Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy New Year from UNINTIMIDATED! (Project Update Post!)

Oh hi, errybody! The blog's been a bit quiet (shit, we still have to tell you all about Donoma, Body Futures, Damsel Trash, Testa Rosa and Venus in Furs!), but stuff's been a-happening! Our tireless squad of editors have been diligently assembling and cutting rolls of film (not really; it's all FinalCut now. It's 2016) in the hopes of putting together 13 kickass videos full of anti-Scott Walker piss, vinegar, bile, and guitars, bass, drums, fiddle, autoharp, keys, etc. Meanwhile, the songs themselves are pretty much mixed and will be off to mastering at the beginning of January. Man, we can't wait to share these with y'all.

"So guys, about that -- when will you be sharing these with us all?" Well, it's tricky when you're a bunch of people with day jobs trying to make a huge art project happen on your free time, but we're still shooting for late February/early March to have this all done and ready for consumption. A big x-factor in that equation, of course, is money and whether we have it, because pressing CDs and DVDs ain't cheap! But that's why one of our executive producers, Tony, is throwing a little shindig for us in Racine on January 30.

Just look at that bonkers lineup, you guys. Featuring five UNINTIMIDATED bands! Free admission! Raffle tickets being sold to raise money for our little project! Mark January 30 on your calendar and get ready for a batshit awesome time!

More to come in 2016, you guys. Scott Walker's not running for president anymore, but he's doubled down on his special brand of homespun bought and paid for evil. We're ready to yell at him a whole lot with distortion and loud noises and shit. Yell along with us!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Oh Dear God, Milwaukee's Getting a GOP Debate

Oh, son of a bitch:
The Milwaukee Theatre will be the site of a Republican presidential primary debate on the evening of Tuesday, November 10th.
FOX Business Network (FBN) will partner with the Wall Street Journal to host the debate.
The debate will focus on jobs, taxes, and the general health of the economy, as well as domestic and international policy issues.
I'm half-tempted to wander downtown that day just to witness the shitshow out on the streets. Trump, Carson, Bush, Fiorina and like 25 other candidates all descending on the Milwaukee Theatre? Fuck me. What's the over/under on one of them touring the Miller Brewery to show their concern for working class Wisconsin industry? (You know it'd be Miller and not Lakefront; these guys wouldn't be caught dead at a small business if their carcasses were drop lifted in by the Trumpicopter to make them look "small time.") What will keep the security detail busier: keeping us commonfolk away from the candidates, or keeping Scott Walker out of the building? ("GOD DAMMIT, NO ONE TOLD ME I WAS GONNA HAVE HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE FOR ONE OF THESE! I NEVER WOULD HAVE DROPPED OUT!")

The big question is: will Waukesha County have the nerve to brave the scary Milwaukee downtown in order to come see their heroes? After all, they may run into brown people outside the Theatre. Heaven forbid!

Meet the Bands: DRILLERS

This project would obviously not be possible without the amazing punk and indie bands contributing. So let's meet the bands of UNINTIMIDATED: Wisconsin Musicians Against Scott Walker, one by one.

You probably haven't heard of Drillers, and there's a reason for that, other than the fact that they're an obscure Wisconsin punk band like all the obscure Wisconsin punk bands on our little compilation. Drillers are a collection of friends from Milwaukee, Madison, and Western Michigan who until recently recorded and performed as part of a collective of musicians called The Book-Burners. After that group called it quits, a few of them decided they wanted to keep recording and playing together, so they did. It's as simple as that, really.

Visiting The Book-Burners' Bandcamp site is to be deluged by recording after recording, which was the Burners' M.O: write songs, record them in the home studio, throw 'em up, repeat. Immediacy was the objective; of the five Book-Burners, whoever was available generally ended up on the recording (they lived in five separate cities, after all). Waiting for everyone to be in the same room wasn't generally in the cards; the song needed to be shared, and shared it was, timelines be damned. The result was a sweeping discography of raw, low-fi nuggets of musical pearl formed from grit covered in just a bit of smooth. A rare physical document surfaced in 2013 with the release of People's Songs, a vinyl release on Milwaukee's Latest Flame Records. The album was produced in the same manner as all of their recordings: in their own studio on their own terms. Economical, bare-bones, and absolutely urgent.

That sense of working-class urgency has carried on into the first recording from Drillers, "Starving," recorded during the UNINTIMIDATED sessions on the last weekend of August. The challenge of setting up in a recording studio and churning out a completed tune in two hours was tailor-made for these guys, and they more than rose to the task. "Starving" is a thinly not-at-all-veiled threat directed at a certain executive in Madison regarding what may happen to him if the Wisconsin middle class continues its downward spiral toward irrelevance. Let's put it this way--when the "Starving" singer/drummer Bradley explained to us what they had planned, he asked us, "is cannibalism too taboo a subject to tackle on this record?"

Provocation? God forbid we have some of that on our punk compilation. You may not know who Drillers are right now, but get this comp in the right hands when it becomes a real, physical thing, and who knows how well-known they'll become? If they don't catch on with musical audiences in Wisconsin, they should at least get on the radar of Scott Walker's security detail.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Meet the Bands: FOWLMOUTH

This project would obviously not be possible without the amazing punk and indie bands contributing. So let's meet the bands of UNINTIMIDATED: Wisconsin Musicians Against Scott Walker, one by one.

Ever hear that old ridiculous stereotype about how people over 30 that are still in bands are sad losers hiding from real life because they think they're still gonna "make it" eventually, or whatever? You know--working odd jobs and touring the country while living in squalor with five other punks is cool and bohemian when you're in your 20s, but at some point the whole thing just becomes sad and you need to put the guitars and drums away and have a real, boring life? Hell, Metal Sucks ran an article based on the premise a few years back. Thing about stereotypes, though, is that they're rarely true--most musicians are plenty capable of holding down Real Big Person Jobs while practicing their craft at nights on weekends, using some vacation time to play out of town when they feel like it, and using some to hang out with their families. They play music because they love playing music, not out of some naive desire to "make it" (what does that even mean anymore, anyway?), and frankly, contrary to what that Metal Sucks article would tell you, musicians get cooler as they get older. Want proof? The members of Fowlmouth are cooler than any of us could hope to be. They're as old as your dad, they live in Kenosha of all places, and play the least pretentious brand of dirty, bluesy punk rock you'll hear outside of the 1970s.

