Homecoming weekend

The toilet paper is in the trees in the neighborhood this week, and that means only one thing: It’s homecoming week at Green Bay East High School.

Sure enough, the Red Devils went out on Friday night and smoked their crosstown rivals, the Green Bay West Wildcats, 42-7. It was the 102nd time those teams have played. A little history there, eh?

Tonight, I’ll be having a little homecoming, too. I’ll be heading over to the outskirts of Wausau, Wisconsin, as my high school class celebrates everyone’s 50th birthday. Call it a 32-year reunion if you want, but it’s an excellent idea any way you cut it.

If we get around to talking about the bands we remember from our high school days, these names may come up. Unless you were of a certain age in the mid-’70s and lived in Wisconsin, you probably haven’t heard of them.

One was Dr. Bop and the Headliners, a ’50s revival show band out of Madison, Wisconsin. (If you remember them, check out this story and this story about them. They ran in a Madison newspaper in 2005 after the death of Mike Riegel, who was Dr. Bop. There’s even a three-part slide show — old posters, publicity stills and photos set to music — on YouTube. Here, here and here. It’s a wistful tribute to Riegel.)

Another was Circus, a blues-rock band out of Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

Still another was Clicker, an eclectic rock band also out of Madison.

They were apples and oranges, really. Dr. Bop and the Headliners wore suits. Circus and Clicker were rockers, locked in a battle for regional airplay. For some absurd reason, it seemed important at the time that you pick one over the other: Circus or Clicker.

When Clicker recorded its self-titled album in 1973, it was a five-piece band — bassist Steve Tracy, drummer Jerry Tracy, guitarists Bob Schmidtke and Dick Wiegel and singer Mark Everist. They wrote all eight tunes, recorded them at American Music in tiny Sauk City, Wisconsin, and released “Clicker” on Hemisphere Records out of Madison.

The album was an interesting mix of tunes and influences — a little ’60s rock, a little ’70s folk, a little prog, a little classical — with three instrumentals. The last cut, “Du Monde’s Back Room,” was a live studio jam that ran almost 16 minutes.

Though Clicker played a lot of gigs, they didn’t get much airplay.

That changed two years later. Clicker was back with a new three-man lineup — the Tracys and new guitarist “Memphis” Johnny Briggs — a new sound and a new album. The richer, horn-backed arrangements on “Har De Har Har” replaced the guitar-driven tunes of the first album. Some of the orchestration was arranged and conducted by David (Lewis) Crosby, who at the time led the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra.

It worked. Clicker started getting airplay on a single, “Tennessee Tailspin.”

Of all the guys who played in Clicker, only Wiegel — now Richard Wiegel — turns up in any web searches. He’s a veteran of the Madison music scene, now leading a band called The Midwesterners. It has released three albums. He also has released a solo acoustic blues CD.

Asked about Clicker earlier this year, Wiegel said the original band unraveled.

I remember seeing the three-piece Clicker at a gig in Wausau in what I think was the fall of 1975. It wasn’t long thereafter that you didn’t hear anything more about or from them. Perhaps they unraveled again.

There’s almost nothing about Clicker on the web. Their albums, long out of print, are rare. They go for about $100 each on eBay and from online record sellers.

Until last night, I probably hadn’t listened to my Clicker albums in their entirety in 30 years. I still can’t tell you who they sound like. You be the judge, then let me know whether you’d like to hear more Clicker.

clickerhardeharharcd.jpg

“Tennessee Tailspin” and “You Gotta Quit,” Clicker, from “Har De Har Har,” 1975. It’s out of print.

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40 Comments

Filed under September 2007, Sounds

40 responses to “Homecoming weekend

  1. This is pretty cool stuff. Yeah, it sounds like times past, but hey . . . I’d like to hear more of it. I find “You Gotta Quit” the better of the two on first listening. Thanks for this!

