November 16, 2015

Mike to open for Old 97s' Rhett Miller

And then there's this—

Shank Hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin has enlisted my services to open solo for Rhett Miller: member of the most excellent band Old 97s and creator of a slew of quite fantastic solo albums. 
The show is on Wednesday, December 9th, and starts at 8 pm sharp. 

It's a safe bet that the evening's headliner will deliver the following: great songs galore, buckets of sweat and that spinning arm thing he does. Any one of these three phenomena would be well worth the price of admission. But you'll get all three—plus 30 minutes of musical fluffing from yours truly—for the cost of your ticket.

See you at Shank on December 9th!

--Mike B.

July 15, 2015

Mike to open for The Alarm's Mike Peters

Hi folks--

I'll have the pleasure of opening solo for Mike Peters, owner of the legendary voice that powered The Alarm. The show is at Milwaukee's Shank Hall on Tuesday, September 22nd. 8 pm start. Cover is $15, which seems eminently fair given Peters' gargantuan voice and spirit. Hope to see you there!

Until then, enjoy the following bio that I very nearly submitted for the calendar on Shank Hall's website.

For many years, Mike Benign has written songs and sung them while jumping around on stage. While he hasnʼt grown an inch since age 17, this does not bring him sadness because heʼs six feet tall and thatʼs a pretty good height.

Earlier, Benign sang and jumped around in Milwaukee bands like Blue In The Face and Arms & Legs & Feet. More recently, Benign has avoided a host of important and inevitable questions by fronting The Mike Benign Compulsion, who have released three full-length albums to generally kind reviews.

Benign has also played solo-like with a bunch of artists who run the gamut from very excellent to really excellent. In no particular order of excellence, these artists have names like Bob Mould and Rhett Miller and Marshall Crenshaw and Black Francis. 

--Mike B.

March 27, 2015

Where we've been, what we've been up to

Yes, 2014 was a bang-up year for the Compulsion, what with the release of our third record, a bunch of great outdoor shows, three new videos and some more of the always-gratifying "Best Albums Of The Year" recognitions. (See this one or this one.)

And yeah, the band has been eerily quiet the last few months. We took a break from playing live to give Brian some space to focus on the next Wooldridge Brothers album. BTW, the tracks we've heard thus far sound great.

I should also note that the Compulsion has been working on a bunch of new material, and chipping away at a new recording that should be out at some point in 2016.

At rehearsal the other night, it dawned on us that making rock in front of people remains a good idea. So watch for a live show or two as summer hits Milwaukee (assuming, of course, that it actually does).

Until then, enjoy this video of that time a few years back when we were joined onstage by R.E.M.'s Mike Mills. That was awesome.

--Mike B.

October 27, 2014

New video: "You Say It's Over"

Introducing the third video from The Mike Benign Compulsion's "Here's How It Works" LP.

For the "You Say It's Over" video, Jersey artiste Thenos Pitword pieced together elements from Ken Hanson's photo shoots for the album cover and sleeve. The result is a veritable tour-de-force of blinking and tooth-showing.

The new video also features Milwaukee icon Joe Pabst in all of his live action and stop motion glory.

On the music track, Daniel McMahon lent a McHand on Hammond organ and backing vocals. And Joe Vent channeled Exile-era Keith on guitar (sans needles, of course).

Enjoy this thing, okay?

--Mike B.

October 26, 2014

We can't help it

It seems The Mike Benign Compulsion is compelled to make new music. We spent the day Saturday in Madison tracking drums for what may very well turn into our fourth album.

As always, drummer Michael Koch blended German precision with tasteful ornamentation, knocking out the bones for nine new songs in a little more than four hours. Well done, Mike!

July 28, 2014

German magazine Coolibri: "Thirteen lovely pop gems"

Here's a late breaking review of "Here's How It Works" from Coolibri, an entertainment magazine that's widely distributed across Germany. Nice to see the album striking a chord overseas. And always good to see drummer Mike Koch getting some well-deserved love from the press.

(Then again, what follows is Dr. Koch's translation, so who knows what Coolibri really thinks of the album.)

Old heroes never get rusty – like the Düsseldorf drummer Mike Koch, who has come out with a new album with his friends in The Mike Benign Compulsion: “Here’s How It Works” delivers thirteen lovely pop gems that are convincing whether slower in tempo (such as ‘Bay Window’) or uptempo (like ‘Professional Jealousy’). This LP has the effect of the antidepressant mentioned in one of the song titles: ‘Me And My Fluoxetine.’ This is how unpretentious Americana can sound.

Truthers and Google Translate users can review the original online here and judge for themselves.

May 22, 2014

Rock + Outside = ROCK OUTSIDE!

Most people like to rock. And almost everyone likes being outside. So when you combine the two, well, that's pretty much just the best thing ever.

This was the thinking behind The Mike Benign Compulsion's upcoming set of Milwaukee-area outdoor festival shows. Here are said shows, in the order in which they'll take place:

  • Chill on The Hill, Humboldt Park in Bay View, Tuesday, June 17th - With special friends, Killer Joe opening. Killer Joe hits the stage at 6:30; TMBC is on at about 7:30. Chill details are here
  • Summerfest, Friday, June 27th, 6:30 - 7:30 pm - The men of TMBC rock the Uline Warehouse, formerly the Rock Stage. That's appropriate given the earlier thing about rock and outside. (Also, the stage is outside, which gets us back to the "pretty much just the best thing ever" concept. There's a website, too.) 
  • Bastille Days, Friday, July 11th, 5:45 - 8:30pm - The Compulsion is delighted to bring its brand of whatever it is they do to this most excellent and French of festivals. TMBC plays one song—that's all—on the Gruber Law Offices Stage. (Actually, the band will play 40+ songs with lots of surprises and maybe even some special guests. Also, it's Joanne's birthday. And Ralph's, too. More details on that later.) More info at the Bastille Days website
Make your plans now to join The Mike Benign Compulsion this summer and ROCK OUTSIDE, okay?