The Fowlmouth dudes are all Kenosha scene lifers, having gigged around town for decades in bands named things like Old Junk and Ash Can School, although lead carnival barker Jeff Moody's been spending the last couple decades doing more rock criticism than rocking, having run the StripWax record review comic strip for years 'n' years. Finally, right around his 50th birthday, Moody decided it was time to get off the sidelines and mix it up, taking the smirking, sardonic wit he developed in the funny papers and transposing it to lyrical form. Instant local classics like"Ms. Ramone" and "The Christler" (if you've ever spend time in midday downtown Milwaukee you can probably guess what that song's about--if not, click through and check out the cover art) deliver snarky dad-joke bon mots over dirty riffs built by smashing the Stooges together with pure, unfiltered badass small town Wisconsin bar rock. There's nothing flashy about Guy Crucianelli's meat-and-potatoes guitar riffs, but the musicianship displayed by him, bassist Dave Aiello, and drummer Tom Selear is all gravy. (Fun fact: as soon as Tom sat down behind the kit at Howl Street and started warming up, Shane's eyes got a little big and he walked into the control room saying, "ok, these guys can play."

Their song for UNINTIMIDATED is the future state anthem "Too Tired to Riot," an impossibly catchy ditty that unceremoniously encapsulates everything our little project is about: being fed up and wanting to make a huge noise, but real life wears you out, so you do what you can with the tools you have. So instead of rioting and marching and running for office, Fowlmouth writes an instant working-class singalong classic that you'll find yourself humming for days once you sing it. It's everything they're about compressed into 2:21, and they stormed into the studio, belted it out, and were out the door in 52 minutes. No bullshit, stripped-down blues-punk that's ten times cooler than your band and 50 times as fun. I hope to be half as badass in ten years (which will get here way faster than i want it to, regardless...the faster it comes, the faster that Metal Sucks article will look lamer and lamer and lamer. Nothing's less cool than telling people how cool they're not for doing what they love, after all).


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fools Be Actin' Like He Died or Something

There sure has been a lot of dancing in the streets about Scotty's aborted Presidential campaign. Loads of thinkpieces all over the political blogs about why he failed (in short, he was in way over his head and was exposed as an intellectual lightweight coasting on The Union Thing), and at least one amazing segment on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert:

It's been a cathartic week of delicious schadenfreude, to be sure. But man, what's up with all the Wisconsinites acting like Walker's going away? Sure, the national consciousness doesn't have to focus their attention on the doughy-faced asymmetrical pile of goo that doesn't know how to go bald gracefully anymore (seriously, dude--who the hell told you that making up a story about your bald spot coming from banging your head on a cabinet was a way to make you look like a manly common man? Just tell people you have male pattern baldness and own it. It's not a sign of genetic weakness, you unnecessarily vain weirdo). But guess what, Wisconsin? He's going to be back in our state full-time now, and he's not going anywhere else for the time being.

And even if he did resign from the Governorship tomorrow and took some cushy lobbying or punditry gig, we'd still be stuck with Rebecca Kleefisch, Robin Vos, Alberta Darling, Scott & Jeff Fitzgerald, Sheila Harsdorf, Luther Olsen...sociopaths and sycophants all. Things are still pretty shitty in Wisconsin, and they're not looking up anytime soon.

The collapse of Walker's campaign is a glorious win, to be sure. But the war still rages on, y'all.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Shirts are here, and they're spectacular!

Our first ordering run of shirts has arrived! They're real, and they're spectacular:

If you ordered one before the end of August, it's going out in the mail to you Tuesday (tried to make it to the Post Office this morning but it just didn't pan out. Stupid late Packer games messing with my sleep!)! If you placed an order for one after Sept. 1, yours will be ordered on the next run October 1. Thanks to everyone for being patient! I work in customer service and know everyone wants their stuff shipped immediately, but this is the best way we can raise cash for our punk rock endeavor without putting our credit cards in excessive jeopardy. Anyway, watch for them soon, and please post photos of you wearing your shirt all over social media and tag our Facebook or Twitter handles in them! We're @unintimidatedsw on Twitter and Instagram and you can find our Facebook page here.

Want a shirt of your own! Click on the "buy a t-shirt" link on this page or head right here to our bandcamp site! Next run will be ordered on Oct. 1!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Meet the Bands: HAUNTED HEADS

This project would obviously not be possible without the amazing punk and indie bands contributing. So let's meet the bands of UNINTIMIDATED: Wisconsin Musicians Against Scott Walker, one by one.

I spent 10 years living in Oshkosh, WI after high school, attending college and discovering punk and indie rock in the Fox Valley and Green Bay scenes of the mid-1990s. As my own musical palate was developed and the bands i played in evolved into better, louder, (hopefully) more original noise-rock juggernauts, it was done understanding that there were larger music scenes in Madison and Milwaukee--and to a lot of music lovers in the state, those cities were all that mattered. This, of course, only grew the chip that's always rested on my shoulder as my bands and i have strived to put together something unique--sometimes stumbling across the way, but always dealing with the repercussions of not following the latest trends, away from the big music centers of our country (or even our state for a while there). The bands i have played in over the years have never been the hip local bands that set the town on fire, even now that we're based in one of those Wisconsin music centers--Milwaukee--instead of Oshkosh. But it turns out that the title of Wisconsin's best, most interesting indie band probably resides in Oshkosh after all, in the guise of some old friends that we met along the way, not long after the start of their own journey to find their voice. Yep--Oshkosh's Haunted Heads have become a must-see outfit, away from the hip spotlight of Wisconsin's larger music cities (i mean, we don't have an Austin or a Brooklyn here, but fuck it), where they could just do their thing and do it better than most could hope.

Haunted Heads - "36 Sharpened Saws" Music Video from Northern Outpost on Vimeo.

There's nothing flashy or complicated about what Haunted Heads does--you could pull elements of their sound out of 90s standouts like The Wrens, Built to Spill, Silkworm, or loads of other bands. But influences mean nothing without the talent, the harmonies, and the pure songwriting skills to mold them into great tunes. And Haunted Heads write amazing tunes. Their 2014 self-titled EP is a brisk, crisp march through shimmering chords, rapid-fire drumming, earthy, organic bass lines, and off-kilter, instantly infectious yelping melodies that stick in your head for weeks.

Watching these guys put a song together for UNINTIMIDATED at Howl Street after decades of knowing them was a treat and a joy. They blasted through "285 Feet Tall" about twice before they knew they had the take they wanted, leaving drummer Chad and bassist Kyle to chill out on the sofa while guitarists Andy and Eric weaved their vocal harmonies together like a beautifully disjointed patchwork quilt of melody lines. "My hands and feet are made of wood/with billion-dollar strings/and i can be anything!" It's one of their most blistering tunes, played with a punk rock moxie that matches the snarky accusations of their lyrics, and easily a standout on an album of unstoppable standout tracks.

