A year ago at this time, I wrote about how it was homecoming in the neighborhood, with toilet paper in the trees, and how I was going to an informal reunion with some of my high school classmates.
The music I included with that post was from a band familiar to those of us of a certain age from Wisconsin, yet seemingly known only in our part of the Midwest, and only for a short time in the ’70s. The band called Clicker.
Turns out, it’s almost the only thing about the band on the Web. Google the phrase “Clicker band” and that post is the first thing listed.
Every so often, someone discovers the post and e-mails me or leaves a new comment. Most often, they’re sharing fond memories of seeing Clicker or hearing Clicker and wishing they could hear that music again.
As I’ve answered these e-mails and comments, I’ve promised I’ll write more about Clicker. So we begin.
When Clicker recorded its first album in 1973, it was a five-piece group — bassist Steve Tracy, drummer Jerry “Cubby” Tracy, guitarists Bob Schmidtke and Dick Wiegel and singer Mark Everist. It later became a three-piece group.
I’ve been exchanging e-mails with Wiegel, who in turn has been in touch with the Tracy brothers. All three of them still live in southern Wisconsin — Clicker’s home base — and are delighted that Clicker is so fondly remembered.
These days, Wiegel plays in a group called the Midwesterners. Our friend Bill from Milwaukee caught up with him at a show last spring and brought along some old pictures of Clicker. Wiegel enjoyed their meeting and e-mailed Bill’s photos to Cubby Tracy, who responded:
“This old Clicker stuff is cool. It’s nice to know that we actually touched some people’s lives, and apparently in a ‘good’ kind of way.”
Clicker played all over Wisconsin in the ’70s. I saw them in Wausau. Richard saw them in Marshfield, at the Airway Bar. Dean saw them in Minocqua. Bill saw them in Madison, at the Shuffle Inn and the Stone Hearth. Amy saw them in Waupaca, at the Armory and at the Indian Crossing Casino. Dave says he saw them at Madison West High School.
See? All those e-mails and comments are already helping tell the story. There’s more to come, too.
For now, though, sit back and enjoy again a couple of the tunes from “Clicker.” The five guys wrote all eight tunes, recorded them at American Music in tiny Sauk City and released the album on Hemisphere Records out of Madison. The album is an interesting mix of sounds — a little ’60s rock, a little ’70s folk, a little prog, a little classical — with three instrumentals.
We’ll let Mike pick tonight’s tunes as he shares his Clicker story:
“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. … ‘Castle’ was a classic, but I liked the inspirational ‘Keep on Tryin’’ as well.”
(Sorry about the album art. I can’t fit the album jacket into my scanner.)