“Everyone loved The Milkmen in the early ’80s — the blues-ers, the punkers” says Dan Schmid, bass player for legendary Eugene band the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. On Nov. 15, The Milkmen are reuniting for a one-night-only performance at Mac’s Restaurant at the Vet’s Club in Eugene. “It’d be nostalgic for sure,” Schmid continues. “[The Milkmen] were great. They rocked!”
The band was active in Eugene from ’82 to ’84. They brought their new wave twist on groove-oriented blues-rock to venues such as Taylor’s, Max’s Tavern, B.J. Kelley’s and the EMU Beer Garden. “There was less a line drawn between genres,” Schmid explains, “because everyone played in everyone else’s bands — no matter the style.” Milkmen guitarist Henry Cooper notes that “Eugene in the early ’80s still had a good bar-tavern music scene.”
The men of Milkmen describe their sound as “fast dance versions of roots-blues standards.”
“We were a bar band and proud of it,” Cooper says. But watch old footage of The Milkmen (there are some gems on YouTube) and see a definite ’80s edge combined with 12-bar blues structure and impressive, blues-informed guitar playing from Cooper and Randy Haines (Haines still performs in Eugene as Lonesome Randall).
“Our sound was a blend of blues garage rock and rockabilly with some R&B thrown in,” Cooper says. But there’s also a sense of Zappa-esque prankster-dom and post-punk agitation.
Since breaking up, members of The Milkmen have gone on to perform in Screamin’ Jay Hawkins back-up band, alongside Northwest blues legend Duffy Bishop and, in 1993, drummer Boyd Small was inducted into the Cascade Blues Association Hall of Fame.
The Milkmen Reunion with Van Wenda kicks off at 8 pm Saturday, Nov. 15, at Mac’s Restaurant and Night Club, Veterans Memorial Building; $5. 21-plus.