These boys have been at this rock 'n' roll thing for more than two decades at this point, floating through various bands and developing their talents before settling into their current configuration (The Fox Valley in general and Oshkosh in particular excels in the classic Local Scene Trope of a half-dozen key players forming bands, putting out amazing records, breaking up, reforming in a slightly different lineup, and repeating the process). I could list a half dozen of their former bands off the top of my head right now--Crayonblack, Salt, Chinaski, Shelf Life, Congratulations on Your Decision to Become a Pilot, The Willis, Happy (ok, that's seven). Is Haunted Heads the culmination of all those groups, the best thing they've done to date? Who knows, but i'm guessing these guys aren't done getting better. After all, when there's no hot trend to slave yourself to, no pressure to "make it" or be the new Cool Thing because you've stayed put in the place where you grew up, the only proper direction for your creative energy is right back into the songs...the way it should be for everyone. I'm guessing it may be hard for these guys to peak if they just keep evolving.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Well That Was a Shitshow, Or: Scotty's Desperate Last Gasp

"You wanna talk about the Apprentice -- we've already got an apprentice in the White House!"

How long do you guys think Scotty had that in his back pocket, waiting for his BIG MOMENT to bust that out on national TV? And of course, when he got his chance to zing Donald Trump with it, it sounded just as prepared and forced as any of the other little sound bites the GOP candidates prepared for Wednesday's "debate." And of course, Trump proceeded to destroy Walker by doing what he's done so well during this campaign: use his lack of political history to his advantage by assaulting the policy shortcomings of his opponents while the other ten people on the stage have nothing to fling back at the man who's never held office (true, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina are in the same position, but they don't do blowhard the way Trump does blowhard).

It was pretty gruesome, as the link above summarizes:
Trump called out Walker’s terrible economic record in Wisconsin. Walker accused Trump of using Democratic talking points. Walker accused Trump of being a bad business person and taking companies to bankruptcy. Trump responded by saying, “When the folks of Iowa found out the true facts of the job that you’ve done in Wisconsin, all of the sudden you’ve tubed. He was number one now he’s number six or seven in the polls."
He continued, “Look, we brought it out. You were supposed to make a billion dollars in the state. You’ve lost two point two. You have right now a huge budget deficit. That’s not a Democratic point. That’s a fact, and when the people of Iowa found that out, I went to number one, and you went down.”
Why has Trump appealed to so many on the right? He doesn't stock up on little cutesy sound bites like "we already have an apprentice in the White House." Right there is why he comes across as authentic to a huge swath of the populace (fake hair and all). Sure, he's full of shit, but as far as he's concerned, he's not bullshitting you. People can sense that he means what he says. It's why people are flocking to Bernie Sanders in droves as well--people can just sense that he's authentic.

Walker? Every time he got the floor, you could see his coaching in action--you could tell his handlers said "you need to come out swinging this time! You barely said anything last debate and now you're tanking in the polls!" It was forced, it was clumsy, it was pathetic, and Trump sensed it immediately and went on the attack, like a wild dog smelling fear.

It's pretty likely that Walker's campaign for President is breathing about as much as The Walking Dead, and we still have months to go before the Iowa caucus. Lots of people have asked us, "what if he's irrelevant by the time UNINTIMIDATED comes out? Trump's been destroying him." Well, he won't be irrelevant in Wisconsin until (hopefully) 2018. No matter how much of a punchline he becomes on the national stage, he and his cronies in the Legislature will still be working to destroy public education, labor rights, and apparently Wisconsin's open records law--still. 

As Walker continues to run roughshod over everything that's ever made Wisconsin great while simultaneously getting laughed out of the 2016 race, what does that say about the state that elected him to the Governor's mansion three times since 2010? As satisfying as it is to see the national media treat Walker the way our state media should have, it's really hard to watch him squirm, think "and he convinced enough Wisconsinites to treat him seriously?" and not feel a deep sense of humiliation. As embarrassed as Walker should be for clumsily lobbing talking points at his party's frontrunner like he's tossing home run derby meatballs, we should be doubly embarrassed that we ever let him get to the big leagues in the first place.

(image ganked from NPR)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Shame of Wisconsin News Media (a slightly late Labor Day post)

This past Labor Day weekend there were obviously so many talking points to speak on here in Wisconsin, where labor has been under assault for the past five years. But what kept jumping out at me were the litany of posts and pieces gleefully slagging Scott Walker's non-ready-for-prime-time hack job of a Presidential campaign. Perhaps the snarkiest came from The Guardian's Jeb Lund, titled "When you're as bad at campaigns as Scott Walker, you should just give up." Oof, it's harsh:
Scott Walker’s presidential campaign is only a little over 50 days old, and it’s increasingly obvious that Scott Walker sucks. Not for his record or what he believes, although both of those are – to borrow a phrase from William Safire – extremely sucky. But Scott Walker is not good at this campaign thing.
A good campaign introduces a candidate and his best ideas to sympathetic and like-minded voters through a combination of events, press coverage and paid outreach, allowing him or her to attract campaign donations and new supporters alike. A bad campaign forces a candidate to get on the phone to reassure his existing donors that he exists and is going to abandon the “sinking into obscurity” tactic that hadn’t been working. A truly terrible campaign is at hand when the most widely-reported news story is the candidate’s old claim that his bald spot totally isn’t genetic but comes from banging his head against the underside of a cabinet.
Friends of mine were gleefully posting this article all over their Facebooks, and i'll not lie--the sheer venom in the prose is a cathartic thirst quencher for those of us stuck in the desert of Wisconsin political news coverage, desperate for an oasis of objectivity, of investigative journalism, of holding politicians accountable for their words and deeds. But ultimately, the Guardian piece made me kinda depressed. If the national press have been able to sniff out Walker's bullshit this quickly--to the point where friends out of state have looked at the UNINTIMIDATED project and said, "geez, you guys better hurry--he's going to be irrelevant soon" (as if he'll stop being irrelevant in Wisconsin after he slinks back home from the aborted campaign trail)--what does that say about Wisconsin? Why did 52% of the electorate not see what the national news media has been not at all shy to point out: that Scott Walker is a lying shill who will at any given moment say the least-committal thing that will garner the most political points?

It is certainly one thing to pander to conservatives when you're only running against Democrats, such as he's done for three gubernatorial campaigns in Wisconsin, and another to try to triangulate your position among a field of 16 Republican Presidential candidates (especially when one of them is a billionaire blowhard who gives no fucks and doesn't play by the same rules you're playing). But still--the speed with which Walker's campaign has been torn apart compared to all the fawning coverage he's always received back home is staggering.

