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  • Brümeister 9:10 pm on February 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #PolkaHipHop, , , , , , The Greatest War   

    About Last Year And What Comes Next: Looking back on 2018 and ahead to 2019: Part 3: The Greatest War and the Last First Friday. 

    How about this new wordpress format hey? Readers may not know but bloggers you know what I mean….

    So if you read part one and two you know the Milwaukee Polka Riot was every bit as epic as anything we’d done up to that point and then we followed it up by opening for Brave Combo, who are as epic a band as any we’ve encountered. We managed to release our EP The Black Hand.
    We achieved more things in the 2018 than we had imagined when we first formed and started writing music. Then we took part in something that much like our participation in Dontre Day in 2017 allows us to add our unique sound to a moment of historical significance and collective remembrance. It was a moment where many of our personal beliefs about things like violence and war along with goals for what our music can add to the cultural conversation.

    NTSC Take the Wheel!

    But first we had to get there.

    Now I am not going to say much because I love my brother NTSC to death. Seriously, anybody rushes the stage to touch him I will stop them and ask if they are nice touches first.  

    Spade ONE can’t stop giggling for some reason…

    However, given that we have access to a van the choice to drive compact an hour and half to Madison was an

    Best Hip Hop producer nominee Kevin Christensen cheesing in the back seat as Brümeister shrugs off the pain

    interesting one. Sure gas is a thing but so is comfort and I arrived grumpier than I needed to be for the Greatest Show of 2019.

    Now, I don’t know how much

    ARRIVAL @ The Barrymore Theater.

    as actually been written about this event. I know it is likely not enough. Let me tell you about an event that was very close to our hearts and very much in the vain of what we as a band are about. 

    Pulling up to the Barrymore Theater

    we saw the name of the show in the marquee. Being a keg of Milwaukeeans we don’t often get to explore every portion of Madison but we could tell this had potential.

    The excitement in the car however, had more to do with being able to get out and stretch our legs. Admittedly, it was short journey but it had left its mark.

    We found our way inside and caught our first glimpses of the big screen that would be behind us showing photos and film footage from the War to End All Wars.

    The poster in the lobby (I still want one!) and the soon to be merch area.

     

    Somehow we managed to keep our composure as we were informed during the practice run through that 500 tickets had already been sold. The production was halfway to selling out. Obviously we were not alone in this venture. In fact! It wasn’t even our idea… though we may have inspired it.

    We first met, and played a show with, John from The Periodicals back in 2017. That we were a Polka Hip Hop band was already novelty enough but that our lyrics contained a histrionic awareness that stretched into metaphor and back again inspired a conversation. The Armistice 100 was coming up. This we were all aware of. My hope was to be a part of something. A show. A memorial service. Something. You can’t just name your project November Criminals without being aware of where that name comes from…unless you’re a crappy teen thriller.

    Though the name wouldn’t be popularized in Germany until the mid to late 1920s the origin of November Criminals starts with the end of World War One. It’s the deragotory name for the politicians and Generals that signed the Treaty of Versailles but it also became the name used for anyone that was seen to have pacifist leanings or be generally non-nationalist. The joke is (if you don’t know by now) that “Music Nazis” hate November Criminals. But if we’re doing our job right hopefully not as much as actual Nazis.

    Of course the end of World War One paves the way for an enormous cultural shift all over the globe. But the price paid was in blood. Marking the armistice however is difficult to do. History moves seemingly so much faster now with every day a renewed struggle against white nationalism taking place in real time on cable news. And now with the last members of the so-called Greatest Generation of Americans passing on our history seems to be muddled beyond what was captured on film in the 1940s.

    The program we were part of hit it out of the park. When we next met John in person we were performing at the WORT block party. He had some exciting news and new friends to introduce us to. Ken Fitzsimmons from The Kissers had an idea that he wanted to share with us. He and John along with some other friends were planning a show to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the armistice. I think we all knew that we needed to be a part of something as historically relevant as this.

    There was a time when I myself would have tried to organized something like this but I knew my resources were limited in Milwaukee and I had no way of knowing what the support for something like this would be. And as I would find out on the day of show my vision was not as grand as Ken’s.

