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The Living Statues Come To Life

Rachel Owens

Hold on to your hat people. That is the first and last word of advice I have. They are The Living Statues, a rock n’ roll trio based here in the Cream City. They mix the pop sensibilities of the British Invasion with “explosive garage rock textures.”

They’ve been together for a few years now, but have really taken it up a notch this year, releasing their first EP, Knockin’, and have recorded their first music video in LA earlier this year. They swung by the WUWM studio to chat and play a few songs. The group starts off with a rendition of their song Extra Day,

“What opened our eyes to music was this garage rock explosion of the 2000’s era,” says guitarist and lead vocalist Tommy Shears. “The Strokes, The White Stripes, Kings of Leon, those groups brought back what it meant to be a rock n’ roller.”

The Living Statues, a three piece group made up of Shears, Alex Thornburg (bass and vocals) and Chris Morales (drums and vocals), hope to bring back those classic rock sounds. The groups blend of British Invasion rock n’ roll and “explosive garage rock textures” is a stark change compared to the synth and folk rock landscape of the past few years. They boast a “less is more,” minimalist approach to their music.

“By simplifying the music you are able to hear each instrument do its thing,” says Morales. “And because it’s simpler it’s punchier and hits you harder, rather than just a wall of noise.”

The group’s newest EP Knockin', was recorded in Brooklyn, New York at the Converse Rubber Tracks Studio, a completely free recording space giving up and coming artists the chance to utilize top of the line equipment. There they met co-producer Jason Finkle who put the band through its paces, challenging them and fine tuning their sound.

“We could talk to him and he was so receptive on what we wanted to do, and he put his own twist on it too” says Shears on Finkle who has worked with Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, and Justin Timberlake.

The band has been dividing their time between Madison and Milwaukee since their early beginnings, noting that they have a “dual citizenship” in both cities. Milwaukee proved to be a tougher shell to crack, having only very small or very large venues to perform in. Madison however, with small, medium and large venues, was the ideal place to bring their music. The Majestic Theatre in Madison was one of the few that gave the band their first shot.    

“Culturally they are both very community driven, but with very different sounds,” says Thornburg.

The Living Statues are well known in both cities for their dapper stage fashions. The group dons slicked back hairdos, suits, and dress shoes, all of which make up what they call the “statue dress code.” The purpose of which is to order to catch the audience off-guard rather than just wearing their street clothes.

The Living Statues perform their song, "Our American Cousin."



Rachel is WUWM's Morning Edition host.