  2. Pingback: Livin’ in the Future « The Hits Just Keep On Comin’

  3. Wow..just looking for something to add to my eBay listing for a Circus photo..with Ray Cyr and Brett Peterson….I booked the bands you mentioned…managed the Tayles & Siegel Schwall and was 1/4th partner of The People’s Fair (with Friz Von Bucholtz, J.R. Sitton and Memphis Johnny Briggs). ck out my eBay store sometime…i sometimes come up with interesting midwest rock items…you don’t have to pay much to get a cool collectible from your past!! for instance i have a handbill from the Merrill Youth Council for a summer schedule..which includes Circus. You have no idea of the competition between our bands…TONGUE, CIRCUS, YANCY DERRINGER, & CLICKER all recorded for my partner’s label, Hemisphere…the Tayles were independent. And of course, we also had scads of upcoming Michigan bands who toured Wisconsin through our Madison Talent Agency (which we called McMillan and Clary Talent – named after the streets which J.R. and I lived on when were in High School)….thanks for your blog! Larry Schumann

  4. mikew9999

    Thank you for bringing Clicker back– I have been looking for them on the web for years. I have both of the referenced LPs and was amused to discover they are worth $100 on eBay. But no way will I sell my Clicker albums. I used to go see them play live whenever I could back in the 70s. Once Cubby Tracy even bummed a cigarette from me at a gig in Marshfield– I was all of 14 years old, lol. Loved their glam rock look and the super high heels on their shoes. Castle was a classic, but I liked the inspirational Keep on Tryin’ as well. Of the two you referenced, You Gotta Quit is the preferred. But they turned out a single too, which was a cover of J.Geils “So Sharp”, which I also own, and enjoyed. Wonder what that goes for on eBay? Anyway, Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    • Greg

      Hey, I’ve been looking for a copy of the single version of TENNESSEE TAILSPIN by Clicker. I have the Harde Har Har Har Album in MINT condition but the single has a scratch and it bums me out because I love the single version more than the Album cut. Any chance of getting an MP3 from you on the 45 version of Tennessee Tailspin?

  5. Bill in Milwaukee

    Holy cow, Clicker! Haven’t thought about them in a couple decades.

    I too have both their albums and recall seeing them tour around Wisconsin. I remember hearing Tennessee Tailspin play on WIBA-AM. We used to drive down to Mad-Town to see them play to packed houses at the Shuffle Inn and the Stone Hearth. The Tracy brothers always had the hottest chicks.

    Anyone know what happened to the Tracy brothers? I wonder if they are still making music somewhere?

  6. Amy from Waupaca

    I remember seeing Clicker in ’74 or ’75 maybe when they played in Waupaca. I think once was at the Armory and once at the Casino. We thought they were soooo cool. I used to have the 45 rpm of Tenneesee Tailspin but don’t know whatever happened to it. Probably still rattling around my mom’s place somewhere. I do have a Clicker button in my “treasures” box. Thanks for posting the songs. They bring back interesting memories.

    • Chris from Waupaca

      Amy,
      We were probably at a few of the same Clicker shows. A bunch of us from town would never miss them. We also traveled to Wausau, Amherst, Nielsville (The Silver Dome!) and of course, the Armory.
      Thanks for the Clicker memories…..they were great!

  7. Dave

    I swear Clicker played our High School lock-in night at Madison West High in the Spring of 1976. Maybe that was their undoing? :)

  8. Bill in Milwaukee

    Richard Weigel, Still Rock’n…

    This evening I caught Richard Wiegel, taking a break from his normal gig with the Midwesterners, performing at the Delafield Brewhaus with Frankie Lee and Tom McCarty as the “Frankie Lee Trio.”

    The boy’s played a great mix of blues, country and R&B tunes ranging from Chuck Berry, to Ray Charles and Hank Williams. They sounded great and Richard was instantly recognizable from his days with Clicker. Except for a little grey hair, he still looks like he did when he was tearing it up with the Tracy brothers.