    Myself, John Wedge, and Spade ONE in one of the dressing rooms at the Barrymore Theater.

    https://us.napster.com/artist/november-criminals/album/the-black-hand

    In addition The Periodicals and The Kissers, the program also enlisted the talents of Sean Michael Dargan, Hanah Jon Taylor, The Viper & His Famous Orchestraand others, along with readings of poetry, journal entries, newspaper articles and speeches from the era

    Still photos were on display throughout the show that helped the audience immerse themselves in the time period. It wasn’t a stand up and rock out show (though at time it could have been) it was a history lesson and a rock opera all at once. I don’t know how many times in my life I will be a part of something as important and as relevant as this show but if it happens again you know I will still be sneaking into the audience in between our songs. 

     

    NTSC, Spade ONE, and yours Bru-ly in the audience.

    Kevin KC Christensen visits with his Grandmother. He’s wearing a doughboy helmet passed down from a family member that served during WW1.

     

    SOLD OUT CROWD!

     

     

    (More …)

     
  • Brümeister 11:43 pm on June 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #PolkaHipHop, 89.9 WORT FM, 96.9 FOX, Andrew David Weber, Big Lo, Brady Street Fest, Craft 30 Sheboygan, Craft30, Fox Homegrown, Madison, McAuliffe's Pub, , Mitch Shiner, Newaukee Night Market, Nomad Fanzone, Nomad Nacional, , , Rebel Stage, Red Dot Tosa, Sabbatic, Sheboygan Solstice, Summer Fest, , Taiyamo Denku, , The Periodicals, Tommy Antonic, Traveling Beer Garden, West Allis, Westallion Brewery, Whiskey of the Damned, WORT FM   

    2018: Summer of Criminals 

    WORT FM Block Party on May 20th 2018 photo courtesy of WORT FM.

    SO I realized we’ve been so busy with EVERYTHING that none of us have had time to jot anything down in the old blog section.

    Quickly I will try to recap some of what has been going on and enlighten you further on coming events as relates to your favorite #PolkaHipHop band!
    We played our first ever West Allis show back in February at Westallion Brewery where the Peanut Butter Porter is lights out! And I’m not a guy that often goes in for sweet craft beers. They also had a fine Scottish Ale and whole bunch more great things to try, they change up their brews on a seasonal basis so it is with a good deal of delight that we are returning there at the end of June!

    We had a great time playing out in April at The Red Dot opening for our friends Denku and Big Lo! These guys are touring artists and established in every sense of the word. And it was awesome to see an audience full of friends there on a Tuesday night even! Then we broke ground playing the Light Lounge in South Milwaukee and debuted our newest song The Black Hand! That’s right, we haven’t been taking it easy we have been toiling over an EP that, fingers crossed, will also include radio edits of songs from The Great War!

    COMING SOON!

    The Black Hand even made its way onto the FM dial in Madison at WORT FM where in the lead up to one of our biggest shows yet WORT gave some spins to a few of our songs, published a flattering article about us, and our good friend Helena White used a couple of our tunes off The Great War as jumping off points for a couple history lessons about The Rattlers and Jim Europe! She also has a really wonderful series called My Grandfather’s War Diary about her grandfather’s service during the Great War.
    The Madison connection went next level for us as first our friends The Periodicals came by on a Thursday night for a memorable Milwaukee debut that we were honored to share the bill with at Sabbatic. Tommy Antonic and Mitch Shiner came through in a big way with a week’s notice to open with all the skill and showmanship of two of the best young jazz musicians in the city!

     

    Tremendous line up for the Craft 30 Summer Solstice festival!

    BUT IT IS ONLY GETTING STARTED!

    Friday June 22nd it will officially be summer. Craft30 in Sheboygan has organized a party that promises be a highlight of anyone’s summer!

    They are doing it big with two stages and free admission and some of the finest craft brews in Wisconsin (and therefore the world!) And during the lead up we’ve been getting spins on 96.9 Fox courtesy of Fox Homegrown!

    Getting there isn’t a problem for Milwaukee folks as it just a short jaunt up I-43 and there are plenty of hotels and campgrounds in case you haven’t selected a Designated Driver!

