ARTIST SPOTLIGHTS: The Mighty Deerlick, Lack of Reason, Floor Model

Falcon Bowl in Riverwest hosted bands The Mighty Deerlick, Lack of Reason and Floor Model on Saturday night for a fun, powerhouse exhibition of rock and roll.

The Mighty Deerlick consists of vocalist Dave Reinholdt, guitarists Bob Eickhoff and Dan Franke, bassist Jack Rice and drummer John Wythes. The punk rock band formed in the late 80’s and had their first Milwaukee show at Quarters Rock ‘n Roll Palace in the spring of ’89. “Back then the stage was the platform that’s right by the front window,” Reinholdt recalls. “I live a block away from Quarters now and I’ll be walking my dog past it, thinking back at that moment when I was five feet from where I am now (laughs).”

Reinholdt and Franke had been in a band together in La Crosse in the 80’s where they opened for popular acts like Husker Du and The Replacements. Once they moved to Milwaukee, Reinholdt and Franke met several like-minded musicians and formed The Mighty Deerlick; the band’s name came from a TV ad that Reinholdt and original bass player Mike McCarron heard while up in Door County. “It’s easier to start a band once you’ve got songs,” Reinholdt contends. “I always say that when Dan and I started this band, if we were better at our instruments then we probably would have written songs that were more of the time but would sound dated now. But when you just write three or four-chord garage songs, they’re timeless (laughs). Like, people don’t hear us and think that we sound super “80’s”.”

Their sole recorded effort has been an EP titled “Stag Nation” released on 7″ in 1990. It was recently put up on Bandcamp under 3000 Hits Record Collective where albums from similar projects of that era can also be found. “I didn’t have a copy of our EP until like five years ago,” Reinholdt laughs. “I bought a copy on Discogs from someone in Denmark.”

That said, The Mighty Deerlick have been working on their debut studio album for a few years now. They plan to release it on vinyl through Good Land Records and have it mastered by Justin Perkins of Mystery Room Mastering hopefully in the near future. “Dan’s going to finish the final mix in the next couple months, and then after it’s mastered it’ll just be a matter of getting it pressed,” Reinholdt concludes.

The Mighty Deerlick play Strummerfest at Club Garibaldi’s on August 19th.

Lack of Reason is Pat O’Neill on guitar and vocals, Mark E. Lee on bass and vocals, and Scottie K on drums and vocals. The garage-punk band formed in the early 2010’s although Scottie K joined in place of their original drummer around 2016. On Lack of Reason’s origins, Lee recalls, “All three of us played in different in bands in the 2000’s and that’s how we all first met each other. Scottie had actually joined my band Chopped Up Tornadoes so we’d played together previously to this. When that band had dissolved, me and Pat talked about starting up a new band.”

Their name came from a list of about fifteen considered names. “We started out as Identity Zero,” O’Neill explains. “We did a gig at Quarters, and then the next day I went to post something and found out that there were like three Identity Zero’s already (laughs). Lack of Reason was our second choice.”

The band’s debut full-length album “You Can’t Fix This” was released in June 2022, which came out on vinyl earlier this year on Record Store Day. O’Neill shares Lack of Reason’s approach with this record, “Compared to our debut EP “Haven’t Got A Clue” which was mostly what we’d done up until that point, “You Can’t Fix This” is who we are now. Everybody in this band is part of the songwriting process for every single song, and this record in my opinion is the real Lack of Reason sound.”

O’Neill and Lee both write lyrics in Lack of Reason. “Some of what we write has a deeper meaning and some of it’s more on the surface,” Lee said. “Sometimes we leave songs purposely vague so that you can make your own meaning for it.”

“There’s definitely social commentary on some things,” O’Neill adds. “We usually don’t get too political but on the same token it’s kind of hard not to show who we are. We also write a lot about relationships gone bad…lots of experience there (laughs).”

Lack of Reason played three new songs on Saturday. Their next project will be a split EP with Certain Stars, whom they consider their “stepbrother” band. They play the Pirate Party in Janesville on September 16th.

Floor Model features vocalist/rhythm guitarist Jeff Callesen, lead guitarist/vocalist Mark Diliberti, bassist Tim Rorabeck and drummer Dave Somerscales. Formed in 1999, their brand of punk rock marries humorous themes with social commentary while the band’s name refers to the analog, rough-around-the-edges aesthetic with which they identify.

Callesen shares how Floor Model formed, “Back in ’89 I was going to UWM and I had a friend who knew Dave through the math department there. He kept telling me that I needed to get together with Dave and play music, and eventually we met up one night to have a beer and see a band at Stork Club – which is now Nessum Dorma. At some point I said to him “hey, wanna go rock?” so we went back to Dave’s attic and kicked out the jams (laughs). He and I are both self-taught; we don’t write shit down – we just play whatever sounds good.”

He continues about the band’s lineup, “Our original bass player Andy played with us for four or five years; he had a degenerative back so he had to sit for the first couple years but the punk rock really revived him – after a while he was standing up and throwing it down. He left, and then our current bass player Tim joined until he went out east for chef school, then Mark from Lack of Reason played with us for about five or six years. We recorded an album with Paul Setser and then Mark left once Tim came back. Tim’s neighbor (also named Mark) became our guitar player about four years ago. Once we became a four-piece it was way cooler because I’d hear these different parts in my head when were still playing as a three-piece, and when Mark joined, he gave us exactly that extra something we needed.”

Diliberti has since assumed the role of lead guitar in Floor Model, plus he’s written lyrics for a number of songs too. “I’m all rhythm and am no lead guitar player so it was nice to have someone who really knew how to play guitar,” Callesen laughs. “The “Danzig Was My Babysitter” tune is Mark’s, plus he’s got a few new ones we played tonight that are going on the next record.”

Floor Model’s sophomore full-length album “Slightly Damaged” was recorded right before COVID hit and came out in July 2020. A core theme of the record is modern society’s hyper-reliance on technology; Callesen elaborates, “As a kid I was buying 45″s at Kmart and writing down the lyrics and singing along to them, listening to the whole record and not just one song…a lot of people have really gotten away from that but I’m definitely still that way. I’d think of a title for a song while driving to work and I’d write it down in a notebook in my car, and then I’d take those titles and just start playing licks until the songs came into being. I like writing songs that make people think but I also like to make people laugh.”

According to Callesen, the band wrote enough songs while working on “Slightly Damaged” to record a whole second album. Floor Model plan to work with Jeff Hamilton at Hamtone Audio again for their next one, which they are taking this fall to record. “He really gets us,” Callesen said about Hamilton. “What he’ll do is record the track a couple times, and then he’ll take the best parts of each and piece the song together from those different takes, which is a really cool way to do it.”

Floor Model are also playing the upcoming Setser Fest at Circle A to honor the late Paul Setser, a longtime beloved figure in the Milwaukee music community. “He was the guy who got us our first gig at Quarters,” Callesen recalls about Setser. “We came to see a band there that didn’t show up, and we were sitting at the bar while it’s dead and we asked Paul if we could get up there and play instead. He told us “yeah, go get your stuff” so we came back in fifteen minutes and played like four songs. Then we played there all the time until we followed Paul to Circle A, where we’ve also played a bunch of times. He was the man.”

Callesen is excited about live music returning to Falcon Bowl and what the future will hold. “We actually threw our ten-year anniversary show here in 2009,” Callesen mentions. “We’ll be having our 25-year anniversary show next year.”

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