My experience going to a see a movie is often more enjoyable if I haven’t seen the trailer, read a review or even heard the synopsis. If at all possible, I like going in with basically a clean slate. That way I find myself paying more attention to even the most minor details on screen, […]

My experience going to a see a movie is often more enjoyable if I haven’t seen the trailer, read a review or even heard the synopsis. If at all possible, I like going in with basically a clean slate. That way I find myself paying more attention to even the most minor details on screen, as it might contain a clue to be excavated several scenes later. There’s, obviously, something thrilling about not knowing what’s coming next. What you don’t know could be great, or it could be terrible.

This Friday night at Club Garbaldi eight local bands will all play short sets containing none of their own material, instead covering songs from another band on the bill. While I’ll probably know the selections they cover, this show still sort of fills me with that same feeling of going to see a movie uncorrupted. Will this be great? Will this be terrible? (I’m leaning towards great, but honestly have no idea.) Either way, I definitely want to find out. Plus, I’m hoping to learn something new about the band that’s being covered or the band that’s doing the covering.

The inaugural show, dubbed “Local Coverage,” is being curated by local arts-and-entertainment publication Milwaukee Record and features bands of different genres located throughout the city. Temple covers Maritime; The Fatty Acids covers WC Tank; Maritime covers Whips; Whips covers The Fatty Acids; Bright Kind covers Ugly Brothers; The Olives covers Bright Kind; WC Tank (with Riley Lake) covers The Olives; and Ugly Brothers covers Temple.

The proceeds from the performance will benefit local non-profit Girls Rock Milwaukee, which hosts a musical summer day camp for girls aged 8-16. A collection of the cover songs will be available for pay-what-you-want download from Milwaukee Record’s Bandcamp after the show, and will also benefit the organization. Music Notes talked with Milwaukee Record co-founder (and former Music Notes writer), Tyler Maas, about the origin of the show, selecting the bands and raising something tangible for Girls Rock Milwaukee.

How did you come up with the idea for this showcase?

Over the summer, [Matt Wild and Cal Roach] wrote on the website how the music scene was split—the Bay View and Riverwest rift—or how only bands of a certain age will only play with bands of that age or that genre. It’s not universally true, but there is a tendency to see a lot of the same bands at the same venue on very similar bills. It worked out that the person who read that, Sean Raasch, was a booker at Club Garibaldi and he wanted to meet up with me to discuss it more. He’s in a band as well, Twin Brother. He had acknowledged that what we said he found to be true, so he offered up the venue as a place where we could have a meeting about it. In the past, my exposure to that was you get a certain amount of figureheads or representatives and you all discuss these really big ideas and they never work out.

So, rather than doing that, I figured we could have an event that would be fun, that would sort of address the issue by nudging people into the thing we’re mentioning is not happening enough, and even if it doesn’t end up yielding any lasting results, where there are drastically different people from different genres that are playing with each other, at least we benefited a local cause, at least we accomplished something—rather than people on a platform waiting for their turn to speak and not listening to other people’s points and hammering home these broad issues about “you need to be more connected” but not offering any real solutions.

[Local Coverage] is a small thing; it’s in the middle of January, which is usually a dead point of the year. We’re attempting to fill that gap. This is usually the point in the month where a lot of bands and a lot of venues punt their line-up because of the elements and the NFL playoffs and things like that. I decided it would be nice if we helped out a local organization and we did something because who would actually want to be in attendance? If you’re not in a band or directly involved, would you want to members of other bands discussing “yeah, I think we should do this; I think we should do that.”

This way there’s a reason you should attend, and it will be fun and something you can only see once.

Was it difficult getting bands on board?

A lot of the first ones were easy. Initially, I wanted to have a dozen bands, and then I realized it’s a little too ambitious at this point. I also wanted to get a band, not of every genre because there are a million genres, but I wanted a metal band, I wanted more than one hip hop act, I wanted there to be a country band. I had in mind the neighborhoods in which people lived, so there’s a mixture of Bay View, the East Side, Riverwest. I asked around—a few people were busy for other reasons than not wanting to do it and other people weren’t exactly sure what we were doing yet and were hesitant.

