(B.S. Management, ’11)

I grew up in a musical household. My father is a retired middle school band and orchestra teacher who literally can play every instrument and my mom is a church pianist and organ player. I started playing piano at age 5, violin at age 9, euphonium and cornet at age 12, and upright bass at age 14. I added electric bass while in high school and started my first band when I was a freshman in high school. I was the singer and we played covers by the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Ramones, Clash and Beach Boys. I graduated in 1987 and never looked back.

I gigged nonstop through my 20s and 30s. I moved to Milwaukee in 1994 and started the instrumental/surf band the Exotics shortly thereafter. The Exotics toured extensively, covering much of the East Coast, West Coast and the South as well as every college town and major city in the Midwest.

I formed the Uptown Savages in 1999. What started out as a little rockabilly/hillbilly boogie bar band has grown and evolved into a seven-piece jump blues/R&B show band. The Uptown Savages have just completed our 3rd CD and have a busy year ahead of us playing festivals and special events around the Midwest.

In the 2000s, I played bass with a mod/beat/power-pop group called the Nelsonics. We released two CDs and a vinyl single. I also played guitar in a surf/eleki group called Transistor Royale. In addition, I played bass for a few theatrical productions – most notably I played and did some acting in the Milwaukee Repertory Theater's production of “Always...Patsy Cline,” which ran in the Stackner Cabaret for several months in early 2012.

In 2012, I co-founded the original alt-country/country rock group The Doghouse Flowers. We released our debut CD in early 2014 and have been gigging several times a month in support of our CD. We will be recording another CD of all original music later this year.

I recently celebrated my 18th year as the host and programmer for the Chickenshack on WMSE 91.7 FM in Milwaukee. I started the show in mid-July of 1997 and have been on the air every Friday morning since then.

Official websites:

www.uptownsavages.com

www.thedoghouseflowers.com

www.wmse.org

Social media:

Facebook – The Exotics

Facebook – Uptown Savages

Facebook – Doghouse Flowers

Facebook – The Chickenshack on WMSE

https://www.facebook.com/uptownsavages

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Doghouse-Flowers/363649963671612

https://www.facebook.com/groups/113292612042413/?ref=br_tf

Links to news stories:

July 2014: “The Blooming of Doghouse Flowers” – Urban Milwaukee Dial

June 2014: “5 Questions for Milwaukee’s Doghouse Flowers” – OnMilwaukee.com

June 2014: “Doghouse Flowers’ roots start with the 1970s” –Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

May 2014: “Doghouse Flowers Revisits Country Rock” – ExpressMilwaukee.com

Links to music, videos:

“Meet Me in Milwaukee,” performed by the Doghouse Flowers in the Tap Milwaukee studio

“So Wrong,” performed by the Doghouse Flowers in the Tap Milwaukee studio

iTunes – “Chasing the Sun” album by the Doghouse Flowers

Albums:

The Rockin' Bones: Second Chance to Dance, CD (1989)

The Exotics: Goofy Foot ep, 7" vinyl (1995)

The Exotics: Go Go Guitars, CD (1997)

The Uptown Savages: Rocket Drivin' Daddy, CD (2001)

The Nelsonics: Self Titled, CD (2002)

The Nelsonics: Dousman St ep, 7" vinyl (2004)

The Nelsonics: Ruins of Rome, CD (2005)

The Uptown Savages: Crazy, Crazy, Crazy, CD (2006)

The Uptown Savages: Bad Motorcycle b/w '52 Vincent Black Lightning, 7" vinyl (2008)

The Exotics: Lost Album, CD, (2009, recorded 1998)

The Exotics: Spy ep, 7" vinyl (2012)

The Doghouse Flowers: Chasing The Sun, CD (2014)

The Uptown Savages: Rock & Roll With You, CD (2014, scheduled for release in fall)

Self-described style:

As a bassist, I am comfortable playing nearly any style of music. As a vocalist and guitarist I prefer to play more retro blues, R&B, country and surf/garage styles.

Instruments/vocals:

Bass, guitar, lead vocals. I have a limited singing range. I prefer to sing blues/R&B.

Favorite band/musician/composer:

Bassists: Duck Dunn, Ray Brown, Carol Kaye

Guitarists: T-Bone Walker, Pee Wee Crayton, Nick Curran, Link Wray

Vocalists: George Jones, Joe Williams, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Jr. Wells

Biggest musical feat so far:

Taking the Exotics to California, the birthplace of surf music, on two tours and literally blowing audiences out of their seats. I also am very proud of my radio program. It has been an honor and a privilege to have spent 18 years on the air in Milwaukee.

Awards/honors:

Groups that I have been in have been nominated for and have won Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) awards and Shepherd Express “Best of...” awards.

A memorable gig:

One of my favorite gigs of all time was playing Jazz in the Park in downtown Milwaukee in 2013 with the Uptown Savages. The band hit on all cylinders. It was a perfect gig.

Day job:

I have been working in the financial industry for the last 20 years. I am currently job hunting.

Future goals:

At my age I consider myself very lucky to be able to keep on performing and recording. I plan on continuing until it is physically impossible to do so.

Stritch influences:

I apply the leadership principles that I learned at the College of Business and Management to any work that I do, whether it is at a day job or with my band.

Ongoing Stritch connections:

I am still in contact with many of my fellow students from my cohort.

Contact information:

vespa1@hotmail.com

doghouseflowersband@gmail.com