It reminded me of this article from Summer of 2014, which called its shot a year out by examining how the protective bubble of conservative talk radio and divisive racial GOP politics evolved in Wisconsin. It was a fascinating, if sobering read then, and it's twice as sobering now considering how much of its prognosticating has come true:
This interpretation of Walker’s appeal could hardly be more flawed. He has succeeded in the sort of environment least conducive to producing a candidate capable of winning a national majority. Over the past few decades, Walker’s home turf of metropolitan Milwaukee has developed into the most bitterly divided political ground in the country—“the most polarized part of a polarized state in a polarized nation,” as a recent series by Craig Gilbert in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel put it. Thanks to a quirk of twentieth-century history, the region encompasses a heavily Democratic and African American urban center, and suburbs that are far more uniformly white and Republican than those in any other Northern city, with a moat of resentment running between the two zones. As a result, the area has given rise to some of the most worrisome trends in American political life in supercharged form: profound racial inequality, extreme political segregation, a parallel-universe news media. These trends predate Walker, but they have enabled his ascent, and his tenure in government has only served to intensify them. Anyone who believes that he is the Republican to save his party—let alone win a presidential election—needs to understand the toxic and ruptured landscape he will leave behind.
It's infuriating to see the rest of the nation turn Walker into a walking punchline while he's been treated with reverence in our increasingly corrupt state. True--thanks to years of conservative media crafting its own reality where anything even slightly critical of right-wing positions constitutes liberal media bias, a local media doing its job would have still likely been dismissed by most of the conservative voters in Wisconsin. But wouldn't it have been at least nice to know exactly what we were getting into back in 2010?

It's almost enough to begrudgingly admire the brass balls on the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that they were willing to let this blog get posted on their site: "How the Wisconsin media failed to warn us about Scott Walker:"
By playing it safe, the Wisconsin media failed to meet its obligations to the public. Rather than pushing Walker to answer tough questions or criticizing him when he acted evasively, they allowed a career politician to feed them spin and to outright lie to us. We deserved better.
Around the time of the Rodney King trial and LA riots of the early 90s, Bobcat Goldthwait once said, "If you ever see me getting beaten up by the police, put the video camera down and help me." Thanks for all the help as our state's gotten beaten into the dirt, Journal-Sentinel Communications, Gannet Wisconsin Media, etc. Good lookin' out.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Meet the Bands: HEAVY HAND

This project would obviously not be possible without the amazing punk and indie bands contributing. So let's meet the bands of UNINTIMIDATED: Wisconsin Musicians Against Scott Walker, one by one.

UNINTIMIDATED is a punk comp, in ethics and origin--even if not every band could be strictly referred to as "punk" in style. Heavy Hand, by any definition of the word, is punk as fuck. The opening track from last year's Northwoods Knives release is called "David Bowie Wants to Steal Your Baby" and is all of 56 seconds long. (Yes, Labyrinth references are super punk.) Other hit singles from this nine-song, 20-minute barn-burner include the classy "Milwaukee Cum Dumpster" and "Motherfucking Bobcat." Their song for the UNINTIMIDATED comp? "White Power Norah Jones." When asked where that title came from, Heavy Hand guitarist/screamer (and UNINTIMIDATED co-coordinator) Tony Weber just looked at me and said, "Scott Walker is a total White Power Norah Jones," and left it at that. Totally ridiculous. Totally punk rock.

The economy with which Heavy Hand does their business makes them a perfect fit for a DIY grassroots political project such as ours. Gritty, fuzzy riffs that are equally simple and catchy as hell, blasted out over a deceptively basic but solid rhythm section (bassist Isa Carini & drummer Chris Roberts, both formerly of the not-in-any-way-similar-to-Heavy-Hand Scarring Party). Like all the best punk rock, it seems simple, but it's deceptively so, as not just anyone can throw a few chords together and make tunes this catchy. Hell, not many bands can make songs this hummable with lyrics this hard to make out. It's a feat!

This sounds like a lot of silly business, it is true. But don't think that this band doesn't take what they do seriously. Otherwise they wouldn't be on our comp, yo. It takes dedication to be this goofy and fun while delivering delicious bite-sized nuggets of rusty buzzsaw riffs that slice through your forehead and deliver lethal doses of punk rock tetanus. So let's hope that ol' Scotty Walker gets "White Power Norah Jones" bored into his brain to the point where it locks his jaw shut and he starves to death. I mean, "Dead Walker" is a name just begging for some new punk band to adopt it, right?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Meet the Bands: HOLY SHIT!

This project would obviously not be possible without the amazing punk and indie bands contributing. So let's meet the bands of UNINTIMIDATED: Wisconsin Musicians Against Scott Walker, one by one.

For all the poetic and witty couplets expressed in lyrical form over the last weekend, while 13 bands took two hours each to record protest songs about Scott Walker, it took Milwaukee's reigning kings of hardcore punk, Holy Shit!, to distill the sentiment to its purest outburst of the night, as vocalist Tab Man screamed "YOU MOTHERFUCKER! FUCK YOUUUUU!" into the mic while tracking vocals for "How About 'No,' Scott?," a just under two-minute blast of concentrated anger that ranks as one of the band's longest songs on record.

Holy Shit!'s been around since 2001, which makes them the second-longest-running band on our comp (behind our most recent subjects, IfIHadAHiFi, who started in 2000). When a band's been around that long, it's easy to take 'em for granted ("eh, i'll see 'em next time"), but every time they end up back in front of you, you find yourself beaten over the head with the reminder that these dudes are just as raging, just as hilarious, and just as essential as they've ever been, and you're a fool if you're in the area when they're playing and say to yourself, "eh..." Just give 2010's KBD OOP a spin and get your ears pinned back by 14 rapid-fire shots of straight-up old school that's way more diverse and adventurous than a collection of minute-long tunes has any right to be. If you're not grinning like a maniac and pumping your fist by the time "My Girlfriend is a Depressed Vegan Nightmare" whips around your ears for all of 40 seconds, you may not be cool. Which is probably ok, since these guys would be the first to tell you that they're huge dorks anyway.

But they're huge dorks with serious chops. You can't be this fast, this tight, without having some serious skills, and Eric's machine-gun drumming, Andy's lightning riffs, and Tony's earthquake bass never let things fall off the rails. Just ask our video director, Chuck--while filming Holy Shit! at Howl Street, all that could be heard in the live room (thanks to isolation booths) were drums, Tab Man' screaming, and lots of strings getting pummeled. It sounded like a complete mess, until we got into the control room and heard the full, glorious playback of "How About 'No,' Scott?" I'm not saying they're on Bad Brains' level, because was anyone? But these fuckers blast riffs tighter than Rick Santorum's asshole.

As you can probably tell from their song titles ("Jumping into a Goddamned Waterfall," "I Hate this Stupid World Because it Sucks Like Hell," "Bad Day Fishing"), Holy Shit!'s not normally a political band, but a certain sleepy-eyed prick in Madison convinced them to step outside the box once again and add another check to their punk rock bucket list, and we're really glad they did. It was all laughs and crazy jokes and slammed beers by the end of their recording session; not a bad way to close out a weekend.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Too Tired to Riot, Not Too Tired to Film and Record

A photo posted by @unintimidatedsw on

We made some magic last weekend.