    I had a chance to visit with Richard between sets and I asked whatever happened to the Tracy brothers. He said that they are no longer in the music biz, but still live in Wisconsin, in the Mount Horeb area.

    I had found some old photos that I had taken of Clicker back in the late 70′s. I even got him to autograph one for me. Sweet!

    Richard’s band The Midwesterners have a number of gigs scheduled around the state this summer. Check them out at: TheMidwesterners.com

    *Bill in Milwaukee

  9. Hi All,
    Just wanted to say thanks to Bill for coming out to our gig the other night and bringing some old Clicker photos. It’s always fun to run into Clicker fans and to reminisce a bit about those days. Bill gave me a photo and also emailed me some photos that I sent onto Cubby, and he got a big kick out of them too. (I hope Cubby doesn’t mind, but I took the liberty of posting his comments to me.) “This old Clicker stuff is cool. It’s nice to know that we actually touched some peoples lives, and apparently in a “good” kind of way. And those old pics were great! I really enjoyed them. I will forward those on to Steve as well. At some point when I can sneak more than a couple
    of minutes, I’ll try to get on one of those blogs to let those folks know that I’m still breathing as well.”
    I get requests every now and then from folks looking for Clicker on CD, and maybe one of these days we’ll figure out a way to do it. In the meantime, if you are anywhere where my band The Midwesterners are playing, be sure and come up and introduce yourself. It’s always fun and even a bit flattering. Fun site, I’ll keep my eye on it.
    take care,
    Richard

  10. No Longer In NL

    Clicker! So, I’m not the only one still recalling this music 30 years later. That’s great!
    I still have my Harde Har Har Har album and don’t intend to let it go. You know… there’s some creative music there. Haven’t spun the album in many years but I recall one long instrumental tune that end’s with “Oh Toto… there’s no place like home”. Dang… I’m trying to recall the tune now, but I know it was one of my favorites on that album. Thanks for bringing us all up to date!

  11. Jean in Darlington

    I have the fortunate luck to be Richard’s sister. We were so excited when Clicker came anywhere near our home town to play. It meant we would make a ton of food and the band would come over at 3:00 in the morning and we’d all sit around the table and eat & drink coffee. I was only about 12-13 at the time, so it was really cool. Even if I ran into Cubby or Steve today, they would recognize me and give me a hug. All of Clicker’s musicians were cool guys and very nice.

    I have the CD on tape and I have probably played it 250 times over the last 30 years. It’s cool to hear people still talk about them!

    • Joan in Madison

      I have the fortunate luck to be another of Richard’s sisters and from Clicker to every band Richard Wiegel has played in – we have been so fortunate to have had a musician in the family. We traveled all around southern Wisconsin to hear Clicker. Whenever my friends and I were driving in the car and we heard a Clicker song, we pulled over and got out and danced. And of course we always had to get a new outfit every time we went to see Clicker! Great memories!

    • Paul

      It would be interesting to get a copy of them. I just have a craving for them now. Paul

  12. Jim Jacobson

    I had brothers that had great record collections and Harde Har Har Har was one of the most played that I recall. I Cut my Rock and Roll teeth on that album. I put on my Ipod along with the obligatory vinyl scratches and some skips (from the teething). I’ll have to get the rest on the ‘pod to complete the collection. Nice blast from the past!!!

  13. Richard

    I remember seeing Clicker at the Airway Bar in Marshfield Wi. I was surprised at the time that they didn’t go any farther than being a bar band.

  14. I went to a Clicker show in July 1975 while on vacation in Minoqua, Wi. at the high school. I really enjoyed the band. When I returned home to Milwaukee I bought their debut album.
    I did an ebay search on the Clicker the other day and I see they had released a second album Harde-har-har-har in 1975. The ebay copy is sealed @$100.00! I hope to find a used copy soon.

    I am also interested in any Clicker memorabilia, band photos, posters, set lists, band history etc.

