Resurrectionists main person, Joe Cannon, is regarded as something of a tent-preacher for his literary, poetic lyrics that anchor Resurrectionists new LP, Now That We Are All Ghosts. The album lurches from the banjo spartan American Gothic through pixie-esque volume chaos. A unique, deeply involving record, in character a relief of American Weirdness. There's a Bad Seed aesthetic to the arrangements too. Here, Joe delivers up his Milwaukee bardic Bunch of Five. Over to Joe... (Can i just add - extra credit for the brilliant band photo).
Milwaukee, and the Riverwest Neighborhood of Milwaukee
I’ve lived in a number of places over the years — DC area, Indiana, Idaho, Chicago. None of them has struck me like Milwaukee. I moved here to take a job over fifteen years ago and stayed long after that job vanished. I fell in love with this weird little city and especially the Riverwest neighborhood.
Milwaukee is frequently overlooked and underestimated, in part because it’s so close to Chicago (about 80 miles north). But it has a surprising amount of creative ferment and a dogged insistence to do things its own way. It has a deep history of punk, hardcore, indie and noise rock, along with an increasingly influential hip-hop scene and a burgeoning country-americana movement. It’s a damn good place to be playing music, especially music that straddles genres like Resurrectionists does, because all of these scenes interpenetrate in energizing ways.
There are many MKE neighborhoods where exceptional music and art is happening, like Bayview and Walker’s Point, but my heart is in Riverwest. The sheer density of people doing cool stuff and places to see that stuff happen in this neighborhood is unique to anywhere I’ve lived before. (And this is Milwaukee so other neighborhoods’ riches are only ever a medium bike ride or short drive away.)
Gentrification is unfortunately creeping in and housing prices rising, but not without a surprisingly resourceful fight to keep outside developers at bay. For example, a neighborhood investment group successfully purchased a Polish Falcons hall that has been a neighborhood bar and bowling alley for many decades when its owner retired to keep the bowling alley and bar operating, and the building in the hands of people who care about the place and the neighborhood.
Friends Who Have Skills I Don’t
While making our most recent record (Now That We Are All Ghosts) we were seized by the absurd desire to have a video made for every song on the album. (To be honest I was seized by that desire. The rest of the band looked on with concern and wished me luck.)
I know precisely nothing about filmmaking. But I have friends who do, and who have indulged me mightily.
Here we are a year later and there are nine videos for the album produced by six different filmmakers; five from Milwaukee and one from Atlanta. We are showing them all — along with other work by the artists — at an event in Milwaukee (at Cactus Club) this April.
This is just one example among many — art, writing, organizational skills (oh my, the glory of organizational skills!) — where what I do has been made better, and often made possible, by having friends who are good at stuff.
My Beaten-to-Crap 1962 Guild T-50
I bought this thing for about $500 over 20 years ago at Midwest Buy & Sell in Chicago. Serial #19017: old enough that Guild was still just counting up from zero. It was strung with heavy flat wound strings when I bought it. I’d never played flatwounds before, and I’ve rarely played anything else since. It’s hard to describe the character of the sound I love about them, so I just refer to it as “thwack”.
For a long time it was my only guitar, partially because I adored it, partially because I couldn’t afford another one. 20+ years later I have a handful of instruments but still play that one most of the time. In other words I am the one who beat to crap my beaten to crap Guild.
(Also: I don’t know what it is with me and guitars from 1962. Some years ago I also found a 1962 Airline T&C at Wade’s Guitars in Milwaukee for $600. Some poor fellow had refinished it and destroyed all the collector value.)
My Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive Pedal
Speaking of beaten-to-crap, I have been stomping on this poor darling to make my guitar whine and banjo scream for quite some time. I’ve never been much of a gear head. No offense to people who are — for example, I adore the sonic weirdness our keys and 12-string player Gian brings to our songs — but I am much more likely to find a sound I like and cleave to it for dear life, such as with my long-suffering guitar.
I have tried other overdrives and fuzzes but I keep coming back to this. It’s the way the loud part sounds!
Bubbly water. Just bubbly water. Not the alcoholic stuff, which always tastes like some kind of obscene syrupy non-soda-soda to me, just bubbly water. Dear lord I drink a lot of bubbly water.
Main Resurrectionists photos by TW Hansen
Resurrectionists Now We Are All Ghosts is available now from Bandcamp⇒