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The former Faust Music store was demolished in 2015. Its rear storehouse did not contain what people might have thought.

In September, 2015, workers demolished the former Faust Music store at 2204 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. The complex of three buildings, connected by tunnel and courtyard, had fallen into a state of disrepair. By the time the proprietor, William P. Regalado, died in 2013 at the age of 83, even the plumbing had gotten away from him, leaving only one functioning sink. When one of the site’s new owners, Ray Goodden, a commercial real estate broker and part-owner (along with his wife) of The Music Cafe in Mukwonago, first surveyed the store, he found 43 buckets for collecting roof leaks and about a dozen space heaters spread around for wintertime. Regalado, better known as “Bill Faust” to his customers, had claimed in his later years to possess unseen rooms of drums and guitars, a world-famous inventory. But when Goodden cracked open the rear storehouse, he says, he found it “full of empty boxes and junk.”

Photo by Matt Hrodey.

Photo by Matt Hrodey.

“Milwaukee’s Drum Center” had been a computer-less sanctum that relied on a pair of rotary phones to communicate with the outside world. Wannabe customers often had to knock on the front door to get in, and then Regalado would lock it behind them with a long screwdriver. With a captive audience in place, he’d explain how the United States had lost track of the male gender’s primacy, how Milwaukee used to be a city of great industrial pride, how fast food was tantamount to paying for trash, how, like Jesus, he ate only bread and wine and fish, and how he never walked into a store without knowing what he wanted to buy and how much money he needed.

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Most of his stories were believable. Famous people had shopped there, like Jimi Hendrix and jazz drummer Max Roach. But by 2012, his inventory looked picked over, every last piece of it inked with the Faust logo. During a one-day sale in 2013, a line of customers wrapped around the block and cleaned out most of the store’s remaining drums, leaving a few dozen guitars that ended up at The Music Cafe. A total of four buildings will be built on the lot, including two for apartments, something Regalado might not have liked. He would often gripe about Bay View property owners tearing down old buildings. He didn’t even like the neighborhood’s name. “They call it Bay View to get more money out of you,” he said. “This used to be Milwaukee.”


‘Secret Stash’ appears in the February 2016 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find the February issue on newsstands beginning Feb. 1.

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