    It’s good to read about others who also enjoyed the band!

    • Hey Dean, how have you been? Check out: http://www.myspace.com/themidwesterners I have lots of old Clicker posters up there. Richard Wiegel

      • Dean Gardner

        Hi Richard,
        Thanks for your reply! I hope you are doing well.
        It’s been awhile since I looked at this website. It’s been a busy year.
        I checked out your website and the Clicker poster and photos are very cool! I also enjoyed the comments and band history. It was a very interesting time.
        I purchased a Clicker poster online last month, the black and white poster from 74 or 75, with four band members.

        Take care, talk with you soon.

        Dean

  15. Stephen Wilkins

    Clicker was a real memory-new them all and still talk with Richard. The gigs they played were always packed and fun. What great memories and good friends. Used to take lots of photos of them and still have some old poster designs that were never used. Great to hear them.

  16. Jim T from IL

    Thanks for bringing back some great memories of listening to Clicker. They played in our area quite a bit when I was in High School.

    Just a thought… how about someone put their songs on the web – like LimeWire – so we could download and listen to some of them (without having to spend the $100 bucks!). I’m sure there are quite a few of us still out there that would like to hear them again.

  17. Al Rozanski

    I saw Clicker at The Shindig in Mosinee, a bar that usually featured average cover bands (Chunky Pie) but also an occasional top name band past their peak populairty – Tommy James & Looking Glass come to mind. For me, the two things that set Clicker apart from other Wisconsin bands was … 1) that they played their own tunes, which worked because they were catchy and played by some talented musicians; and … 2) they wore their hair in a fashion that wasn’t, at the time, popular in the small towns of the midwest. They came at a time when the 50′s revival was starting to wind down. Previously, we had been bombarded by Dr. Bop, Little Ziggy and the Zoo and Truc. But between American Grafitti and Happy Days, we were ready to move on.

  18. Tom Monahan

    So this is 50…..11:30 pm on a Saturday looking up old bands from the Madison area. I used to go to Tino’s in Fennimore and watch Clicker. When you think about it, the music from that era set alot of things in motion for the future. Does anyone remember Dr. Rumley’s Snuff Band or Onyx?

    • Cheryl Mueller

      I thik my friends played in the band Onyx-from the Richland Center area -was surfing for Joe and the guys in Dr. Rumley’s band since I’m planning a trip to WI.

    • [08-16-09 at: 11:04p.m.]

      Hi Tom ;-)

      Where are you from, where did you hear us?, I knew, know alot of people, but lost contact with most from that period. [1969 - 1972]

      I recall Dr. Rumley Snuff and Onyx very well as eye-was, still am, the guitar player ;-).
      Eye-played in Rumley Snuff, which was the second incarnation of DR. Rumley Snuff, then Rumley Snuff sequed into Angst, to Onyx, all of which eye-was the guitar player for. Eye-don’t know it you knew it or not, but Onyx did go to Nashville, which ‘eye-think’ was sometime in 1972. etc, etc.

      Do you remember the band SOUP, the super power trio, from Appleton Wisconsin?, they were around at the same time Onyx and Clicker was.
      The members, just three, were: Doug Yangkus, Robbie and Dave Fass [spelling].

      Onyx was a big fish in a small pond ;-), the “fame” we endured, haha!, was intense, to be sure, but short lived, sigh ;-) [interesting story here].

      We played alot in and around Richand Center, Sauk City and Pararie Du Sac! Those were the days we thought they’d never end, but you better bet they did. Where did all the time go?

      [The Woodstock Nation]

      Dr. Rumley Snuff and Cody are still playing, Dr. Rumley Snuff played Arthur’s in Spring-green on August 14, 2009.

