Bobby Hussy on his New Label and the Madison Music Scene

Bobby Hussy, the outspoken guitarist for Madison’s premier garage/punk duo The Hussy, is as enthusiastic about his new label Kind Turkey Records, as he is telling road stories about his DIY adventures across the country. Living in San Francisco right now, Bobby will be returning to the Midwest for a string of dates with the Hussy including a stop at Mickey's Tavern in Madison on February 24th.

Also on the bill will be The Honey Slides, Milwaukee’s Trent Fox and the Tenants and the Orange Iguanas from Appleton. We caught up with Bobby to ask him a few questions about his new label, the Madison music scene and the possibility that he may return to Wisconsin.


What’s the story behind the formation of Kind Turkey Records?

I started Kind Turkey in 2009 with my friend Robert who lives up by Minneapolis but still in Wisconsin. We've been friends since we met in some classes at UW Madison and we put "Kind Turkey" into existence on January 1st 2010 with our web site. The label started working right away but I wanted to make sure I secured the right bands (Black Mamba Beat, Wake Up Dead and Wheels On Fire) for the first few releases, so we didn't put anything out until the last half of the year. The first half we spent working on our blog Kind Turkey which does reviews, show hypes, lists...etc.

With the popularity of digital downloads, why the tape and vinyl route for the label?

Well, we do offer downloads of all the purchases on ITunes and other music outlets, and currently if you bought the record from the label you got a download. We're working on better use of the digital media via download cards for the next couple of releases. I really like the tape format because almost everyone has or can find an affordable player. And I like that releases are cheap. I also like the format because of the sound the tape generates. Same with vinyl. It just sounds better. And I figure it's hard enough to get kids to buy CDs, so I wanna give em some real product that is a piece of labor. Plus colored vinyl is just plain cool, so we do a limited run of those for the bigger fans and people generally like that.

The Hussy has a new LP coming out this Spring on a Chicago label. How do you compare it to your previous work?

The Hussy's LP is way more musically expansive than our first 7"s - a lot more overdubs, vocal work and just a lot more time went into recording it and writing the songs. I think we've grown as a band and as songwriters during the time together as well. Heather (Hussy’s drummer) has really got some killers on this record! We used more instruments and incorporated sound collages taken from late-night Mickeys shows and phone conversations/messages on our friend Matt from the Midwest Beat's answering machine. In the past, when we recorded in a studio for 8 hours and knocked out 9 songs, then mixed em in an extra 2 hours the next day after our ears got some rest. This time there was no studio, and I did the recording. Mainly for the sake of having extra time and just to try to do things our way for once. Most of it was tracked in a basement of a house we practiced at on Willy Street onto a 16 track.

We had really close friends at the house for a while and they let us jam there before we were the Hussy, and then those people all moved out, but the next tenants were really cool and let us stay and practice in the basement for a full 2 years without rent. Great dudes! They even cut us a key. We recorded all the drums (except for 2 tracks) at that house and that's why it's called Cement Tomb Mind Control - I called the house the Cement Tomb, and we wanted to incorporate a Wisconsin band, the Catholic Boys' LP of the title Psychic Voodoo Mind Control. I also did a lot of guitar work and vocals at my apartment. Overall we spent 4 months recording and mixing it. Todd Ostertag, a longtime friend and longtime Madison music expert, helped us mix the record. He's helped us since before we were the Hussy and he's just an all around good guy and friend. Then Justin Perkins mastered it and that was all done about a year ago now. We've just been waiting on the label and personal things to work out for the release to be the best it can be.

What’s in store for indie music lovers at Mickey's Tavern on the 24th?

Mickeys is gonna be a total blast! It's FREE people! And it's on THURSDAY! That's worth mentioning. To Heather and me there is no comparison to playing a show/seeing a show at Mickeys. Liz is excellent, the whole staff is nice, people love to support the bar, and it just feels right that we would be playing on the floor to these people who just wanna have a good time. People dance, people sing, and people drink. It's fun. Plus the show's there are free, and that's just awesome.

As for what's in store. First of all, Trent Fox is what's happening! Those guys rule, and I'm putting out their debut 7" EP at the show. It's got 5 tracks and it's just great stuff. The first 100 copies of the vinyl are in a nice Green n Gold Packer's scheme (yellow vinyl with a green label). I'm also putting out a 7" by Two Tears that night that's pretty rocking (3 garage cuts from Kerry Davis' solo project. Ex-Red Aunts). And we'll have some copies of the Wheels on Fire 7" we put out last year as well. The Hussy will be playing cuts from the upcoming LP and some old stuff. The Honey Slides do the pysch garage rustic thing perfectly. One of my favorite bands. And a new band from Appleton, called the Orange Iguanas are gonna be playing. They're a great young band too. Oh and I should mention the show is a birthday party for Heather (from The Hussy) and Logan (from The Midwest Beat). We're doing a 4 show, 3 day weekend with Trent Fox and the Tenants. It's gonna be fun, we're hitting Madison, Milwaukee, Appleton, and Green Bay!

You’re currently living in San Francisco. Any plans to move back to Madison?

Yeah I'm probably going to be moving back to Madison at some point here. It's my home. I feel at place there, and Heather's there and a whole gang of people that mean a lot to me are there. My family lives close to there as well. There's something I love about Madison and Milwaukee and just the Midwest in general that I miss being out here in California. But what can I say? It's like 65 out right now and Sunny. Not a touch of snow anywhere. So I can't complain. At least I got one winter off.

As someone who has been involved in the Madison music scene, how do you compare it to other cities?

I think Madison is really a unique city that kind of has a certain cycle to it. I think most outsiders see it as a Jam or shitty Metal oriented scene, and that for certain rains true part of the time. But there are, and most definitely have been some pretty unique bands in town. But what sucks is that a lot of the time you start to love a band they either move on to a different city or break up. I just wish that more young touring bands would come through, and I'd also love it if more green music fans would come out to those touring shows. Sometimes the tiny shows are the most fun. When we tour it's like such a relief to play a house show where it gets really wild, but Madison shows usually work out well if you don't overplay in town, and if the bill is strong. But really as a whole right now I would say I think Madison is as strong as I've ever seen it in the past 6 years. Milwaukee is a great scene, especially the basement shows, and it's got some really great bands. Plus touring bands stop there. Minneapolis is really fun too.

But really Heather and I's favorite place we've played so far has been Nashville. It was a Wednesday night and there were a ton of kids at the show, and they watched every band and they didn't leave to have cigs during bands, and that was just rad to see an 18+ show working so well. Maybe I saw a good night, but it was pretty great. But yeah a lot of times people talk crap about Madison because they played one show there like 5 years ago with bands that had no draw, and yeah that sucks, I mean let's be honest here, Madison isn't a city that can really function on the same level as a city the size of Milwaukee. People just can't always go to every show, and weeknight shows are especially notorious. So really I learned a long time ago to just space shows out and play with bands you love and bands that have helped you and just be kind to all the bands you play with, because typically the kindness is returned, and that's really what draws me to punk/garage/DIY music. People care, and people care to help. What more can you want?

The Hussy - Sexi Ladi

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Trent Fox and the Tenants - Mess Around

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