    We however won’t be able to hang out too long as we are immediately in Racine the next night at McAuliffe’s Pub with the insanely talented Andrew David Weber (of Whiskey of The Damned)!

    That could be considered a tour…

     

    BUT IT DOESN’T STOP THERE!

    The following weekend we will be part of the Nomad Nacional’s World Cup Fanzone on the 29th of June followed by a return to Westallion Brewery on June 3oth.

    The show at Nomad is particularly exciting as the fan zone activities the night we play also include the Newaukee Night Market and rumor has it we will have some new shirts along with us by then!

    If we can take a moment to look at that line up…!

    What an honor to be listed on a showcase with so many great Milwaukee talents and we are blessed to call many of them friends!

    There’s no matches on the day we play so we aren’t sure what countries to represent. But we will do our best to bring them all together that night!

    Hopefully we even get a few folks to follow us to West Allis the next night!

     

    THE NEXT WEEKEND!!!

    Is a 3 day weekend! Friday we are back in West Allis at McCarty Park for the Traveling Beer Garden on July 6th, then on the 7th we are Madison with our friends from the Milwaukee Polka Riot Forro Fo Sho along with Swill at Bos Meadery! Then on the 8th we closed down the Rebel Stage at Summerfest at 8pm!

    We’ll take a breather and be back in full force in late July for Brady Street Fest!

    Look for us to be handing out flyers for this year’s Polka Riot!  Hope to see you!

    The November Criminals take Madison
    WORT FM sound check
    Photo by Kevin Christensen

     
  • Brümeister 8:47 pm on March 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #2ndAlbum, #BremenCafe, #FranksPowerPlant, #PolkaHipHop, #SpadeOne, #Studio200Milwaukee, #TheGreatWar, , #Wisconsin,   

    THE MARCH TO WAR: Brümeister Reflects and Genuflects 

    Blank walls are like  blank pages. #TheGreatWarIsComing

    Blank walls are like blank pages. #TheGreatWarIsComing

    I just got done listening to The Great War final mixes and I wanted to take a moment before all the…. whatever….to let you know that this is something I’m really proud of. Pride may be a sin that ages us silently or that reverberates as shame when we are self critical of another time in our lives but it is important to document our creative life or else blogs like this serve no purpose. I know what we had on our first album. It was good. It did not echo but it was a good try. This album could be just as poorly received/promoted/monetized or whatever as the first but I can say with honesty that this is, so far, the best thing I’ve done creatively. It gives me hope that I can still do something collaborative on this scale and deliver something that is also genuinely of myself.

    Solidarity with Standing Rock Rally from last Fall...pre-election I think.

    Solidarity with Standing Rock Rally from last Fall…pre-election I think.

    At this moment I am blessed. I hope we can all continue to say that even as we continue the fight towards a better future. I’m working on music. Not exactly leading the front lines. But if art and music serve any real purpose it can be to say to those in charge what it is we want changed in society. But sometimes it can just be about butts and stuff. So if anything maybe that’s why we still make music in Albums and not one track at a time. It all has to hit at once to some degree and if you hear one of our songs the hope is you’ll want to hear more and that you will hear something different.

     

    April 6th will mark the 100th anniversary of the US entering World War One. On that day we are honoring the sacrifices of those killed in that war and commemorating the ushering in of a new age in the Global politic…. by releasing a Polka Hip Hop album. Yes, I know.

     

    Actually this album took a lot more effort to get right than I expected. We were lucky to have Kevin Christenen and Michael Ritter join us on this project to help give it a sound that is closer to what we desire in a recording and we are grateful to Bill Stace for giving us space and helping navigate the mix. Bill’s first question was “what do you want it to sound like; a Polka record or a Hip Hop record?” My answer was both at the same time if possible. And then we went to work.

     

    2nd Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. August 1914

    2nd Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
    August 1914

    Anyone in a band knows how hard organizing studio time is and understands the challenges of getting everything as close to perfect as possible. During the recording and mixing of this album we lost friends to violence and we experienced the 2016 presidential election. We worked on this album through the fall and the winter.

     

    We have a number of shows coming up and I hope you can attend as many as possible to see us in as many different settings and company as Milwaukee can offer.