      AND ON A DIFFERENT NOTE:

      You can see some work I’ve done here:

      http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.channel&ChannelID=192148327

      Progressive Rock Duo Eintein’s Gypsy Rebels present the music video of Breathin Heathen. Terry’s guitar soars over Dale’s bed of classic …

      Keep rockin ;-)

      • Larry O

        Also remeber the American Tea Company with Gary Tesrake and Jim Schuh
        they were the hoppin band outta Marshfield WI

  19. Man , we saw Clicker at the Airway bar in Marshfield and at The Rafters in Rapids. Also at lincoln highschool dance. So cool, also, tayles, soup,
    revolver, Circus,Dynamite, Zany Starblaster, Itch , black sun, Crystarr, Ruby Starr, the Orbits, Stone Martin and Abel Magwitch. Ah! the good ole days!

  20. Gill

    Cubby Tracy lived behind me on the west side of Madison back in the 70s. His wife was a piano teacher, and my sister was one of her students. Apologies to the rest of the posts on this forum, but I never really cared for Clicker’s music at the time. Don’t know why, because now 35 years later I don’t even remember what they sounded like (I was 14 at the time). Having said that, though, back then I did think it was pretty cool to be living next door to a rock star.

  21. Larry O

    clicker sounds like Steely Dan a bit toned down, wouyldn’t you say?

  22. (Clicker was named #15 in this article).
    The top 25 Madison pop albums of all time
    Rich Albertoni on Thursday 07/08/2010-Isthmus

    The long-play record format — the LP — was born in 1948, when Columbia Records released The Voice of Frank Sinatra on 10-inch vinyl. Madison pop musicians took awhile to join the trend. Before Full Compass Sound Studios opened in 1971, local bands had to travel to Milwaukee, Lake Geneva or Sauk City to record.

    Madison’s first commercially successful record was the Fendermen’s Mule Skinner Blues in 1960. Not until Pro Tools began mass-producing inexpensive, high-quality home recording technology in 1997 did local pop albums become common.

    “Not many local releases came out,” recalls Dave Benton, who played guitar in the 1980s Madison power-pop band Spooner. And when one did, “it was a big deal, at least in our minds. It was the old business model, with all the promotion done by phone, snail mail and hustling and gigging like crazy.” Today, Madison artists create about 100 original full-length albums per year.

    Over the first five decades of Madison-made LPs, cassettes, CDs and now digital albums, these 25 pop recordings made the biggest splash. They helped influence the direction of popular music in Wisconsin and, sometimes, across the country and the world.

    1. Killdozer Twelve Point Buck (1989)
    It’s the album that led to grunge, that linked Butch Vig to Nirvana and forged rock’s reinvention in the early 1990s. Killdozer inverted the frenetic tempo of punk. The band’s slow, sludgy sound droned as singer Michael Gerald growled dark, funny stories of Midwest despondency. Vig’s production polished the band’s heavy sound. Sub Pop’s Jonathan Poneman took notice in Seattle and invited Vig to work with Sonic Youth and Nirvana.

    2. Ben Sidran Feel Your Groove (1971)
    On his major-label debut for Capitol, Sidran proved that jazz piano had a place in mainstream pop and paved the way for acts like Steely Dan. Peter Frampton and Boz Scaggs added instrumentation to this recording. Mimi Farina, the late sister of Joan Baez, added vocals. The groovy “feel it” chorus of the title track is über-1970s.

    3. The Tony Brown Band Prisoners in Paradise (1982)
    Madison’s reggae pioneer spent eight months in Jamaica after finishing this recording at the local Full Compass Sound Studios. By the time he returned, studio owner Rick Murphy had arranged for national distribution through Jem. The album established Brown’s credentials well beyond the borders of Mad City.

    4. Spooner Every Corner Dance (1982)
    Produced by Gary Klebe of Shoes, this was the LP debut by the Butch Vig/ Doug Erikson band that became Madison’s answer to early-1980s power pop. Jeff Walker’s organ riff on “Will You Remember Me?” was pure New Wave.

