Music in any city’s specific scene is in continual flux, and an era of Milwaukee’s music history that will be remembered for its pendulum swing towards innovative and exciting was the vibrant punk, hardcore and rock scene of the late 70’s and early 80’s and beyond. Labels like Touch & Go paid attention and clubs and houses like the Palms, Zak’s and Yanos were packed with young punks excited to hear legends in the making.
One of the most prolific bands of that era, Die Kreuzen, became an iconic figure of that scene. After a couple decades and counting, the band is returning to play to their city in front of old friends and fans and a new turn of Milwaukee music lovers. This Saturday, at Milwaukee’s Turner Hall Ballroom, an official ‘Milwaukee Music Scene Memorial Reunion’ in grand style is called simply, Lest We Forget, spotlighting those bands that made young Milwaukeean’s blood boil decades ago, buying guitars and leather jackets and bonding together in a way no other than a tightly-knit music scene can. Organizers Mike L. Podolak of Sacred Order and Ron Faiola brought the event together and took on the commendable task of reuniting thirteen bands and pulling together video clips of bands gone by to play in between sets at Saturday’s show. The rest is (and will be) history, literally.
Keith Brammer of Die Kreuzen, recently spoke to The Onion’s A.V. Club Milwaukee of the reunion reminiscing of the band’s beginnings and famous/infamous name, “We got “Die Kreuzen” from our friend, who we were living with at the time, named Diane. I don’t know if it was a Bible or just some book, but she got it from this German book. She had picked that out because she was like, “I’m going to use that if I’m in a band.” And we said, “You’re never going to be in a band, we’re stealing it.”…Though in German, it is grammatically incorrect, so I don’t know if Diane got it wrong, or we got it wrong or what. It’s something to do with crossing over, but it should be “der” kreuzen instead of “die.” Or something like that.”
‘Die Kreuzen’ or ‘Der Kreuzen’, no matter. The band with two feet in Illinois and two in Milwaukee eventually became all-Milwaukee and reveled in the New York and Chicago scenes, writing to suit and signing to Touch & Go Records, the label run by nice guy Corey Rusk. The band’s T&G bio reads, ” chose their name specifically to avoid stereotyping because “no one knows what it means.” The band combined early hardcore with heavy metal leanings. ‘Die Kreuzen’ roughly translates out of German meaning ‘to intersect’ or ‘to hybridize,’ which is exactly what they did on their five LP’s for Touch and Go.”
This minute bit of history is only a part of what is being shared in preface of the reunion and we expect more stories to crop up as the excitement builds. Take a look at the long (and incredible) list of bands who will be taking part in Lest We Forget, right alongside Die Kreuzen this Saturday and do the multiplication. There is more than a lot of ground to cover, and WMSE, in turn, will be playing music and prepping you for the big event. Already, Buzz’s Garage programmed a special 70’s/80’s local show last Monday (click here to listen in the archives), including stuff from compilations such as History in 3 Chords, The Great Lost Brew Wave and Play/Pause/Stop as well as tracks from albums by the Oil Tasters, X-Cleavers, Einstein’s Riceboys, various 7″‘s and (the very rare) Couch Flambeau’s Mammal Insect Marriage. Buzz also invited event organizer Ron Faiola to give listeners an idea of what to expect this Saturday. Find Buzz’s playlist from the show, here.
Listen in to WMSE today for the Local Lunchbox segment at 1 p.m. on Melissa’s show and hear members from 3 on Fire and X-Cleavers dig a little deeper into Milwaukee music history and keep your ears peeled about a possible surprise interview for Andy’s Zero Hour show this Friday. This is an incredible event regarding Milwaukee music history, so we’re keeping the music spinning and the memories rolling on this one. Stay tuned!
12:00am – St. Bernard
11:20pm – Dummy Club
10:50pm – Lubricants
10:00pm – Die Kreuzen
9:30pm – Sacred Order
9:00pm – Tense Experts
8:30pm – 3 on Fire
8:00pm – Dominoes
7:35pm – 3XCleavers
7:10pm – Rock-A-Dials
6:45pm – Blackholes
6:25pm – Xposed 4Heads
6:00pm – Liv Mueller
Lest We Forget takes place at the Turner Hall Ballroom this Saturday, May 26th. Proceeds from the show will go to benefit the American Liver Foundation. The event will be recorded and documented both in audio and video formats in its entirety.