In honor of Elektra president Jeff Castelaz and producer Butch Vig's Midwestern roots (Milwaukee and Madison, respectively), the duo teamed-up on an eclectic and powerful playlist (below). This September 5, the heartland duo will again team-up for a keynote speech at the Yellow Phone Music Conference in Milwaukee. In addition, the music exec and producer sent in the following tribute to the region that so impacted them musically.
When I was coming up as a young manager, I met Butch and Shirley Manson and their bandmates in Garbage at Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin. To me, Butch was not only a songwriter, musician and producer, he also as an advocate for Midwest bands. Having produced the likes of Smashing Pumpkins, Tar Babies (Madison), Soul Asylum (Minneapolis) and Die Kreuzen (Milwaukee), he was helping bands to make the best records possible, so they could take their music to the world—in rusted out vans, and, eventually, on the radio waves across the world. Eventually, the woodshedding he did producing Midwest bands made him the producer of choice for Nirvana, Green Day, and Foo Fighters and loads of others.
The moral support and mentoring I got from Butch, Shirley & co helped me to get where I am today. Butch and I are excited to go back to Milwaukee on September 5 to share our experiences with young bands, producers and songwriters and aspiring music executives, as we do the Keynote Conversation at the Yellow Phone Music Conference.
Midwest artists all share one similar trait, a unique sense of their own vision.
Away from the media glare of New York and Los Angeles, bands are left to their own devices and have been allowed to develop their own unique sound and style.
Minneapolis gave us the punk fuzz of Husker Du, the ragged indie spirit of the Replacements and the genius of Prince; Milwaukee gave us the folk punk teenage angst of the Violent Femmes and the heartland pop of the BoDeans; Chicago the industrial mayhem of Ministry and the psychedelic rock of Smashing Pumpkins.
I wouldn't be the musician or producer I am if I had been raised somewhere else. I proudly wear my Midwestern heritage on my sleeve as a badge of honor.
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