I feel like we have an awesome mix. It’s not a full representation of the music scene, but there’s a mix of 23-year-old Riverwest bands and Maritime, who’s in their late 30s, early 40s and much more renowned.

How did the band selection process work? You held a draft to choose the cover sets.

I randomized the band draft order. We had a meeting. I thought it would be against the mission if I said, “okay, I live in Bay View, so we’re having the event in Bay View. Good luck.” I at least wanted to have an event in Riverwest as well. So, we had a Monday that was otherwise not so bustling at the Public House in October and we had a draft. Everyone had to drive a little out of their way and everyone was at home for one of the components. That way everyone could meet, as well. I told everyone to either bring Bandcamp links or their actual physical music. And offer each other at least one band number so that they could reach out—just to encourage interaction.

So, there is interaction between the bands, rather than each band trying to recreate what they hear on their own?

I left the bands alone on that part. I said it would be awesome if you left an open line of communication because if you need to know a lyric—not all bands have their lyrics available—or there may be certain parts that are difficult to recreate—what was that effect you had on that one song? It’s an open dialogue, just to get the wheels turning. It may be ambitious but maybe down the road a band will need a female vocalist and be like “oh, I did that show with Whips, maybe I could ask Ashley to do something” or if they need a person that plays upright bass and looks upon the Ugly Brothers. The idea is just trying to open the lines of communications between unfamiliar partners.


What cover set most excites you?

They all have elements that excite me, but three that excite me the most is watching Maritime do Whips, watching Whips doing the Fatty Acids, and watching WC Tank doing the Olives.

With it being already a difficult enough task and they’re doing this for free, I said make it your own and have some fun with it. If you want to do a longer version or if you want to focus on one of the verses, do whatever you want to do. It doesn’t have to be verbatim.

It sounds like you want the bands to feel no pressure and have fun, but at the same time, since you’re recording their sets, I think that puts some pressure on there. It’s one thing to play a terrible cover version at a live show that’s ultimately forgotten and another to play a terrible cover version that’s being recorded and eventually available on the Internet.

It’s also not going to be like a four-hour album; we’re only going to take the best songs—a recap of the night, essentially—that will be available for a pay-what-you-want download on our site and all the money will go to Girls Rock, as well.

Can you talk about your connection with Girls Rock Milwaukee? What made you choose them for this benefit?

I have no real connection. Even though I never want to say anything bad about anyone attempting to raise money for another place, but if you’re sending it to a place, like an international organization with a board of directors, you have to assume that a little bit of your money goes to paying those full-time employees. In the past I’ve written some articles about Girls Rock and Ladies Rock. It’s a labor of love; they’re not making any money at the end of the day. You know exactly where all the money will be going. You can see the effect; you never know with a larger charity.

Why I chose Girls Rock? It’s a local organization, which is important. It’s in the realm of music, so it’s like we’re investing in the future of local music. Hopefully we can look and see after this benefit, that we bought a drum set that they could use and we get to see because of this that they have this thing, this drum set, or we pay for their meals for a week, or we were able to lower the cost, so someone that wasn’t able to afford it, can afford it.

A publication our size, we can’t really do a lot other than give our effort and our time. To be a sponsor and to have your logo on something is cool, but making something happen and actually filling that gap means much more. When we’re being called haters for something, we’ll have this example to draw upon and say, “We’re not just whining about stuff; we’re doing something, too.”

Local Coverage features Temple, The Fatty Acids, Maritime, Whips, Bright Kind, The Olives, WC Tank (with Riley Lake) and Ugly Brothers at Club Garibaldi, 8 p.m. The cover is $5 and the proceeds benefit Girls Rock Milwaukee.