Archive for June, 2007

Owl’s Club – Marshall

Another three day weekend for the books. Friday at the Owl’s club was a lot of fun with the Milton class of ’77 having their 30th reunion there. These people were sophomores when I graduated and I knew quite a few of them. Another reality check when I found out Tom Slowey, (’77) a childhood neighbor of mine, and his older brother Jim, (’75 – my class) were both retired from GM. It’ll be another twenty years before I’ll be there and even then it’ll be,”Will you be needing a cart today sir?” “Do you want fries with that?” “Paper or plastic?”…..you get the idea. I wonder if there’ll be a Rainbow Bridge 50th reunion party…..I might even have to ask Cyndi to cut back on the jobs if it interferes with my social security checks. Anyway, enough of that. On Saturday, former bass player Kath Johnson stopped out with her mom, Pat, and her fiancee, Keith. She came up at the start of the 2nd set and did a handful of tunes. Matt moved over to rhythm guitar and it sounded great. I think Jason got a kick out of doing “Sweet Home Alabama” with two guitars and two girls singing behind him. It was a lot of fun and we thank her and everybody who stopped out this weekend. On Sunday, we were back in Marshall for their fireman festival. This is another job we’ve done for a few years now, and like Porkfest, we finally missed the rain. It was a good time and got us fired up for the July 4th festivities just around the corner. We’re off this weekend – time to start the “honey do” list around the house – then it’s Crazy Horse on Sunday, and up to Schilberg Park (Milton) on the 3rd and 4th. This is one of my favorite jobs of the year as I usually see quite a few old friends there. That, and it’s just fun to play in the home town. On another note, my son Corey will be twenty on the 2nd. One more year to go then look out! Actually, I don’t see him much these days but he’s doing well and I’m quite proud of him. It’ll take some getting used to having him be legal next year. Matt’s daughter, Kami (one of four – and no, she’s not Borg for all you Star Trek fans) comes out to see us regularly so Matt already knows what it feels like. That’s about it. Stop up to Schilberg park in good ol’ Milton and say hello. Happy 4th and we’ll see you there!


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Tremors – Father’s Day – 2008

Not a whole lot more to be said after Cyndi’s post. Tremors was a good time this weekend. Former drummer Dan Steinke stopped out to say hello. Dan, now a married father of two, will be joining the band Politx soon. Father’s Day was an intimate crowd but a good time. Cyndi’s parents, Linda and Carroll Bolton (Ma and Pa) were even out for a while. As Cyndi mentioned, there were three generations of Brunners in the house – Rick, Jason, and Colton. Colton was even sporting the muscle shirt and the backwards ball cap. Where do these kids pick up these things? Anyway, Matt and I were at mom & dad’s for lunch and I did receive a call from my son, Corey. A busy week coming up – at home and next weekend – another three day event. On this coming Friday at the Owl’s Club, the Milton class of ’77 will be stopping out for their class reunion. Jason’s mom, Nancy, Cyndi’s husband, Bryan, and Matt’s and my brother-in law, Willie Schumacher, along with sister Sheri, should all be out. (Sheri was ’76 as was Cyndi.) That’ll be a fun night. Stop out to the Owl’s club this weekend for a good time. See you there!


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Porkfest 2007

I think it was one of best turnouts we’ve ever had for Porkfest – thanks to all who stopped out. The weather cooperated this year ( we’ve been rained out the last couple of years) and we played the whole night. I saw a lot of old friends and other familiar faces too – it was a good time. Hearing Cyndi belt out “Anyway” to a grandstand full of people was also a real treat. Today, Friday, is Holly and my 5th anniversary and we’re celebrating by me leaving town for the weekend…..maybe she’s celebrating, I don’t know. Anyway, we went out last night and will go out sometime next week too. I have to take her out twice to make up for being gone all weekend. Tremors is running the band all weekend, which includes 4 – 8 on Sunday. If that goes well we may do more of them. Sunday is also Father’s Day so Matt and I will be spending lunch time at mom and dad’s before heading back to Tremors. We’ll see you there and happy dad’s day!


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Jeff – Personal Musical History

I’ve had people ask me things like: “When did you start playing?” “How did the band get started?” “Did you ever take lessons?” Here’s the biography section from the upcoming book:“Three Chords – Stay on the Dots” in all it’s exciting detail:

Jeff was 8 years old when he saw a guitar at a cousin’s house and was totally infatuated. He asked his parents for one for Christmas. On Christmas day, 1965, Jeff got his first guitar, an acoustic EKO model, and took his first lesson at the Gould school of music in downtown Janesville from Jim (Curley) Cooke in January of 1966.

He continued taking lessons from various teachers for the next twelve years which includes his time at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. After Jim, he also studied with: Al Gross, Gene Church, Arnie Johnson, Dick Zastrow, and finally with Jack Grassel.

While still in grade school, Jeff formed his first band consisting of himself, Todd Algrim, Mike Striegel, and Beth Deal. The band was called Royale Society and played at school functions, the Old Towne Inn in Milton, 4th of July celebrations, and numerous times at Blackhawk campgrounds.