In the course of 26 hours over 2 1/2 days, 13 bands stormed Howl Street Recordings in Milwaukee and blasted away at a protest song written specifically about our awful, horrible, very no good governor, Scott "A Canadian Border Wall Totally Makes Sense" Walker. And every band brought their A-game. Whether it was Donoma laying down a triple-guitar attack, Lady Cannon using her two hours to improvise a jazzy piece of chamber-pop from scratch, or FowlMouth waltzing in, banging out your soon-to-be new favorite anthem, "Too Tired to Riot," in 52 minutes flat, every band rose to the occasion. We honestly could not believe how smoothly the entire weekend went. Everyone was on task and devoted to the idea of recording a complete compilation album in the course of one weekend. 60+ people doing heroic work, including our insanely talented engineer, Shane, who wasn't fazed by any potential curveballs or miking issues. He kept everything humming and helped every band play and sound their best. He's a hero. Book his damn studio and record your record there.

Meanwhile, the film crew assembled mountains of footage of every band. Chuck, Orin, and Ashley did stellar work behind the cameras, keeping three GoPros running while working with their own hand-helds. Special thanks also to Kara, Aaron, and Ellen for helping with setup, providing snacks, and in Ellen's case, doing pretty much anything that was needed, be it running for coffee or taking slo-mo shots! And did we mention food? Isa from Heavy Hand was on point with the weekend fuel, bringing cookies, lasagna and chili to the studio to keep gas in our tanks.

A photo posted by @unintimidatedsw on

So what's next? Hours and hours of mixing, mastering, and editing. We're shooting for a February 2016 release for this sucker, right in the thick of primary season, and we'll have a lot of work to do to make that deadline. But we're over the first hump, and that's absolutely amazing. We can't wait to share these songs with all of you.

T-Shirt Update!

Our first order has been sent to Scott at Hype Screen Print and it's all been paid for, so as soon as those suckers are in our hands, they'll be on their way to those of you who trusted us with a pre-order. We can't wait to post dorky photos of us (and you, if you send them!) wearing these shits. Soon, my pretties, soon. But until then, to all of you who have bought shirts, donated time, and especially to the bands that made this all happen...THANK YOU.

A photo posted by @unintimidatedsw on

Friday, August 28, 2015

Follow the recording this weekend on Twitter and Instagram!

Let's not bury the lede: we now have our Twitter and Instagram accounts set up, just in time for this weekend. Find us and follow us--both have the name @UnintimidatedSW! And what's this weekend? Well, it's pretty busy for us:

This weekend the bands of UNINTIMIDATED will arrive in two-hour increments at Howl Street Recordings and bash out the protest music they have been working on for the last few months. This whole thing started as a Facebook post, of all things, in which i (DJ) was lamenting the fact that so many people express their "activist" side by simply sharing an outraging Scott Walker article, huffing and puffing about it, and calling it a day. Recognizing that as armchair activism, i was resolved to do SOMETHING more outwardly active, but when you work 45 hours a week and live paycheck to paycheck, you don't have a lot of time to give. This is an issue we ALL face, of course, so it boils down to: what's your niche? What can you do to make a difference? Well, my friends and i are musicians, so let's make music.

We don't expect these songs to change the course in Wisconsin--at least not by themselves. Heck, we're noisy punk rock bands by and large, so there's not even a wide audience for our music on an everyday basis. But here's the thing--real change doesn't happen on a large scale without multiple tiny, little changes happening at once. So here we are, making our tiny, little change. Maybe we'll raise a few bucks for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. Maybe we'll pay for some meals for the needy. Hopefully, these songs will inspire others to make little changes in their lives, even if that little change is to be more vocal about how upset we are at the direction of our state. If everyone does their small, little part, maybe that could snowball into something. Wouldn't that be nice?

We'll be updating regularly via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and here, so follow along!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Meet the Bands: IFIHADAHIFI

This project would obviously not be possible without the amazing punk and indie bands contributing. So let's meet the bands of UNINTIMIDATED: Wisconsin Musicians Against Scott Walker, one by one.

Eh, these guys are ok. Whatever.

Well, hell--what can i say about my own band? We've been doing our thing since 2000, which was when Bill Clinton was still in office. Three presidential administrations, you guys! We're very loud and we're very noisy. I guess i'll let my friend Chris from the Chicago band Burn Permits and the Seattle band Police Teeth handle this one:

Like an unholy Midwestern man-wich of Cheap Trick and Brainiac, ifihadahifi has been breaking teeth and taking names for well over a decade, with seemingly no plans to grow up and head off to the glue factory. And god bless them for sticking around, as their mix of synth bleeps, guitar noise, and fist in the air anthemic choruses has only been getting better and better with each release.

Yeah, i'll accept that.

IfIHadAHiFi recorded our own little sharp poke in Walker's ear (actually, i doubt he's ever even heard it) when we recorded "Imperial Walker" in 2011 at the previous Howl Street Recordings locale, raising over $500 for Russ Feingold's Progressives United PAC. A tiny drop in the bucket, but a donation all the same. It's also a pretty accurate distillation of what we do--extremely noisy indie rock with hooks buried way below the chaos. So check it out below, and if you're into it, check out some of our other releases. There ya go!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Order a shirt, help us help Planned Parenthood & feed the needy.

As you may be aware, we've been doing a pre-order of t-shirts that we'll be ordering early next week, and will do the same on a monthly basis, printing them to order, in order to build up a little nest egg to get the UNINTIMIDATED CDs and DVDs (that we're recording and filming THIS WEEKEND!) pressed. We've had a few sales so far--thank you to the early adopters! To the rest of you, just remember that they're gonna look pretty damn sweet:

I mean, come on, you guys. Need some more motivation? We, of course, have had a couple people questioning what we're doing with any money that comes in past the costs for this project. A valid query! We've been discussing the best places to donate, and we have so far narrowed on the following. Any money earned by this project over its cost is going to:

1) Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. It's kind of a no-brainer. We are obviously furious at Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP's aping of the national smear campaign that's been afoot as well as the attempts to defund PP, all on the basis of some BS videos that were edited together to make everyone think that Planned Parenthood is selling dead baby parts. WTF, you guys.

Planned Parenthood obviously does loads of amazing stuff to promote women's health: breast and cervical cancer screenings! Pap and HPV tests! Birth Control! And yes, dear god, should the need arise, they also provide abortion services. GASP OH THE HORROR. Of course, that's where the persecution and efforts to defund Planned Parenthood on a national scale come in. Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood's funding in Wisconsin has already been slashed by Scott Walker, having started with the infamous 2011 budget that cut off 12,000 women who do not have health insurance from getting preventive health care.

That's more than wrong--that's straight-up evil. So yeah, we're gonna do Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin a solid and raise 'em some cash, hopefully. We have very modest goals in mind for this project, but you never know--we could make a difference if we get enough people behind us!

We're also going to raise money for:

2) Local soup kitchens in the Milwaukee area. We have a specific one in mind, but because they must stay non-partisan (for good, understandable reasons), we won't mention their name unless they give us permission. That said, we very much want any extra money that comes in from this project to go to immediate use for those impacted the most severely by Scott Walker's politics. That's low-income women who need critical medical care. That's low-income everyone who need to eat but are having trouble affording food or shelter. 

