Monday, September 17, 2018

Hometown Tales with Guerilla Ghost

Guerilla Ghost
It's time for a little bit of Midwest prejudice if you don't mind. See, St. Louis and Milwaukee have been battling it out for well over a century as to who's the best at brewing American Pisswater Lagers.

Milwaukee has the beer that made Milwaukee Famous and the Miller family of beers, but here, we've got (had) Anheuser-Busch and their family of terrible, yet eminently drinkable beers.

So, maybe I don't give Milwaukee a whole lot of thought in this world because of that, because really I have no idea why else it would be that way. Unless it's their lack of sports teams that matter to me.

The Admirals, they're just AHL and I can't remember if they're the first Admirals or the second Admirals in the AHl anyway...

Oh wait, good news, Guerilla Ghost is actually from Racine, WI. Being as there's absolutely nothing about that town that I know, let's check that stuff out!

1. St. Louis City is my hometown. I've lived here for most of my life in and around the city. Where are you from?

Chuck and I are both originally from Racine, Wisconsin. Also known as "Belle City" – a nickname made widely known from the depiction of the female softball team in "A League of Their Own."

You know, that movie with Madonna in it. It's got a population of about 90,000 people and is about 30 minutes south of Milwaukee where we both live now. It's an old industry town, part of the Rust Belt.

2.We have three things that don't really exist anywhere else: the slinger, the gooey butter cake, and toasted ravioli. Tell me about your hometown delicacy.

Racine is known for its Danish pastry called "kringle." It's round and big like a pizza, but it's shaped more like a racetrack. There's nothing in the middle. It usually comes glazed, and filled with some sort of fruit or nut filling. My personal favorites are Cherry, Almond and Apple. 

Depending on which side of town you grew up you probably had an allegiance to a particular bakery. For Chuck and I, we grew on the north side of Racine, so it's O&H Bakery ( ). 

Other decent bakeries are Larsen's, Bendtsen's, Lehmann's. Vegans: Larsen's has vegan kringle. If you see something at your local grocery store and it's labeled "Racine Kringle" – that's some bullshit factory-made crap. Do yourself a favor and mail-order some directly from O&H. They'll ship it to you frozen.

3. In St. Louis, though there have been others. Our biggest hometown team is the St. Louis Cardinals (formerly the St. Louis Perfectos, nee: the St. Louis Browns, not the AL team that moved to Baltimore.) There is nowhere you can go to escape it. I'm a hockey fan, not a baseball fan, so it's a bit weird to me. Tell me about your hometown's big team.

Well, we didn't have a big sports team in Racine, but I guess I grew up following the Milwaukee Brewers. I went to a few games as a kid, and eventually as an adult. 

Collected baseball cards for a couple summers – actually, I collected cards when my Dad was in the Air Force and stationed at Scott Air Force Base in St. Louis. I spent a few summers there, and that was something the other kids I hung out were into, so I guess I got into it to. 

It was the 80s.. so we had Rollie Fingers, Cecil Cooper, Robin Yount... you know, the classic lineup.

4. St. Louis isn't really known for any one type of music scene. The biggest acts I can think of to get out of here alive were Gravity Kills, Nelly and the St. Lunatics, and Sheryl Crow. There's always been a vibrant concert scene though. What about where you are?

Hmmm.. bands that come from Milwaukee? I'll name a few... Die Kreuzen, Violent Femmes, The Promise Ring, Citizen King, 7 Angels 7 Plagues, Misery Signals, Direct Hit, Since by Man, The Frogs... 

I actually help curate a website called that has grown to include bands from all of Wisconsin. Check it out... not a lot of big names, but it's a good representation of the bands in the area.

5. 20 years ago, St. Louis had about 300 murders each year, floods, and all sorts of other fun things. You might have heard about us being named the Murder Capital of the USA. Nowadays, a lot here is 150. But there are lots of parts of the city that are returning to former glory. On the whole, St. Louis is a better place to live today than before. Is there any thing like that where you're from?

Milwaukee is widely known as one of the, if not THE, most segregated cities in the United States. We have a lot of violence perpetrated against people of color by the police. Look up the name "Sylville Smith". That happened about two years ago now.

6. Are you still there?

Well.. Chuck and I both moved to Milwaukee in the past 10 years or so. Racine will always be our hometown, but Milwaukee has more of an art and music scene.

There's a lot more opportunity to collaborate with other musicians, many more venues and a great radio station WMSE 91.7FM that is hugely supportive of local music.

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