Jeff was also in school band, playing alto sax, through high school. Band included: concert band, jazz band, pep band, marching band, and musicals. There were lessons here as well which meant there was always something to practice. Competing in the solo – ensemble contests were required and Jeff received numerous local and state awards. Choir was also part of his school life, being in both the concert and swing choir. In 1975, Jeff was voted the John Philip Sousa band award by his fellow band members and also received the Milton Band Parents scholarship upon graduation.

In the fall of 1975, Jeff was accepted, and received a scholarship at the Wisconsin Conservatory of music in Milwaukee as a jazz guitar performance major. He would leave Milwaukee every Friday after school to come back to Janesville to play with the band and then return for Monday classes. He studied strictly music courses for three years and then returned home. Later in life, he spent an additional year at UW Whitewater as a classical saxophone major.

While taking lessons from Arnie Johnson at Johnson Music, Jeff began teaching at the store. He was fifteen at the time, but had already been playing for six years. It was here that met Ken Pearsall, who had a regular bar job every Friday night at the Beloit VFW, and asked Jeff to join his band – Country Pride. Being under age, Jeff’s parents agreed to be present. Ken’s drummer was Bill Shipman, and Jeff and Bill soon became good friends. Bill and Ken started having problems and Bill decided to leave the band. Bill had a friend named Bob D’entremont and asked Jeff to put a band together with himself and Bob. Jeff agreed and they formed Eye to Eye which played quite regularly in the area. Ken, in the meantime, replaced Jeff and Bill with guitarist Brad Kuster and drummer Rick Mattelig. Bob wanted to change musical direction and Eye to Eye folded. Brad and Rick also began to have issues with Ken and left his band and asked Jeff to join with them. They formed Country Unlimited and played regularly in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Jeff began to lose interest in the band due to lack of practices and was becoming musically restless although Brad and Rick were good friends. Ken, in the meantime, was forming another band which included Cyndi Krachey (Meyer) and Chris Hart. Jeff heard about this new band and looked into it, as the idea of a female singer and regular rehearsals sounded very intriguing. Jeff decided to join this new group but had to break the news to Brad and Rick which was very hard on him. Ken, Cyndi, Chris, and Jeff formed Country Is and became quite popular in the area. When a city festival turned the band down because the name was too country, the same band became Midnight Blue. Midnight Blue had a house job at the Oaks Lounge in Rockton and was doing quite well. Chris began to have issues with Ken and left the band. He was replaced with Rich Erdman. Cyndi and Jeff became good friends and had very similar tastes and goals for the band. However, it was Ken’s band and Cyndi was given little opportunity to showcase her vocal, as well as keyboard skills. Jeff and Cyndi decided to form their own group. Rich agreed to join this new group as well. Jeff called his old band mate, Bob D’entremont, and asked if he’d be interested in playing bass in the new band. Bob said yes and the new band, consisting of Jeff, Cyndi, Rich, and Bob became the first version of Rainbow Bridge.The year was 1976 – Cyndi was 18 and Jeff was 19.

Teaching was also something Jeff really enjoyed and taught in the area for some twenty years. He taught at Johnson Music, Music Mart, Rock County Guitar, Bandwagon and Voight, Blackhawk Music, Appleseed Music, and at home. At one time he had a student load of fifty five students a week. One of Jeff’s students, Jeff Schroedl, went on to do freelance work for Cherry Lane music and was eventually hired by Hal Leonard Publishing in Milwaukee. While at Appleseed Music, a store that he and brother Matt started, Jeff Schroedl contacted Jeff about doing some freelance writing for Hal Leonard. Jeff accepted his offer and began arranging and proofreading various guitar books before and after hours at the store. When a full time editor position opened up at Hal Leonard, Jeff interviewed for the position and was hired. In 1995, Jeff moved to Milwaukee to start his new job as managing editor of guitar songbooks – the job he holds today. Jeff and his wife, Holly, live in West Allis.



Vinnie’s Rock Bottom

It seemed odd that we were booked 7 – 11 on a Saturday night. Apparently, there was an afternoon party with Dan Riley entertaining. Dan was to finish at 7:00, then the band would start and the party would stick around. That was the plan anyway…..problem was that the party didn’t stay. We started at 7:00 to a small crowd and as predicted, had a full house at 11:00 – quitting time. The band decided to do the owner a favor and play an extra set. Overall, it was a good night. Vinnies is a fun bar and we appreciate everyone who made the drive and stuck around. Check out the pics on our Myspace site – thanks to Matt, Stacy, and Laurie. It’s also the only place we’ve ever played that has had a “stripper pole” in the dance floor. Between the pole and the bar dancing, there’s entertainment everywhere!
We’re at a private party next Sat.- then it’s Porkfest on Wednesday, the 13th. We’ve done this one for a long time now and it’s always fun. On the 15th, Holly and I are celebrating our 5 year anniversary…now she knows I didn’t forget. I always tell her that I’ll take her out for a great pork dinner…she doesn’t find any humor in that either…
On a more serious note, Tim informed me that his house was robbed last week. The front door was kicked in and a lot of Sarah’s jewelry was taken. Pretty scary thought….no one’s been caught (yet) and they’re looking into insurance coverage.
Anyway, stop out to Porkfest, have something to eat and hear some tunes. We’ll see you there!


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