    5. Rainer Maria Past Worn Searching (1997)
    Kyle Fischer and William Kuehn were UW students in 1995 when Fischer met Caithlin De Marrais in a poetry workshop. The three formed Rainer Maria and commenced the indie rock era in Madison. Past Worn Searching was their debut. The band’s style came to influence the hazy, lo-fi, subdued indie sound that still thrives today.

    6. The Fendermen Mule Skinner Blues (1962)
    Jim Sundquist and Phil Humphrey were UW-Madison students in the late 1950s. Each played a Fender guitar. Their cover of the Jimmie Rodgers 1930 classic “Blue Yodel No. 8″ became one of the first tunes ever recorded by a Madison band, on Sauk City’s historic Cuca Records. The song peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960.

    7. Charlemagne Detour Allure (2005)
    Charlemagne songwriter Carl Johns changed local indie rock during his years in Madison. His polished and melodic compositions proved that progressive music could embrace production and still be experimental. Detour Allure earned solid reviews in Paste and Pitchfork as the band toured the U.S. and Europe.

    8. Lou and Peter Berryman We Don’t Talk About That! (1992)
    Since they started playing shows at Club de Wash in 1977, the Berrymans have been the face of folk music in Madison. This early-’90s release tackles local subjects with razor-sharp wit and lyrical irony. “Convention Center” was inspired by the referendum to build Monona Terrace. The song gently chided the idea that it would solve the city’s problems.

    9. Tar Babies Face the Music (1983)
    Tar Babies were Madison’s answer to Black Flag and hardcore punk. Face the Music was their debut, produced by Bob Mould and Butch Vig. With Bucky Pope on vocals and guitar, Tar Babies got signed to the venerable indie label SST in 1987. Their sound ultimately ventured beyond hardcore, and the band embraced funk. Tar Babies’ aggressive early sound surely blew out a few local amps.

    10. The Youngblood Brass Band Unlearn (2000)
    After pop music splintered into micro-genres in the 1990s, a wave of artists like Beck and Beth Orton tried to bring it back together again. Locally, the Youngblood Brass Band sounded a call for musical unity. The former Oregon High School students used a sousaphone to bridge the gap between rock and hip-hop. Unlearn featured appearances from Talib Kweli and DJ Skooly. The band’s multicultural innovations led to international touring.

    11. Garbage Garbage (1995)
    Butch Vig was a national music celebrity by the time Garbage formed. Lead singer Shirley Manson was from Scotland. But the band’s roots were still in Madison, and members frequently hung out at the now defunct Café Montmartre. Their self-titled debut album changed the boundaries of electronic, rock and pop. Riding the success of the single “Stupid Girl,” the album sold more than 4 million copies.

    12. The Rob Dz Experience Soul Anthems (2005)
    Hip-hop lived on the margins of the Madison music scene until the middle of last decade. Soul Anthems helped change all that. Dz collaborated with an influential group of local musicians. The raps were easygoing. The messages were positive. The R&B was smooth. The jazz was mellow. The disc heralded a new wave of progressive Madison hip-hop.

    13. Tayles Who Are These Guys? (1972)
    Recorded live at the Nitty Gritty, this collection of blues-rock captures the musical feel of Vietnam-era Madison. Paul Reyzold’s organ added pyschedelia that was as bright as a tie-dyed shirt; Scott Eakin’s flute was as groovy as a VW bus. Jeremy Wilson started the band in 1966. Like hippie culture, Tayles faded away near the end of 1972.

    14. Stromkern Armageddon (2001)
    Madison’s electronic music scene was nascent when Ned Kirby formed Stromkern in 1994. His industrial compositions won more fans in Germany than they did here. Armageddon was the band’s first U.S. release. Tracks like “Nightriders” were poppy and danceable. “Strange Day Dawning” featured brooding strings and piano. The album made waves by linking industrial beats to other musical styles.