That's also public schools across Wisconsin, obviously, and if we figure out where we want to donate money toward that cause, we'll let you know! But for now, Planned Parenthood and efforts to feed Milwaukee's needy are where it's at. We'll do our best to make all of this as transparent as possible.

Speaking of which -- we'll be sending the first order of t-shirts to Hype Screen Print at the beginning of September, and will be shipping them as soon as we get 'em back from Scott. You can order them at our Bandcamp site, which is where the DVD/CD set will be ordered from as well, when we're ready to set that up! But first, we have to do the recording and filming, which--holy crap--is this weekend!

We're psyched.

NOTE: Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is in no way affiliated with UNINTIMIDATED: Wisconsin Musicians Against Scott Walker. We are merely raising money and donating for them. We have not been in contact with Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin at all, so hopefully they don't mind us raising some cash for 'em.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Meet the Bands: LADY CANNON

This project would obviously not be possible without the amazing punk and indie bands contributing. So let's meet the bands of UNINTIMIDATED: Wisconsin Musicians Against Scott Walker, one by one.

Man, these bands have all been full of burly dudes so far. Howsabout we mix things up a bit? Good thing we have a bunch of awesome ladies contributing to this project as well--notably for this post, Martha Cannon, AKA Lady Cannon!

Lady Cannon tags her music as "Americana" and "folk" on her Bandcamp page, and classifies her tunes as "Midwest Softcore," but a listen through her Whiskey Dear EP reveals layers far more complex than those easily-pigeonholed genre tags. Sure, there's plenty of acoustic guitar and lap steel, but the spacey, airy production and occasionally noisy guitar effects bring to mind the not-quite-shoegazey vibes of Mazzy Star playing jazz standards in a foggy dive bar somewhere just off the warehouse district of whatever town you happen to find yourself in. It's sultry, smokey, and kind of magical.

"My Evil Girlfriend Bought One Ticket Instead Of Two" (c'mon, awesome title) could very well distill the essence of Cannon's songwriting into just under five minutes of haunting, kinda sad, kinda smirking piss-takes at those who would underestimate her. "I'm sorry about my wicked side/I know you don't like when i stay out late/I know you're thinking 'where have you been dressed like that on a Tuesday night?'" I somehow get the feeling she's not sorry, though. Call me crazy.

"But guyyyyys!" You say. "I thought this was a punk comp you were putting together!" Punk is what you make it, ya goofs.

What's Lady Cannon going to bring to UNINTIMIDATED? We haven't the slightest, but we'd be willing to guess it'll deliver a lot of fire under all that smokey exterior. Meanwhile, click the embed below if you're into having spells cast on ya.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Here's Some More Galoot County For Ya

Jeff Moody is the vocalist for UNINTIMIDATED band FowlMouth, but he's also an accomplished cartoonist, having spent years writing comic strip record reviews under the Stripwax banner. He's picked up his pen once again to bring us Galoot County, the finest in Wisconsinite Republican satire. Here are two new ones.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

We've Got T-Shirts. Or, More Accurately, We WILL Have T-Shirts.

So, you've been saying to yourself, "self," you says, "i'm really into this whole UNINTIMIDATED project, and i'd really love to help them get this thing produced, but how? I am but one person! Oh, if i could only help them in some way!"

Hey, want a shirt?

OK, don't worry, all you "but i want to be able to wear it at work!" worrywarts -- we've got you covered too:

Today, we're launching the BandCamp site for the UNINTIMIDATED project: This is where the DVD/CD/zine and download will be sold online, but for now, we're hoping to raise some funds for the pressing by moving these sweet shirts. 

Because we're trying to keep costs manageable, we're running this like a pre-sale. We'll take orders through the end of every month, then that month send them to our printer to run them off and send them to us. So please be patient with regard to shipping time! Hopefully if these take off we'll be able to stock some eventually, but for now, we'll be printing them to order in monthly batches. Expect them to ship around the mid-month after you order. 

And who's doing the printing, you ask? Our man Scott at Hype Screen Print in Detroit, MI! They'll be printed on sweatshop-free Tultex shirts and will be available in unisex and women's sizes, white ink on black shirts. All proceeds from the shirts will go toward the pressing of the UNINTIMIDATED DVD/CD/zine, and everything this project raises above costs will go to charity. 

Shirts are $15 plus shipping. Don't have $15 but want to toss us a few bucks to help out anyway? Go to and get yourself a download of IfIHadAHiFi's 2011 anti-Walker anthem, "Imperial Walker!" A $1 minimum donation will net you a copy of that jam, but you can set the purchase to toss us however much you want. (And you'll get the download right away. Instant gratification!)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


This project would obviously not be possible without the amazing punk and indie bands contributing. So let's meet the bands of UNINTIMIDATED: Wisconsin Musicians Against Scott Walker, one by one.

Oh hai! Been a few days since we posted last. It's been a crazy few days, but let's get back into it. So far, we've had lots of super-loud, aggro sludge and noise-rock bands. Howsabout we diversify with something over on the indie-pop side of things? Behold thee mighty Midwest Death Rattle!

The shimmering pop tunes of the Death Rattle are finely crafted nuggets built first and foremost on solid songcraft and canny arrangements that wouldn't be possible if not for the truly impressive musicianship on display on each of the nine tracks that comprise their debut self-titled release. Each member of this band has a Jedi-like mastery over their instrument, each playing their role in a sound flavored by sprinkles of Modest Mouse, some Flaming Lips psych tinges, a humble dash of lounge act vermouth, and hooks, hooks, hooks.

Have i mentioned how fun this band is to watch live? I mean, you can channel Freddy Mercury crooning over Bootsy Collins and Gene Krupa all night long, but if there's no showmanship, no energy, no fun, who the hell cares? Not saying Midwest Death Rattle are going to be hosting any gear bro clinics anytime soon, but these guys throw off so many good vibes while showing off their chops on stage, it's hard not to get swept up in the sunshine. For a band with the word "death" in their name, they sure are one of the liveliest batches of shredders you'll run into. Every Death Rattle show is a guaranteed smile-fest, whether you're grooving to the songwriting or just basking in the vibe.

Not that they're hippies or anything. They'll straight-up rock your ass off. Don't believe me? Their shit is embedded below. Crank it yourself and dig the fact that we've got some popsters classing up the joint with some party jams up here in UNINTIMIDATED land. Bet you didn't think hating on Scott Walker could sound like a house party.

Also, they're apparently avid bowlers, judging from that photo. What's more Wisconsin than that?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Meet the Bands: SOUP MOAT

This project would obviously not be possible without the amazing punk and indie bands contributing. So let's meet the bands of UNINTIMIDATED: Wisconsin Musicians Against Scott Walker, one by one.

