Brick Through the Window: An Oral History of Punk Rock, New Wave & Noise in Milwaukee, 1964-1984 chronicles a small number of people who made history in a setting that produced internationally recognized bands such as the Violent Femmes, Die Kreuzen, Plasticland, and Oil Tasters. Original interviews with such visionaries as the late Mark Shurilla and Richard LaValliere tell stories of imagination, creativity, resourcefulness, and sacrifice.
Nothing came easily for Milwaukee punks. The police were oppressive, city government was reactionary, the established media scoffed, and mainstream rock fans were hostile. An industrial city sinking into the Rust Belt, Milwaukee had a deserved reputation for thrift and hard work, as well as a lingering socialist heritage. Milwaukee’s punks were able to build a scene on a shoestring; their work ethic lent itself to punk rock’s do-it-yourself ethos, and the scene was imbued with a sense of common purpose echoing the city’s history as a bastion of progress.
Compiled from hundreds of hours of interviews, Brick Through the Window brings vividly to life a short-lived period of creativity and excitement in a heartland American town that was home to a musical subculture more prolific and diverse than that of many larger cities.
About the Authors: Steve Nodine is a web developer and author of The Cease Is Increase: An Oral History of the Milwaukee Punk & Alternative Music Scene, interviews from which provide the foundation for this book. Steve has written for ShepherdExpress, OnMilwaukee.com, and was the lead singer for the Milwaukee-based bands Dark Façade, Between Walls, and Newly Damaged.
Eric Beaumont is a musician, DJ, paralegal, and writer living in Milwaukee. His literary criticism has appeared in the African American Review, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and ShepherdExpress. As Eric Blowtorch, he has written, performed, and arranged five albums, seven singles, and numerous songs on compilations and soundtracks. His published interviews include those with Brian Wilson, Elvis Costello, KRS-ONE, and George McGovern.
Clancy Carroll is a musician, record label owner, and music writer based in Milwaukee. His past bands include Ozone, the Ones, and the Clancy Carroll Band. As King and CEO of Splunge Communications, Inc., he has released records by the likes of the Prosecutors, Triple Forbidden Taboo, and the Leather Phaorohs, as well as the double-CD compilation History in 3 Chords: Milwaukee Alternative Bands 1973-1982.
David Luhrssen has lectured at UWM and MIAD. He is author of Mamoulian: Life on Stage and Screen and Hammer of the Gods: Thule Society and the Birth of Nazism. He is co-author of numerous works, including Searching for Rock and Roll. Currently the Arts & Entertainment Editor of Milwaukee’s weekly ShepherdExpress, he is also a commentator on film for WUWM.