue-collar city of Milwaukee, we had plenty of incredible bands...In fact, we actually had a SCENE...
The Oil Tasters
The Crusties
The Violent Femmes
Sacred Order
Couch Flambeau
Boy Dirt Car
Die Kreuzen
Killdozer (driving I-94 from Madison)
Tar Babies

Within my circle of friends, there were basically two schools of thought regarding the greatest Milwaukee band at that time...Half of us were loyal to Couch Flambeau, a sort-of Punk/Metal Ween at a time when Gene and Dean were probably still in grade school...

The other half of us were firm believers in the absolute and utter greatness of Die Kreuzen.

Die Kreuzen were mostly a hardcore Punk band in their beginnings, though admittedly some of the chords they used were too weird for Punk, and in general, they just didn't sound like...I dunno... The Descendents, you know?
(for the record, everyone I knew tended to like or love The Descendents)

With each passing year, and each new album, they moved further and further away from that hardcore sound, finding weirder and weirder chords to use, and fucking around with delay pedal atmospherics, more complicated song structures, and drumming that was more tribal/jazz than punk/rock...If you ask me, however, they kinda started sounding like an REM-Sonic Youth hybrid...
And for his part, vocalist Dan Kubinski evolved from a fairly pure screamer into a rather powerful and compelling singer...In fact, it's safe to say that he was the Chris Cornell of the Milwaukee scene - another durable thread connecting midwest hardcore to grunge...
I loved Die Kreuzen, saw them a bunch of times, but in the end, I have to admit, I was a Couch Flambeau loyalist...Nonetheless, DK bassist Keith Brammer worked at Atomic Records on Milwaukee's east side, and I was always in awe of him, at least a little bit, whenever I shopped there, which was pretty fucking often...He was in fuckin' Die Kreuzen...They were on fuckin' Touch'n'Go for fuckin' sakes...
I also must admit that in relation to my own musical fuckery, especially back in the late '80's, when I started mostly doing solo 4-track recordings, that the song I'm streaming this weekend, "Number Three" was an enormous influence, insofar as I was exploring multi-tracked guitar melodies that were as harmonically interesting/complex as I was capable of creating, and I was utilizing digital delay and looping devices pretty heavily, not to mention amps to 11 and a Big Muff...
Anyways, I always looooved "Number Three", though it's not exactly a typical Die Kreuzen song, these aren't Kubinski's best vocals, and while their records are great, they don't come close to catching the beautiful fury and volume of the live DK experience, but ain't that the way it always is?
Finally, I have to mention the legendary Century Hall, a great rock club on the east side of Milwaukee that burned to the ground in the spring of 1988...Die Kreuzen released their Century Days album a few months later in tribute to the place, a place that so many of us had our first tastes of alternative music - Husker Du, Big Black, Sonic Youth, The Replacements, Butthole Surfers...And, of course, Die Kreuzen...Nowadays there's a strip mall on the site, unless that's been burned to the ground in the last few years...I dunno...I don't go to Milwaukee anymore...Nowadays Milwaukee is mostly just nostalgia and Hot Poop filler...
Hotcha! Hank

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