    15. Clicker Clicker (1973)
    Somewhere between 1960s pop and 1970s prog, there was Clicker. The group’s spookily melodramatic song “Castle” described a vision of “a lady in a forest of green” who “lived in a castle like I had never seen.” Led by vocalist Mark Everist, the band included Richard Wiegel, now of the Midwesterners. There’s fierce Wisconsin nostalgia for Clicker online, and with songs like “Castle,” it’s easy to see why.

    16. Clyde Stubblefield The Original (2004)
    Madison’s Funky Drummer is best known for his early work with James Brown and for inventing a drum pattern that became the most sampled beat in hip-hop. In 2004, he teamed up with Ben Sidran for these funky tracks. The CD is a Madison original.

    17. Fire Town In the Heart of the Heart Country (1987)
    Performing with guitarist-singer Phil Davis, this album won Butch Vig and Doug Erikson the major-label contract they never got with Spooner. Originally released on the prolific local label Boat, the record was rereleased nationally on Atlantic. Fire Town’s jangly rock was in tune with the early R.E.M. era.

    18. Underground Sunshine Let There Be Light (1969)
    Led by brothers Bert and Frank Kohl, this band released a cover of the Beatles’ “Birthday” that peaked at #26 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969. Their LP featured “Don’t Shut Me Out,” written by David Gates of Bread. The group later made an appearance on American Bandstand.

    19. El Guante Vanishing Point (2005)
    Kyle “El Guante” Myhre spent six years in Madison before signing to Tru Ruts records and moving to the Twin Cities in 2007. The spoken-word poet helped organize protests against the Iraq War. He started an alternative newspaper. Then he recorded Vanishing Point, a halting collection of rap poems, mellow beats and lonely jazz instrumentation that signaled Madison hip-hop’s coming of age.

    20. Appliances-SFB SFB (1984)
    Another Butch Vig/Steve Marker/Smart Studios classic, SFB featured the frenetic vocals of Tom Laskin. The album is rooted in punk, but the guitar parts venture into brooding post-punk on “The Pest.” Free-form jazz elements influence the wailing sounds of “Neo-Fascist.” And yes, the SFB stood for “shit for brains.”

    21. Pat MacDonald & the Essentials Lowdown (1981)
    He went on to form Timbuk3 and gain a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 1987, but Pat MacDonald was a staple of the local music scene in the late 1970s. Before “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades,” the Timbuk3 sound took root on this album.

    22. Ivory Library Parasite (1995)
    The eerie atmospherics that swirled around Ivory Library’s songs gave them emotional depth. You can hear it in the restless urgency of “Go.” Led by Jeff Jagielo, the band formed in the 1980s. Parasite was distributed nationwide and won the band a Billboard magazine profile.

    23. Marques Bovre & the Evil Twins Big Strong House (1992)
    Bovre’s Americana was traditional and rebellious. The title track used prairie imagery to ground a faith metaphor. But the band’s signature song, “I Like Gyrls Who Like Gyrls,” flirted with the idea that “it’s a twisted little world; we’ve all got our little kinks.” The disc gained regional radio airplay, and the band packed in crowds at bars from Janesville to Stevens Point.

    24. Natty Nation Earth Citizen (1998)
    Natty Nation frequently played the tiny Mango Grill in University Square about the time the band released this sophomore album. Propelled by Demetrius Wainwright and Jeffrey Maxwell on vocals, the CD fulfilled the promise of the band’s 1996 debut, The Journey Has Just Begun. Natty Nation’s mix of hard roots rock and reggae proved unique and gained a following that remains today.

    25. Blueheels Lessons in Sunday Driving (2008)
    Pale Young Gentlemen and Zola Jesus have earned the most national indie press among Madison bands in recent years. But Justin Bricco and crew bring restless rage to roots rock like no other Madison band ever has. In the year the Great Recession started, Blueheels made Americana feel appropriately jagged and uneasy.

    Special thanks to Dave Benton, Rick Murphy and Jim Kirchstein for helping me navigate Madison’s significant early recordings.

