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Fire On Your Sleeve is Milwaukee's modern blues band
By Mike Sandler
Published July 4, 2006 at 5:04 a.m.
Tags: fire on your sleeve,
Injecting the blues of the deep South with a modern sheen, Milwaukee's Fire On Your Sleeve could be in for some national attention.
"We were offered an A&R deal about a year ago," says vocalist Ryan Matzen. "But that's when we lost our guitar player. I wish we would have signed that deal, but we didn't know what the hell was going on. We tried some guitarists out, but everything was in limbo."
Fear not. The band has recently enlisted the services of six-stringer Misha Siegfried and plans to continue the journey.
The band has already accepted an invitation to the MidPoint Music Festival in Cincinnati, and will inundate the Queen City with its gritty sound on Sept. 21.
"I've been a hired gun for the last couple of years," says Siegfried. "And it's weird to be in a band where I actually hang out with the guys."
A veteran of blues bands in Milwaukee and St. Paul, Siegfried seems content as a contributing member of Fire On Your Sleeve. "Most blues guys are in their 40s and 50s. I think Bill (Kern, drums) and I are definitely going to have to glue some hotel furniture on ceilings when we go on the road."
Before terrorizing Holiday Inns, the band is focusing on a plethora of shows in Milwaukee. "We've got about nine shows in the next month," says Kern. "So we'll know more about where we're headed soon. But right now, it looks like it's on the up and up."
A listen to the band's newly recorded EP provides clear documentation of what Fire On Your Sleeve is capable of. On "Chemicals," Matzen is at the forefront, grabbing the listener's attention with his nicotine-scarred vocals. Matzen's gruff voice fits perfectly with the guitar work of Siegfried, who provides excellent color to the track. Siegfried's understated guitar lines are not a display of pyrotechnics, because they do not have to be. Siegfried is a "lunch pail" player: nothing too fancy, but plays all the right notes.
"I'm all about the nuance," Siegfried says.
Matzen lets it fly on "Coast to Coast." As the song builds, so do Matzen's vocals. Towards the end, Matzen's wail splinters the song in two, allowing Siegfried to freelance a bit with an impressive, yet straightforward, solo. The band's rhythm section is also worthy of praise. Bassist Sam Silver paces the low end and provides back up vocals, and Kern (ex-Across the Rubicon) lays the foundation for all of the antics.
Fire On Your Sleeve plays "Anti-Fest" July 5 at Point's East Pub, with Low Lustre, Ryan Blue and Flame Shark. Show time is 10 p.m.
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