Sincerest thanks go out to Simon Gould for sending this in, thanks Simon!
Gratitudes also extended to the one and only Mrs. Welder. She may not share my passion for Die Kreuzen, but she's a jolly good sport and was kind enough to type this up for me, using her formidable keyboard skills!
They began about two years ago as the STELLAS, and after various drummers, changing bass players and the band name, have been playing with this line up for a year and a half. They have just released their first E.P., "Cows and Beer" this February on the Version Sound label.
MRR: So what's the Milwaukee scene like?
K: It's small but growing, there's more bands and people coming out all the time. Since last year, it's grown a lot.
H: Well, a year ago there weren't too many people into hardcore music.
K: Back then most people thought it was beneath them to listen to this kind of music.
MRR: When you first started playing out, a lot of people thought you were stuck in 1977.
K: A lot of people think they've progressed past that, but that's the totally opposite attitude that people should take.
MRR: Do you think you've gone beyond being just another hardcore band?
MRR: In what way?
H: The content of our songs is a lot more complex than the mainstream of the hardcore bands coming out now.
K: A lot of these bands are just "let's see how fast we can play", they listen to whatever and think that's the way they should sound, it's bad because they aren't using their imagination, but in any form of music you'll find that. People who think and those who follow.
MRR: So what do you do with those who are content to follow?
K: Get more involved.
D: If they're going to think at all they'll start listening to themselves and realize they're just fucking off and eventually they'll get bored and go away and the people that are into it will keep getting more involved hopefully.
MRR: Is that a problem in Milwaukee at all?
K: I don't think it is that much.
E: You've got to care to even see that anything is going on here because the scene is pretty small.
K: You've got to search it out for yourself, once they do find it, it seems like they keep coming back.
E: Or you get those who just go out when the bigger acts come through town.
K: I think it should go a little deeper than just being entertainment. It should require some kind of commitment. I don't want to be taken as a night's worth of entertainment, or supplying background music for someone who wants to go out and drink. That's the whole thing about the club scene, hang out at the bar. It's a lot more fun when you can play halls, you don't get a lot of people showing up, just to get fucked up and drunk, when people's main objective is to get real fucked up.
D: I think one of the best things to happen here was the closing of the Starship (local new wave hot spot). That weeded out all the shit - the trendy types and the stupid bands that didn't give a shit about the scene just as long as they had their comfortable little club to play in.
H: It really showed who cared about the scene and who didn’t. None of those bands went looking for new places to play or setting up their own gigs, they just went up the road and hopped on the Stone Toad's (a not so hot new wave club) bandwagon.
D: Things are going much better putting on our own shows, we've also been helping out of town bands set stuff up here in Milwaukee. The scene is doing a lot better if bands help each other out. We've got a lot of help from other bands, the EFFIGIES helped us when we started playing Chicago, HUSKER DU and the ZERO BOYS have helped a lot, Bob Moore of Version Sound has done really a lot for us. MECHT MENSCH and the TAR BABIES get us gigs in Madison.
MRR: What about the rest of the Midwest?
E: We've played Chicago, Madison and Minneapolis, things are really spread out around here, you got to do a lot of driving.
H: The underage shows have been the best lately, when we opened for the EXPLOITED in Chicago the underage crowd there was really fun to play for.
D: Madison is mostly younger kids that are really dedicated, it's small but the people there are cool, they're open-minded.
MRR: So what are your main priorities when you write a song?
E: That the music be good, so that it's got a good structure to it, some complexity.
H: To have some interesting hooks to it.
E: It's got to be interesting for me to play it.
MRR: What about the lyrics?
D: Try not to get too political, sometimes that gets a little repetitive, sometimes you hear the same stuff over and over. I try and relate it on a more personal level.
H: Explain yourself instead of just doing "fuck Reagan, I hate the government".
E: It's not just the fact that Reagan is president, it's the fact that this country could elect someone like Reagan.
D: You get bands like Foreigner and Styx and all these kids sitting around idolizing these bands going "oh wow, Foreigner", when you got bands more on a realistic level say like HUSKER DU or any band that might happen to be wherever you're at, they don't realize that you can get your own band together and even play out with bands like that, go out and make their own reality instead of sitting around dreaming about it.
K: For a lot of people that's the Rock 'n' Roll mentality, a lot of bands like to push that, that they're way superior just because they can play an instrument and that no one else can do this except for these immensely talented rock stars, that's a load of shit. I mean I don't have any talent and I'm playing, there's nothing to it. If you want to do it you will do it, that's what it comes down to, if you want to do it badly enough, even if your main goal in life is to be Eddie Van Halen, I'm sure you can do it.
D: Open your eyes and see what's going around, don't sit around listening to REO Speedwagon sing about some pretty girl for the millionth time. With our music it's great seeing kids skanking their brains out and singing along with the songs, letting out a lot of aggression and emotion, you can't do that if you're up there singing "oooh I love you".
MRR: How do you feel about your new E.P. that's just out?
D: Really good.
E: I think it sounds real good.
H: It's been a long time coming.
K: I don't know. I'm real proud of it, it was a fucking lot of work.
MRR: So what's next?
H: I'd like to try to concentrate on the midwest and promote the scene here.
K: Hopefully a good-sized tour in April or May.
E: Getting our record around as good as we can and then hitting the road.
MRR: What's with the "Cows and Beer"?
H: That's what people think when they think about Wisconsin, that's part of the stereotype for what it's like around here.