There's a certain brand of musician in the Riverwest community of Milwaukee that plays a certain kind of music--a slopdish of mashed influences tossed into a casserole of thrash, grunge, punk, free jazz, and what the hell, let's throw in an 80s movie soundtrack chorus here and there, why not? They're not the first band from this crazy arty corner of town to take such a spastic approach--Strange Matter, you are missed!--but it's hard to think of one that's done it better than the mischievously schizophrenic Soup Moat.

Initially the brainchild of drummer Scott Emmerich and bassist Frank Knaebe, Soup Moat in recent years has expanded to include guitarists Jason Jolly and Nathan Riddle, who have ably filled out the wacky sludge madness, adding equal parts Melvins and Ween (well, ok, more Melvins, but). The Enjoy Your Hobbies 7" features Soup Moat in three-piece mode, blowing through six tracks in roughly seven minutes. That's one minute per inch!

Yup, the song Soup Moat contributes to UNINTIMIDATED will likely be one of the shortest of the project, but it'll also likely be one of the most insane, and that's why we're stoked to have 'em. Because sometimes when the people running your home state are thoroughly violating its every tradition, nook, cranny, orifice, what have you, sometimes an insane outburst of redlined frustration is just the scrubbing your brain needs. Soup Moat are the steel wool scouring pad for your soul, and Enjoy Your Hobbies is the bleach. Blast it at full volume.

No, We Didn't Watch the Debate Tonight.

I had band practice, and come on, i'm not gonna miss band practice to watch a bunch of angry wannabe silverbacks talk about hating women and minorities for ninety minutes.

My friend Lindsey found this, though:


Interview on BustED Pencils is live!

We spoke to Tim Slekar and his co-host for the evening at BustED Pencils about UNINTIMIDATED, the political nature of punk music, and what aggravates us the most about Walker's attacks on public education in Wisconsin. Dig it right here:

Milwaukee Punks are Unintimidated By Scott Walker

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Podcast Interview on BustED Pencils Coming Up!

We're going to be appearing on an episode of BustED Pencils shortly--we're doing the interview tomorrow at 10 PM, and we believe that it's going to be airing live at that time. If not, you'll be able to hear it shortly after at

The BestED Pencils hosts are Dr. Timothy Slekar, the Dean of the School of Education at Edgewood College in Madison, WI, and WJJO on-air talent Randy Hawke. They talk about a variety of education advocacy topics, very often with a political bent. Needless to say, they're not stoked about the gutting of public education in Wisconsin. They're also super into punk rock, so it should be a really fun conversation. We're looking forward to it!

Of course, on Thursday the Fox News carnival features the GOP Presidential Clown Car vomiting its contents all over your television, as the first GOP debate airs 8 PM CDT. A few videos have circulated explaining the top 10 candidates who will be participating; this one is the most accurate in our estimation:


It's sure to be an enlightening 90 minutes!

Sunday, August 2, 2015


This project would obviously not be possible without the amazing punk and indie bands contributing. So let's meet the bands of UNINTIMIDATED: Wisconsin Musicians Against Scott Walker, one by one.

We assure everyone that the presence of burly bearded dudes on our first two bands is a mere coincidence of reverse alphabetizing. In any event, it would have felt weird doing this project without Tyranny is Tyranny, a band named after a chapter in A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn, and whose terrific new album, The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, sports a title inspired by a book by political activist, author and filmmaker Naomi Klein. Guitarist/vocalist Russell Emerson Hall is in the midst of a long career of using music as political speech; his previous ensemble, The United Sons of Toil, performed on the Wisconsin capitol steps in Madison during the 2011 Act 10 protests.

Tyranny pulls much of their musical influence from the similar noise-rock veins mined by Volunteer, though Volunteer's immediate punch-the-face approach is replaced here with a more deliberate slow burn of riffs, builds, and dynamic shifts (the better to let bassist M. Guy Ficcioto's trumpet exhale over the occasional lulls in the tempest). Indeed, Tyranny is Tyranny's shows of late have almost felt structured like movements in a noise-rock symphony, one seven-minute epic leading into the next like interlocking pieces to a larger, more grandiose work. And these men have ideas and ideals that match the sweeping scale of their music. The 14-minute "Victory Will Defeat You" is a thesis for the band's entire reason for being, extolling the listener to stand and face the fire:
Peace has cost you your strength. 
Victory has defeated you. 
Unity weaned on rhetoric, 
Enforced by arms.  

A band of action, for sure, and one we are privileged to have appearing in our project. You can find all their releases at, released by Phratry Records of Cincinnati, Ohio. Get into it.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Meet the Bands: VOLUNTEER

This project would obviously not be possible without the amazing punk and indie bands contributing. So let's meet the bands of UNINTIMIDATED: Wisconsin Musicians Against Scott Walker, one by one.

Photo by Patrick Houdek

Milwaukee's Volunteer have been at it for a few years now, assembled from members of Milwaukee/Racine standouts like Stock Options, Forstella Ford, and Chicago's Gasoline Fight. Volunteer are straight-up LOUD, which is what noise-rock bands should be, so that works out well. The amphetamine-fueled rumble of bands like Unsane, Steel Pole Bathtub and Helmet inform the snarl that chugs and churns out of the wall of amps behind Francisco Ramirez's baritone guitar, Mark Sheppard's steel barrel Tamas, and Martin Defatte's meaty bass. On their latest, the Goner EP, you can almost see Defatte's bass strings swaying back and forth across the fretboard--they sound detuned to the point where it's shocking they still have tension. It lays a foundation of molasses that Ramirez's crushing riffs and throaty growl coalesce into a glacier of straight-up noise.

Ramirez happens to be an amazing poster artist, as well--he appeared in the excellent documentary Just Like Being There in the company of such gig poster legends as Jay Ryan, Erin Page and Daniel Danger. If you're in a band, you should seriously consider hooking up with the Bureau of Print Research & Design for your next poster. He'll kill it.

Check out Volunteer's sludgy awesome at, toss 'em a few bucks, and get ready for some straight-up volume--when we say we're gonna yell at Scott Walker through songs, this is what we're talking about.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Let it never be said that we're above sophomoric jokes.

Because we're totally not above sophomoric jokes.

(Courtesy the internet? PBS? I dunno, we saw it on Facebook...)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Doing an interview with WORT Tuesday, i guess!

Hey! We'll be on In Our Backyard on 89.9 WORT-FM Tuesday evening at 6:30 PM chatting about the project. So that's a cool thing.

In other news, we (yeah this ain't just one person planning this out, y'all--this is a collective effort. Mental note--start referring to ourselves in the third person plural more often) had some planning meetings the last two nights, and stuff is coming along nicely. It's pretty crazy how one silly little idea can suddenly resonate with a whole mess of people and start to take shape into something bigger and more awesome than envisioned. We're so excited to bring you all along as this project takes shape. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

OK, so we're on social media finally.

