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Monday, October 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 51.0° F  Overcast

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Morning stars

Israel and Iran have just declared war on each other, the Russians have landed on Mars and removed all our flags, and a Middleton man refuses to eat omelets not made with free-range eggs! Those headlines after this look at the weather. >More
 American Idol and beyond

To invite a girl who's beautiful and charming, and who's been on American Idol -- twice! -- and who's regarded in many quarters as Madison's brightest musical hope, you might imagine the boys would have been lined up all the way to Monona Drive. But she wasn't a party person like the popular kids, because "parties put you in a position to get in trouble, and trouble's not something I want to be in." >More
 John Masino: Hometown hero

Masino began playing both guitar and drums after his elder brother and dad taught him the lead guitar part to the Ventures' version of "Theme From Peter Gunn." Within a year, he and three chums were entertaining their Badger School classmates, John playing drums covered with blue fur on the Monkees and Tommy James favorites, his brother's big (to a small-for-his-age 10-year-old) white Gibson SG on the originals. >More
 Blake Thomas wants your liver

Over the course of their weekly two sets each at Mickey's Tavern, Robby Schiller and Blake Thomas had, as was their wont, kept their whistles very wet -- so wet, in fact, that they wound up not at the house on Ingersoll Street they share with other musicians and dumpster-divers and dogs and girlfriends and folksingers, but at B.B. Clarke Beach on the shore of Lake Monona, on whose frozen surface they decided to cavort. >More
 Gomeroke: So you want to be a rock star

It's on Tuesday nights, on stage at the High Noon Saloon, that Richard Marsh becomes the truest, most exalted version of himself. He ceases to be Richard Marsh, janitor at Meriter Hospital, and, to the accompaniment of a living, breathing backing band, is transformed into Swampy D, churning urn of burning funk, rock star nonpareil. >More
 Blueheels: Rock 'n' roll eccentrics

When they gave their 5-year-old son Robby a Smurf drum set, Neenah's Mark and Cindy Schiller could little have suspected that two decades later he would be the King of Pop - or at least the songwriter, singer and de facto leader of Madison's best original rock 'n' roll band, Blueheels. >More
 Madison Metal

His choice of instrument hardly made sense, especially given his dad's history as a guitarist in cover bands, and nearly a decade and a half hence Brian Koenig remains unable to explicate exactly what inspired him as a fifth- grader to study the oboe, of all instruments. But choose it he did, and how his classmates down in the self-styled Swiss cheese capital of the USA teased him for it. >More
 How we sound

Judging from the bands I've seen so far, the local music scene doesn't have much sex appeal. But Madison is hardly unique in that regard. From Perth to Glasgow, young pop musicians who wouldn't think twice about eating musicians' spaghetti to afford an amplifier that will make them sound about a tenth of an iota better wouldn't dream of spending a few bucks on something snazzy to wear on stage. >More
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