Tonight I was digitizing some old stacks of wax, platters that Mattered…. umm, yeah. But anyway, pleasantly surprised by a couple of Couch Flambeau LPs. yeah, we used to go see Couch Flambeau at the Gordon Park Pub, sit at teh bar like ten feet from Jay Tiller’s very noisy amps, and my girlfriend would go to sleep. They were amused.
Years later, we bought a house a block from a corner store that owned by the parents of Couch Flambeau’s bass player. They looked exactly alike. Circles within circles.
Back in collidge, I had a class on model building, and one of our assignments was to build a model of a mobile home. So I built a little model, but put it on base, and I did indeed build a ‘broken Big Wheel’ and put it in front of my mobile home. I included the lyrics and a band shout out. Got an A.
This weekend, Turner Hall is hosting a big old reunion of Milwaukee bands from teh 90s. I know a bunch of ’em, and got Wife Sublime to re-arrange our musical theater conflict so I can go hang out with noisy ne’er-do-well friends, whose careers have amusingly become more viable than mine.
Sigh. Anyway, Jay Tiller is filling in on guitar for Die Kreuzen, who somehow I had never managed to see in town. Although it is also amusing that Erik, the drummer, spent time during his band days as a painter, and painted a house I designed for some friends. He is now running a restaurant in Amsterdam with his wife; another friend of mine, Scary Joe, is coming back from PA to hang out with all the bands, and, ummm… do PA. Joe is one of the best mixers I have ever heard. The Melvins once courted him (this will probably mean something to Substance). At one point, Thurston Moore says “Man, there was a point there where Die Kreuzen was the best band in America.” and when I saw SY open for Neil Young, Thurston name checked DK before they played a note.
It’s a very circular kind of community. I saw most of those bands in clubs, and one of my roommates was in St. Bernard, who had a regional hit with “My Baby Went To The Bahamas”. A friend of mine was roommates with the drummer for Couch Flambeau. Scary Joe did sound for EVERYBODY. Circles.
There have been times when I have felt music renew my meager soul; when the noise and spit makes me stand back up and decide to keep beating on that fucking wall. Listening to these local bands, bands who were inspiration to Nirvana, Soundgarden, Steve Albini, others… bands who launched themselves into the void, knowing that being from Milwaukee there was nothing but a hard landing… it may be premature, it may not work out that way, but it feels like by Saturday, the local noise is going to be filling a gap, refueling the tank. One can hope, right?
It may interest exactly nobody to know that Couch Flambeau songs really sound best from vinyl, snaps, pops and skips and warts. The Zoo Is Cool.