We finally set up a Facebook page. Please "like" us, share the page around, invite friends, all that jazz. Updates on the project will be posted here and there!

Walker Meet & Greet in St. Louis Today NOT AUTHORIZED By Store Owners

This is hilarious and comes to me via my friend Carlin in St. Louis:

Scott Walker's campaign is holding a "meet and greet" at Sugarfire Smoke House, a BBQ joint in St. Louis:

Please join us for a meet and greet with Governor Scott Walker, Sunday, July 26th, 2:15 PM CDT, at Sugarfire Smoke House!

Address: 9200 Olive Blvd. Olivette, MO 63132
Event Starts: 2:15 PM CDT
Attendee Requirements:

RSVP: You must RSVP and bring your registration ticket with you to the event for admittance.
Ticket/ID: The name on your registration ticket must match your government issued photo ID.
For press inquiries contact

Thank you for your interest - we look forward to seeing you there!
One hitch, though--the owners of Sugarfire say they know nothing about it, according to this message from their Facebook:

A little message from our owners:

We are in Austin this weekend doing some R and D on some BBQ to bring back to the Lou. We're getting some unkind messages on our social media that a politician that's running for president is eating at Sugarfire tomorrow. This in no way, shape, or form is an event hosted by us. We don't take reservations or hold tables for anybody. We also don't take into consideration anybody's politics or beliefs that want to eat here, we don't have time for that. We make delicious food for everybody, no judging or questions asked.

Thanks, Mike, Charlie, and Carolyn
And another line from the owners, in the comments:
never heard of the guy but he's got an evite out kind of making us look like we're involved, which we are definitely not. 
Definitely interested in what the scene will be like at the restaurant today. The restaurant says they are open to the general public today, but the Walker campaign states an RSVP is needed. Could be some interesting drama. For what it's worth, the owners also posted a photo of an email they were sending the campaign to show they didn't appreciate being made to look like they had any political affiliation (this is also from the Facebook comments on Sugarfire's page):

To be clear, Sugarfire is stating that they have no issue with Scott Walker eating there; they have an issue with being made to look like they support him, and if a Democratic candidate pulled the same stunt, they'd issue the same disclaimers, according to the owners.

If we hear any more news about how things shake down at the restaurant today, we'll share it here.

UPDATE (4:50 PM CDT): Carlin went to check out the event, and said a whopping two dozen people tops were there to see Walker:

"Turned out to be a bit of a non-event... but dude was there, in the actual building for a whopping 10 minutes MAX - him and his actual crew did not purchase or consume any food...They then spilled outside and he did a little more glad-handing and book signing outside - one of his security dudes (earpiece and everything) was holding the door open for a long time and I told him to shut the door and quit letting all the a/c out... he tried to give me some of the intimidation thing right as a waitress came up and said "Please close the door, we don't need the flies or the heat in here." And he closed it but gave me a little stinkeye."

Looks like the big event today that actually counts is the big ol' fundraising dinner Walker's attending later tonight:
Walker is to attend a July 26 event at the St. Louis home of Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield. Rex Sinquefield is a retired investment firm founder who has bankrolled initiatives to cut income taxes and curb the ability of teachers' union to negotiate tenure protections.
An invitation lists several prominent Missouri Republicans as members of the event's host committee. They include former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, who was an adviser to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who recently launched a 2016 bid for governor.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Damsel Trash hard at work

We had a schedule bummer as Damsel Trash can't make the live recording sesh anymore, but we're still gonna throw their song on the comp, probably as a studio-recorded bonus track. I mean, how could we say no when they're putting in the work?

A future classic in the works, for certain!

We have other bonus stuff planned in addition to the live-in-studio recordings that will be the primary basis of UNINTIMIDATED. Just you wait for it!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Shut Up and Sing

Our little project had a brief moment of viral explosion on Monday thanks to the Milwaukee Record blurb (thanks guys!), and most of what i saw online was overwhelmingly positive--lots of "finally!" and "I wish i was a part of this!" and the like. It felt like a nerve was struck inside people who were concerned that music and art in Wisconsin had become resigned to our state's fate: a once-great progressive bastion of open government sold piecemeal to cronies and special interests. We were immediately approached by several people asking "how can i help?" and rest assured--we'll find ways for you all to do just that!

Of course, when any artist tries in the slightest way to make a difference with their talents, the naysayers come with the snicker-fests. One friend of mine posted a link to the Record piece to a Wisconsin musicians group on Facebook and was immediately hit with "don't post political stuff here!" A few comments sneering about the success of Bands Against Bush and the like popped up here and there, because of course they did. (This is nothing new for me--when IfIHadAHiFi released "Imperial Walker," we were almost instantly greeted by this sarcastic take on our tune over at the National Review, which still stands as one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of our band.)

"Shut up and sing!" is the chorus often chanted by boring, conservative schlubs who prefer their music as mindless entertainment, art as something pretty to look at rather than an engaging brain exercise, movies as a way to shut off the brain after a day at work. And there's nothing wrong with dumb, brainless media (i'm as much a fan of Turbonegro as i am The Ex), but here's the thing--just choosing to play music, draw a picture, edit a video--these are inherently political acts, whether you recognize them as such or not. To choose to make art rather than simply consume it is a powerful choice to be active rather than passive (and to be clear, both choices are valid). 

And whether it's pure entertainment or more ambitious "art," music is full of thought-provoking political action. I mean, i know i don't have to say this to anyone searching out this blog on purpose, but it's so strange to think that anyone in a group of Wisconsin musicians would say "leave politics out of my music!" Whether John Lennon's asking us to give peace a chance or Jello Biafra's plotting to lynch his landlord, politics are everywhere in music. Hell, Elvis shaking his shit on live TV was a political act that pushed society forward (contrary to the consternation of concerned parents everywhere). Hell, those goofy dumb dumbs in Turbonegro pushed social and political buttons by working a gay gimmick in the dangerously-macho Scandinavian metal scene (although, given their early tendency to misguidedly wear blackface as a button-pushing challenge to racist attitudes in their homeland, arguments could be made about the motivations for their other gimmicks, but hey, the best art causes discussion, right? Anyway, i'm digressing). 

Bottom line--most people who gripe about politics in music are griping because they don't happen to agree with the politics. So, yeah, if you're a fan of ol' Governor Scotty, you're likely to think we should stick to songs about, i dunno, relationships and parties and good times or whatever. Well, as my pal Jilly from We Are Hex once sang, "I never wrote a love song and i won't start soon." ...What's that? A female singer giving love songs a kiss-off? Sounds like an act of rebellion to me. Sheesh, she should just shut up and sing, right?

(That photo above of the band on the Wisconsin capitol steps, by the way, is of Madison band United Sons of Toil, of which UNINTIMIDATED band Tyranny is Tyranny's Russell Emerson Hall was a member, and to this day, i'm super jealous they got to play the Capitol during the 2011 protests. Just, damn.)