Filmed before his death in September 2015, Kenny Baldwin was a musician in the Milwaukee punk scene and proprietor of the Starship, home of many formative gigs.
Milwaukee is among the smallest cities
I’ve covered so far on FiveBands, but the passion and creativity of its rock-‘n’-roll scene has long rivaled the biggest towns on the musical map.
Milwaukee Rock Posters and social media groups like Lest We Forget: Deceased Milwaukee Scene are magnets for local lore, and scene veterans have been tireless in their efforts to make their history known.
Case in point:
an epic documentary of the Milwaukee underground. Currently slated for release in 2018, the film is directed by Taking the City By Storm, Doug LaValliere (one of Milwaukee’s accomplished LaValliere brothers and a co-founder of the Prosecutors with Kevn Kinney, later of Atlanta underground sensations Drivin’ N Cryin’).
The producers are Judy Simonds and
Clancy Carroll of the Dominoes and Clancy Carroll Band. (Carroll is also co-author of a new and improved book, Buy it via Brick Through the Window: An Oral History of Punk Rock, New Wave, and Noise in Milwaukee, 1964-1984. the Boswell Book Company site!)
Continue reading “Milwaukee rising: “Taking the City by Storm””
Richard LaValliere (photo by James Prinz)
More than four years gone,
Richard LaValliere makes me angry.
As a kid, I had a
brief but intense relationship with Milwaukee (where Richard electrified the underground music scene with bands like In A Hot Coma, the Haskels and Oil Tasters). Years later, we were accidental neighbors again in New York (where he continued his dizzying creative streak with groups like Scorpio Thunderbolt, Polkafinger, and Jones & Karloff). But when he died at 59 on February 8, 2012, I barely knew his name.
Judy Simonds — who actually lived the Milwaukee scene and is
working to document it in depth — is helping me learn more about the amazing kaleidoscope of creative projects Richard LaValliere powered over nearly 50 years of his short life. (Check out the Richard LaValliere memorial page she runs on Facebook.) I haven’t asked her about his personal trajectory, or whether he was also frustrated that his work wasn’t heard by more people.
But for my own selfish reasons, I’m angry that I hadn’t heard Richard LaValliere until very recently — and that the audio and video record he left behind is so tantalizingly sparse. You should hear him, too. Here are five of his bands you should know about:
Continue reading “Richard LaValliere: Milwaukee’s finest and 5 bands you should know about”