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Brew City Sludge - July 2009

by Lane Klozier
Milwaukee's Big Bang Theory is back!

Klozier here.

Back in the late 80’s, Milwaukee’s Big Bang Theory became a household name in Brew Town’s then vibrant underground scene. Did I say underground? Yes, I did, however…the underground back then was damn big, and full of bands that were cutting edge as well as ground breaking. BBT was an act that incorporated styles that ranged from funk to hard rock for a sound that was truly alternative. In 1990, with their sophomore release Imagination, BBT began to incorporate scratch into their songs. At this time, the art form was virtually unknown in rock music. This sort of innovative and bold spirit set them apart from their peers and helped to solidify a hard core following. It was indeed a pioneering move considering the fact that bands such as Kid Rock and many others followed in these footsteps making the marriage of hard rock and certain aspects of hip hop the norm. BBT was, above all things, a performance band. With choreographed dance moves between bassist Damian Valentine and guitarist Chuck Cicirello and the high voltage energy of vocalist Billy Staff, the audience always had something to watch. Add the excitement of the Borth brothers Brian and Larry on horns and noise from DJ Tory Tee and you had a show that rivaled bands such as the Tubes or the B52’s. Although their records were good, this was a band that needed to be witnessed live. In 1995 the band moved to LA in search of the ever elusive big record deal. They did well enough, but like a lot of acts the need for cash flow led them to other avenues.

Milwaukee’s Freudian Slip had also recently relocated there and several members from each band formed a disco cover act called Polyester. After a couple more records the band began to fade somewhat, but the bond remained in tact. Valentine joined forces with Dave Aguirre, Tory T the infamous Heff and formed Bolt Upright which had success including tours with major acts. I spoke with bassist Damian Valentine who is still involved in the L.A. music scene and also runs his own production company. “I remember Milwaukee’s scene as being really great” said Valentine. “You could check out a metal band on the west side at TA Vern’s and head back over to the east side to see Fish Motif (The infamous open jam held at The Boardwalk)…it was fantastic” he said. These days, vocalist Billy Staff is involved locally with the consummate review act Liam Ford and drummer John Calarco is still playing with just about everybody. Well, the Boys are back in town and will be favoring us with a couple performances. First on July 6 the band will revisit the past at Smokin’ Joes with Fish Motif as well as a set by BBT. Then on July 11 they hit Liquor Sweets. Joining them at this show will be Dave Aguirre’s latest project Permashine. If you missed ‘em the first time around, this is your chance to check out some of Brew City’s rockin’ history.

That’s all for now my darlings. Remember: The summer festival season is upon us…get yerself a cold hot dog and a warm beer.

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