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Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009

The Delta Routine

Rock ’n’ roll basics, rock-star excesses

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In May The Delta Routine confronted a pressing dilemma that would completely change the face of this raw, Milwaukee rock group. A car accident that injured the band's bassist left the group a week to find a replacement before its show at RiverSplash. With just three days until the gig, Evan Paydon stepped up, quickly learning three hours of set-material and eventually becoming a permanent member of the trio.

"I didn't think he could do it," recalls lead singer and guitarist Nick Amadeus. "But he pulled it off… kind of."

Paydon, who was somewhat familiar with the band through open mics, learned what he could in the short time span, trying to limit his mistakes and stay in key, but miscues were easy to spot with only a few instruments.

"We're only a three-piece, so we have to fill up a lot of space," Paydon says. "The bass has to meld the rhythmic and melodic worlds together."

Amadeus saw Paydon's entry into the band as bittersweet. He and the previous bassist were longtime friends, Amadeus says, but Paydon excelled and challenged the group to strive to new heights.

The Delta Routine conjures the sound of old punk bands like The Stooges and New York Dolls in an attempt to return to the basics of rock 'n' roll. The band members act like rockers from the '70s as well, with a lifestyle that involves only three things: music, women and beer.

Amadeus admits that, with the proper motivation, the group's 2008 album, Donna, could have been finished in two weeks, but they take pride in their rock-star partying, so the group spent seven intoxicated months on Donna, pulling back the bottle instead of recording in the studio.

"I challenge any five-piece band to out-drink our three-piece band," says drummer Kyle Ciske, who also works as a brewologist at Silver Creek Brewing Co. in Cedarburg. "At least in beer."

At the end of the afternoon interview with The Delta Routine, five empty beer glasses, three bottles and a Playboy magazine rested on a table alongside a water pitcher that was intended to relieve hangovers from the night before.

One of the biggest headaches for the guys didn't come from drinking; it came from naming the band. They spent hours upon hours proposing different ideas until they figured out a solution to their problem.

"I always lie about it and tell people it's a symbol for change," Amadeus says of the group's moniker. "We got it off a band name generator."

The group tried the generator repeatedly without much luck. They siphoned through horrible ones like Harry Houdini and The Watchmen until they finally came upon The Delta Routine. It seemed like a local band they would see, Amadeus says, so it stuck.

The Delta Routine plays Stonefly Brewery at 10 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30, with The Soup.