Discovering What Made Milwaukee Famous

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Austin-based band What Made Milwaukee Famous (no, they are not from Milwaukee or even from Wisconsin) is all set to play the WMUR Spring Concert tonight with Wisconsin indie-folk artist Nathan Mathes and Milwaukee garage-rock band The Living Statues.

What Made Milwaukee Famous actually hails from Austin, TX. Photo via What Made Milwaukee Famous.

What Made Milwaukee Famous was founded in 2003 when vocalist/guitarist Michael Kingcaid placed an ad in the alt-weekly Austin Chronicle looking to form a new band. Through the ad, Kingcaid met bassist John Farmer, and the band took off from there.

“We didn’t know each other before, but we got together and wrote songs pretty fast,” Kingcaid said.

Since its inception, the band has released two records, “Trying to Never Catch Up” and “What Doesn’t Kill Us,” and is nearing completion of a third, titled “You Can’t Fall off the Floor.” Current members Jeff Botta (drums), Kelly Doyle (guitar) and Evan Jacobs (pianos) joined founding members Kingcaid and Farmer to create a clever blend of musical backgrounds and talent. The five-piece outfit weaves in and out of various rock ‘n’ roll sub-genres but is consistently catchy.

“We definitely have some stuff that’s just sort of a mixing pot of sounds,” Kingcaid said.

According to the band, “You Can’t Fall off the Floor” has been written and recorded; all it needs are some finishing touches and funding to get the album released. What Made Milwaukee Famous created a Kickstarter this morning in order to raise money to back a video for the album’s first single, “Gone and Done it Now,” and to master and manufacture CDs and vinyls of the new album.

“You Can’t Fall off the Floor” explores darker themes than the band’s previous records, as much of the album has been a way for Kingcaid to cope with a broken relationship.

“It’s got some heavy stuff on there,” Kingcaid said.

What Made Milwaukee Famous has played at some of the nation’s largest festivals, including Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits Festival, SXSW and Bonnaroo, and has also shared the stage with The Smashing Pumpkins, The Black Keys, Arcade Fire, The National and many others.

As for its name, the group was inspired by the Jerry Lee Lewis song, “What Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me).” It is only appropriate the band would play in Brew City before the start of its next tour.

Doors open tonight at 7 p.m., and the music starts at 8 p.m. The show is free and open to the public for those 18 years or older.

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