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Milwaukee’s CircleSwitch Plays Benefit For Cancer Clinic

Heartland Hard Rock

Nov. 13, 2013
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When guitarist Danny Rodic founded CircleSwitch in 2007, he was as determined to find the right people to work with as he was to put his own spin on the hard rock that had shaped his musicianship. “We auditioned over one hundred vocalists before finding Kenny [James],” he says. Rodic explains: “We were looking for somebody with a unique voice, but at the same time, someone who was down to Earth—willing to work with both feet planted firmly on the ground.”

CircleSwitch might look to the Seattle of the early ’90s, to Soundgarden and to Alice in Chains for inspiration, but they are also grounded in a Midwest work ethic, an ethos of unpretentiousness. The evidence is audible on the band’s two albums, Hard Rock Certified (2009) and Ritual (2013), released on Rodic’s Buckingham Records and recorded in his basement studio. Call it post-grunge, post-thrash, decidedly non-glam rock. Ritual sends doomy, catchy vocal melodies over heavy head-banging riffs and stone-grinding rhythms.

CircleSwitch has undergone several personnel changes since Rodic formed the group with bassist Jason Wolff. After Wolff’s departure, Johnny RockIt Whalen filled the bass role. Eddie Gunz has drummed for the band since 2012.

After several years of playing local bars, CircleSwitch passed a milestone toward career progress this year at Summerfest, opening for Drowning Pool. “It was a huge opportunity,” Rodic says, “performing before 5,000 people at the world’s largest music festival.” Since then, the band’s range has expanded to a Midwest circuit beyond metro Milwaukee. “We don’t do three-week straight touring, but destination touring,” Rodic explains. “Two or three shows on a long weekend,” fitting the band’s schedule around family and day jobs.

Having access to a home studio is a godsend. “I can go into it at 3 a.m. if I wake up with an idea, send it to everyone via the worldwide web and by next rehearsal, we’re ready to work on it,” Rodic says. Their CDs have the fuller sound, the breadth, of well-engineered studio albums rather than the sometimes-thin sonics of bedroom-laptop indie recordings.

“Benefits are important for us,” Rodic insists, speaking of last year’s Guitars for Veterans show and the upcoming KISS Cancer Goodbye event. CircleSwitch joins Dr. Love and Gabriel V2 at Rooters Nightclub (901 Northview Road, Waukesha) in a benefit for the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Cancer Research Clinic. The show starts at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16.


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