Graham Kilmer
Band of the Week

The Old Prospectors, the Newest Band?

Just two months ago the psych-funk rock band arose from the ashes of Blind Tarzan.

By - Dec 7th, 2015 05:05 pm
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The Old Prospectors. Photo courtesy of the band.

The Old Prospectors. Photo courtesy of the band.

One of Milwaukee’s newest bands isn’t actually all that new. Dan Dahl and Bob Daly, formerly of Blind Tarzan, have joined Frank Bufe of Heavy Critters. The result is the band, The Old Prospectors, formed about two months ago. Dahl and Daly are playing to their Blind Tarzan roots for the sound of their new band, as they are continuing the psych-funk rock style that found them their previous success. The band played their debut show December 5, at Mad Planet.

Urban Milwaukee caught up with drummer Dan Dahl to hear about the budding band.

Why did you guys stop playing as Blind Tarzan?

Well, we were gaining some momentum this summer after recording an EP and being able to play the Rebel Stage at Summerfest. We had a few big shows in the books to look forward to, then one day our buddy and guitarist for Bind Tarzan, Srijan Sen, who is originally from India on a student visa and graduated from UWM, was told that he basically “had to be on a plane right now” after he graduated, which definitely sucked for him and took us off guard. This was back in late August, so this new project is extremely fresh. Basically, Blind Tarzan was broken up by the US government, because they knew we were becoming too strong. We had a big show on my birthday at the beginning of September that I thought we were going to have to cancel, but the stars aligned, Blind Tarzan merged with Sean Hickey and Frank Bufe from Heavy Critters, Sam Balistreri from NeoCaveman came through and jammed with us on lead guitar, and Al Kraemer from Calliope was cool enough to belt out some covers with us. A last-minute scramble for a fill-in turned into an epic six-piece band and one of my favorite memories from playing live, and ultimately started this whole new awesome band that I get to talk about too. Pretty cool.

What are some of your inspirations?

Personally, Danny Carey from Tool and Tim Alexander from Primus have been my main musical influences for the past decade. Their dynamic usage of polyrhythms and energy with their grooves is unmatched. The way they sonically paint time had gotten me into picking apart the intricacies of music as a whole. They were the only only two bands that made me stop and say, “Wow, These are actually human beings making these sounds” They made me want to recreate some of those moments myself with my own project, and pushed me towards having fun behind a bigger kit with a lot of sound sources. Frank is really into Phish, Rush, Frank Zappa, a lot of classic rock and jam stuff and it really comes out in his playing whether it’s on guitar or on the keyboards. He’s fantastic at letting melodies flow out and is a super optimistic, motivated guy, which is key in making a band work. Bob has taken us into a funky direction. He is all about the groove and ambience, being really into Herbie Hancock and Amon Tobin and getting us all into stuff like The Budos Band. Lately he’s been pursuing funk-jazz heavily and extensively learning everything there is to know about the bass, through school and even taking direct lessons every now and then from Matt Turner of De La Buena and The Erotic Adventures of the Static Chicken. We’re all huge Static Chicken fans, and are trying to implement just a little bit of what they can do into this band.

Where did your name come from?

A slightly inebriated brainstorming session slowly transformed into an inebriated YouTube video binge, looking for crazy old slang terms from the 1800’s that would be funny or fitting for a name. Then all of a sudden we put on the classic SNL skit. Once we stopped laughing and realized The Old Prospectors wasn’t claimed, that was it.

How old are you?

I’m 29, still hanging onto my twenties for dear life. Bob’s 25, Frank is 24. The band is just over two months old.

How would you describe your music?

Some original, progressive funk-rock with room for improvisation.

Are there any local artists you really like?

There are so many. The Milwaukee scene is consistently growing and there are more people in more projects than you even realize. I know some people in 5 bands. There is really a fruitful scene here and it’s great to be a part of it. Like I said before, we love The Erotic Adventures of the Static Chicken. Consistently incredible. Antler House helped us get our foot in the door, those guys are great. Much love for what Shickey and heavycritters are doing, too. Behind The Weekend and Mark Adams and NeoCaveman kick a lot of ass… The Rashida Joneses and the Filter Free Rodeo guys always throw a great party… Then you have bands like The Young Revelators, Conundrum, Calliope, Bo Triplex, Soul Low, De La Buena, R.A.S. Movement, just to name a few, keeping Milwaukee one of the best live music cities on the globe. We have a great music scene. It’s not just Summerfest. Support live music!

Where do you most often play in Milwaukee?

Bremen Cafe is always such a fun vibe and is generally the main watering hole where we gather and plug in. We had our first and last shows with Blind Tarzan there, and everybody there knows how to treat the bands. I’ve seen some of the best shows go down in that back room. I’ll probably get permanent hearing loss from the past few insane years, but we’ve collectively had some of the best times in that little dive. The Old Prospectors are making their Bremen debut on Dec 19th for the pre-Christmas shenanigans!

Favorite place to play?

Other than Bremen, I have to say I loved playing at Cactus Club. Summerfest was also pretty cool. The Miramar was a great time too. Such good music coming through there lately. I’m sure Mad Planet is going to make this list too!

Is there an Album/EP coming out soon?

We will hopefully have something legitimate by springtime, right now we’re just getting a solid set together and gathering enough original material and artwork to keep this process going. Some proper T-shirt designs are on their way soon.

What are your plans for the future?

Just to keep playing live, as long as we can. Ideally a tour would be amazing. Doesn’t every band hope for that? We’ll see what happens once summer rolls back around. In the mean time, we’ll be getting funky in Milwaukee.

Cascio Interstate Music is proud to sponsor Urban Milwaukee’s Band of the Week column. Running in tandem with their own Band of the Month program, supporting local music is key to CIM’s mission.

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