  23. (A follow-up by Cub Tracy)

    The Black Clicker Album was the number 2 album of the year behind Paul McCartney and Wings at WIFC in Wausau in like 1972/73, and I believe “Keep on Tryin” was a Top 10 song up there. We had other major airplay with “Keep on Tryin” at a number of stations including WISM here in Madison where it got in the Top 10. I know it did well in places like Stevens Point, Marshfield and maybe Lacrosse as wel. We also got featured airplay on Beaker Theater in Little Rock Ark with “Dumonde’s Back Room”, and I actually sat in by basement on the westside and heard it myself. We had singles like “It’s for You”, “Lucy Cain” and “So Sharp” that were never on albums, but made the Top 10 on WISM in madison back in the same time frame, so we actually got more airplay than any other Madison band that I know. The “Harde Har Har Har” Album had major airplay with “Before You Say Goodbye” and “Tennessee Tailspin”. We had released Tennessee Tailspin earlier on a 45, and then had a different version on the album. Both of those songs were Top 20 in Madison. There was also some airplay in California with “Toto Comes Home”. I have seen Harde Har Har Har albums go for between $100 and $300 on ebay. I have never seen the black album on Ebay. I have seen copies of single records like Lucy Cain, So Sharp and It’s for You all on ebay as well, going for anywhere from $5 to $20. My son Shane actually purchased one of those himself.

    So, in conclusion, I would have to suggest that both the Black Clicker album, and Harde Har Har Har would have to be in the top 10, as I know of no other bands that got more airplay, or sold more records than us in that time frame in Madison. Certainly Spooner and then Firetown would have to be mentioned as well. I just can’t think of anyone else at this time who actually released albums that did well in the region. I know there were several bands that released singles and got some local airplay, but I wasn’t aware of actual “albums” presay.

    I hope my ramblin on helps a little bit.
    Kind regards,
    Cub.

    • Chris from Waupaca

      Cub,

      Thanks for the very interesting comments. In todays age of corporate owned radio stations, I can’t see how local/regional bands can ever get airplay.

      Here’s a story on how big Clicker was: A few of us drove to Wausau to see you, but we didn’t know what venue you were at. We found a pay phone (dark ages!), called information (where else?) and the operator knew where you were playing.

      Cub, do you still play at all? How about a reunion show! Thanks for the memories….cj

  24. Hoss

    II graduated from Platteville High in 1975. I saw them around the local area and in Minocqua ws.

    I also still have a 8 track tape.

    They were good, seems to me they changed to the Tracy Brothers band ?

  25. Hoss

    I graduated from Platteville High in 1975. I saw them around the local area and in Minocqua ws.

    I also still have a 8 track tape.

    They were good, seems to me they changed to the Tracy Brothers band ?

  26. Paul

    I am glad there is still some music out there. I heard them at the Appleton YMCA at an all High School Homecoming Dance in 1975. I bought an 8 track, but it is long gone.

  27. john christian

    leaving a reply on a long thread of memories. To make a short story long, I was watching the 2012 grammies and the foo fighters gave credit to a butch vig and i impressed my 14 year old that i knew him. I had worked at headliners in the mid 80′s. So my wife backed me up and asked what other bands i had known and we are old enough to have seen and met the local bands by booking them to play at the cyo dances in monroe. richard and my fathers were original cheesemakers/heads. But clicker always comes up as one of our favorite live bands. i never got a chance to introduce reo because they cost 5k at the time so we got cheap trick for 2k and other bands like circus, punch?. anyway get to see reo at busch gardens and cheap trick owns homes in st pete and play quite a bit for games. look forward to seeing yhe midwesterners the next time we’re back

  28. STEVEN DALLMAN

    I happen to have a copy of “harde har har har” sitting next to my computer monitor. Clicker was a favorite band in college at Stevens Point in the early 70s, along with Circus and especially Tongue.

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