When Semi-Twang reunited in 2009 to play the twentieth anniversary of Shank Hall, the premier showcase club in their hometown of Milwaukee, they showed up to help celebrate a venue they’d played on the club’s opening night. Expectations were modest – do a couple of rehearsals, show up, have fun & go home. However, the gig turned out to be an incredible experience for both band and fans and the group decided it was too good to stop.
Rewind to 1988: Semi-Twang thought they’d taken their best shot with Salty Tears, their Warner Brothers debut album. That record generated tons of critical acclaim but little in the way of sales. Soon after its release, other opportunities beckoned and the band members went their separate ways. Friendships survived, but the band was history. For John Sieger, the songwriter and main vocalist, Nashville, TN seemed like a good idea. Dwight Yoakam was one of many artists who found Sieger’s songs and producers like Pete Anderson and Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads) were finding slots for his tunes. Guitarist Mike Hoffmann stayed busy producing other artists and the other fellows in the band – Mike Sieger (bass), Bob Jennings (multi-instrumentalist), Bob Schneider (drums) and Jason Klagstad (guitars) – were soon scooped up by other groups around town.
After the ’09 Shank reunion, the band decided a new recording was in order… the one they should have made first. Unlike their debut, (a major label project with a budget just this side of a NASA launch) the band recorded on the sly, mostly at Hoffmann’s House Studio and Sieger’s Room w/a VU — small, Pro Tools equipped, comfy and cozy. The pace was relaxed with sessions every few weeks for most of 2010. The atmosphere was loose but unwavering in its vision – get in, make the best record you’ve ever made, get out — what’s so hard about that?
In March of 2011, Wages Of Sin, their first album in 23 years, was released to overwhelmingly positive response from critics and fans alike, along with heavy local airplay. Semi-Twang had always harkened back to classic artists like Dylan, The Beatles and The Band. This approach paid off handsomely on Wages, an album that dares you to put a time-stamp on it.
Which brings us to 2013: On March 26th, the band will release their third full-length project, The Why And The What For, a recording that ups the stakes as it traverses through the musical geography of Memphis, Muscle Shoals and New Orleans with passion and conviction. It’s topical and personal with a bit more soul influence — it even includes a few throwbacks to the duckwalk days of Chuck Berry. Oh, and you’ll also be rewarded with one or two of those unclassifiable yet familiar songs you’ve come to expect from Semi-Twang.
Semi-Twang’s The Why And The What For will be available March 26th on CD and digital formats.
Spring and summer tour dates will be announced soon!
The Why And The What For Tracklisting:
1. The Wrong Side of the Tracks
2. 52 Jokers
3. Au Contraire
4. The More She Gets The More She Wants
5. You Love Everybody
6. Contents Under Pressure
7. Love Interest
8. Making Everybody Cry
9. Miss Watson
10. A Handsome Man
11. Dark Out