Dusty Medical and The Get Drunk Celebrate Five Years
“It’s pretty easy to do,” he says.
“Once you get it rolling, the label sort of runs itself. The finances can be
restrictive, though. For us, we pretty much put out one record, then sell
enough copies of it to pay for the next one, and so forth. It’s the record
label equivalent of living paycheck to paycheck.”
Granted, Meyer isn’t the most
business-minded label owner.
“My only litmus test for releasing an
album is if I like it,” says Meyer, whose vinyl-only label specializes in, but
is not limited to, regional bands. “Some of our records might not even be from
serious touring bands. For instance, there’s The Elephant Walk, which is a side
project of a couple people that doesn’t tour or even play out often, but I
wanted to put out their record just because I really like them. I had no
delusions of selling a ton of copies of a record from a band that doesn’t
Similarly, the label doesn’t cater to
one particular sound. Nobody will mistake The Midwest Beat’s carefree jangle
for Call Me Lightning’s fierce, classic-rock-inspired punk, or Sugar Stems’
girlish pop for Drugs Dragons’ confrontational psychedelia. The only thread
tying together these Milwaukee
bands, all of which have full-lengths on Dusty Medical due this summer, is that
Meyer enjoys all of them, and thinks others might, too.
“I think Milwaukee bands are as good or better than
any bands the rest of the country has to offer, but I think they’ve
historically had a bit of an inferiority complex, or maybe they just don’t care
to think about what happens outside the city,” Meyer says. “Either way, there
are a lot of bands that never get heard because they never really put
themselves out there. I’m happy to be able to give them some exposure outside
of the city. We distribute our records all over the world, so there are people
in Italy, Australia and Japan
that know Milwaukee
In addition to running Dusty Medical,
Meyer also makes up half of the similarly taste-motivated promotions team The
Get Drunk with fellow music enthusiast Luke Chappelle. The duo books rock shows
of all stripes, and spins between-set music at each as The Get Drunk DJs.
“It was always our goal to create a
brand you can trust, The Get Drunk, where if you see the name on the flier, you
know you’re going to have a fun time, even if you’re not familiar with the
bands playing,” Meyer says. “We’re really picky about what we book, so The Get
Drunk is like our stamp of approval.”
This weekend, Dusty Medical Records and The Get Drunk celebrate their shared fifth anniversaries with two nights of music at Club Garibaldi, each featuring five Dusty Medical bands or alums. Call Me Lightning, the label’s most high-profile recent signing, closes the Friday bill, while Saturday’s closing spot goes to The Goodnight Loving, the longtime Dusty Medical fixtures who will release their upcoming album on Portland, Ore.’s Dirtnap Records. Both shows begin at 9 p.m. On Sunday, from 4 to 10 p.m., Dusty Medical weekend winds down with Burnhearts’ monthly Hot Dog! Classic Country Spin event, which Meyer co-DJs with Austin Dutmer.