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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Local Beat column
[November 29, 2012]

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Local Beat column

Nov 29, 2012 (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The Lest We Forget benefit at Turner Hall in May was put together to celebrate Milwaukee's punk and rock scene from the late '70s into the '80s. Several bands, including influential alt-rock act Die Kreuzen (Butch Vig did his first production work for its 1982 album "Internal"), re-formed to play their first shows in years -- in many cases, in decades.

But that evening, much like the era of local music it celebrated, has already become a memory.

Steve Nodine is trying to create a more permanent tribute. A former member of the scene -- he was the lead singer for Dark Facade from '82 to '86 -- Nodine has been interviewing people for three years for a planned book, "The Cease Is Increase: An Oral History of the Milwaukee Punk & Alternative Scene," which he hopes to complete and self-publish in March.

"A lot of people playing out there were misfits in school that never really fit in," he said about what made the music scene at that time so special. "It was this camaraderie, even between bands. There were bands that played hard-core punk and people who played power pop who would get along and be friends, and sometimes people would switch genres from one band to another. . . . The music scene was just so creative." Besides Die Kreuzen, the local scene of the time featured some of the Milwaukee area's most famous musical legacies, including the BoDeans and Violent Femmes.

Nodine's project has been a massive undertaking. He said he's interviewed 50 to 60 people for at least an hour each. Many interviews were also videotaped for a companion DVD.

He created a Kickstarter campaign requesting $4,999 that failed, then regrouped with a more modest campaign that netted him $1,200. But he's hoping to make at least $3,000.

So on Saturday, Shank Hall will be hosting a "Cease Is Increase" benefit show. The Trance and Dance band, a "jammy" group that started in the '70s, is on the bill, and the show also will feature a reunion performance from the Crusties; original singer Tim Cole lives in Texas now, but he'll be there, thanks to Lest We Forget co-founder Michael Podolak, who paid for his plane ticket.

Members of the Crusties also will play in Johnny on Washday, and Nodine will introduce his own new garage rock group, Magic Bullet, which he said will cover everything from David Bowie to Pink Floyd to Public Image Ltd. He's writing songs with band member Kirk McFarlan, something he gave up after his Facade collaborator, Dave Wolf, died of leukemia in 1986.

"This year has inspired me to say, 'Why did I ever stop doing music ' " he said.

The benefit begins at 8 p.m. Saturday at Shank Hall, 1434 N. Farwell Ave. Minimum donation is $10.

Also Saturday, local pop rock band the Saltshakers is celebrating its 10th birthday with a peppy new, Cars-inspired CD single, "Hailey," and a show at the BBC, 2022 E. North Ave. It starts at 10 p.m., with Delta Routine and Ikarus Down opening. Cover is $8 and includes a copy of "Hailey." Contact Piet Levy at

___ (c)2012 the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Visit the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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