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Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010

Milwaukee’s Burning Sons Revive a Legendary Punk Label

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Though 80-something owner Doug Moody considers the release of the Burning Sons’ debut 7-inch a “one-off, fun” project, being on Moody’s famed California label Mystic resonates strongly for the new Milwaukee hardcore punk band, which was inspired by the label’s early singles.

“We’re going to be on the same label as some of the bands that influenced us—Battalion of Saints… All these early-’80s California bands,” Burning Sons drummer Dan DuChaine says of the label that recorded and put out records by more than 400 bands.

“[Bands like] RKL and NOFX, Dr. Know, Social Distortion,” offers vocalist Dillon Hallen on Burning Sons’ die-hard influences.

Recorded in Milwaukee with Shane Hochstetler, Burning Sons’ debut release pays tribute to their label heroes, yet maintains a solid sense of Milwaukee hardcore punk.

“There were bands from the Midwest [on Mystic],” DuChaine explains. “An old band from Milwaukee, Sacred Order, had released a record on there and there was a band from Green Bay, Withdraw, with Jim Baker, I believe; they were on Mystic at one time. They had bands as far away as England and Germany on there too, but predominantly it was Southern California.”

So how did Burning Sons grab a foothold in the very label that inspired them? DuChaine made the connection through Rush-Mor Records, the store he runs.

“We dealt with Mystic Records, which essentially ended in 1990, but a manufacturer and distributor still keeps the vital material in print,” DuChaine explains. “We’ve been buying from them for years and I befriended the owner [of the distributor]. We were just talking and he mentioned how funny to him it was how much of the Mystic stuff we stocked and sold. I was like, ‘Well, doesn’t everyone?’ He couldn’t believe how much we did, with the Midwest kind of being landlocked; it was more of a West Coast kind of thing. By coincidence, the owner of Mystic, Doug Moody, who’s 83 or so, was there just hanging out and the guy gave him the phone and said, ‘There’s someone you need to talk to.’”

Moody said he was impressed by DuChaine’s knowledge of the label’s 7-inch singles, so DuChaine joked, “You should do one for my new band.” Moody took the idea seriously, requesting that DuChaine send him a recording.

“We were rehearsing that week, so we recorded a rehearsal, sent it to him and didn’t hear anything back for nearly two months,” DuChaine says. “We get a phone call from him and turns out he was ill and was in the hospital not doing well; he’s resilient, so he got back and was doing great. He was going through all this mail and he found this package from us. He listened to it and liked it a lot. He said, ‘Why don’t we do the 7-inch? It’ll be a one-off. I haven’t done anything in 20 years; it’ll be fun.’”

For Burning Sons, the 7-inch is only a taste of the music to come. The band—which includes Carl Steinhagen on guitar and Matt Budda on bass—has already played a generous 19 shows in just six months, and the songs are coming quickly.

“Our strategy was to do a series of 7-inches, but with our current lineup, the way the band is coming together, it’s prolific,” DuChaine says. “We already have a lot of material.”

A 7-inch, Hallen adds, is “like a teaser—once you hear it, you like it and you just want more and more.”

Burning Sons release their 7-inch Masquerade at the Monkey Bar (1619 S. First St.) on Friday, Aug. 6, at 9 p.m. Also playing: Drugs Dragons, Reckless Reasons and Wing Attack.

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