     

     

     

     

    March 24, 2017 we are at Studio 200

    Art and layout by NTSC

    Art and layout by NTSC

     

     

    March 30th help us celebrate Spade One’s Birthday!

     

    April 6th at Bremen the CD release for The Great War with AGNI and Ghost Mirror!

     

    April 8th at Frank’s Power Plant

     
  • Brümeister 10:30 pm on October 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #KarlOfAustria, #PolkaHipHop, #Prost!,   

    The Shame Of A Poet 

    The Shame of a Poet

     

    What it feels like to ask for crowd funding.

    What it feels like to ask for crowd funding.

    Self perception is a beast. Taming this beast is life long task. Our creative lives can often be the last line of defense from the beast going mad, frothing at the mouth and taking a bite out of us.

    The purpose of collaboration is to do something that you could not otherwise do on your own. As someone who believes (somehow, still) that he is a poet I have to admit I can’t do this alone. My words have not meant enough to afford me the luxury of creating something the way I see fit. This is my shame. Of course it isn’t my only shame but I see that it is the reason we are stuck. Of course I am not alone in this fight to create something. My brothers NTSC and Spade ONE are with me as are KC and Mike as well as Bill Stace who is recording these sessions. But we have another goal in mind beyond merely recording a well produced record — we’d like people to hear us this time.

     

    Why now?

    It's a big party!

    It’s a big party!

    Admittedly, I pushed for us to have The Great War done this fall. So much is happening in our city, our state, our nation and our world that sitting idly by waiting was not an option for me. And holding back on our statement meant more would happen to change our minds and indeed during recording more HAS happened. Yet to sit and wait to see how history will play out means you will sit and wait for all eternity and that time is something we needed to realize we do not have.

     

    Why Should Anyone Help?

     

    Emperor stops to talk with the people.

    Emperor stops to talk with the people.

    Before going live on our crowd sourcing effort I asked for a lot of feedback and have even received some during it from friends who I trust and respect to tell me the truth of their perception. One point of contention I heard from a few people was that we are begging for money here for something that is not inherently valuable. I’m paraphrasing a bit and enjambing a few conversations but the basic idea is that we are asking for money to fund a vanity project. I counter that idea with the fact that we aren’t asking for free money, if anything we are selling a one time subscription. You can buy an album on the shelf or you can pay for it before it comes out and in doing so help fund its creation. There are reward tiers set up for people that donate. Think of it as Christmas shopping for the woke nerd/ hip hop head in your life that is looking for something a little different this year.

     

    But yes. I do feel a certain shame for not being rich by now and able to fund my own project. That is a symptom of capitalism.

     

    Another criticism I have heard since we started was that people don’t like the idea of Polka Hip Hop. Well that is what we are. We’re not a strict Hip Hop act and we definitely aren’t just a Polka band. The idea that we should just call ourselves one or the other for the sake of mass appeal is something you’d say if you didn’t really like our music in the first place. Why are you here?

     

    What is it about World War One? Why November Criminals? The Great War?

    TANKS A LOT!!!

    TANKS A LOT!!!

    Ok Ok Ok calm down. It has been established that this nation (USA 2016) is run by Oligarchs. A handful of elites are in charge of vetting who our leaders will be in order to maintain the current level of wealth distribution. It’s what has come to replace monarchy. The Great War was the event that rewrote the power structure in Europe as pointed out by NTSC. The original November Criminals were the people that decided to sign a treaty ending that war because for some reason when powerful people have a conflict it’s the rest of humanity that suffers. They were all assassinated over time by those that named them. They were men and women that wanted to see a better life for everyone in peace. They saw that peace was necessary for that better life to begin. Their enemies were focused on their own bitterness.

    The Great War is coming but this time The November Criminals are alive. Therefore things will be different. Hint: Just like we are not the only band named November Criminals we are not the only advocates for peaceful solutions. State Violence is a looming threat, open revolt is on the tongues of many and nothing seems clear but the poets, the polka rappers, and the people who would help them create… they have arrived just in time. Even if all we aim to do is remind people how to have enjoy differences.

    Written on Oct. 21st 2016 During The Feast of the Blessed Karl of Austria.

     

    COME SEE US LIVE AT NOMAD WORLD PUB OCTOBER 27th at 9PM

    ******FREE******

     
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