Sparsely furnished, somewhat disheveled with one room devoted to the stereo equipment and record collection, the Milwaukee East Side home resembled the typical quarters for a group of men in their 20s.
But who would have guessed that this was the dwelling of rock stars, or that the band that practices here has a single that's heard on radio all over the country -- a record that this week is No. 68 on Billboard magazine's Hot 100 list after only three weeks on the charts?
The band, homegrown in Milwaukee, is Yipes! The single is a direct, energetic cover version of the Beach Boys' song, "Darlin'".
That song, as well as 11 others, will be available beginning Friday on "A Bit Irrational," the band's second album for RCA / Millennium.
Although the LP won't be available to the rest of the country until next week, Yipes! has rushed the release of the album in Milwaukee to coincide with Friday's performance at the Summerfest grounds at 8 p.m. The Wigs, another Milwaukee band, will open the show.
"A Bit Irrational" differs from last year's self-titled debut album in some nice ways. The second album, produced at the Pierce Arrow Studios in Evanston, Ill., captures the punch and power of the band's live performance. As the single indicates, vocals play a much greater role in the songs' arrangements, with multi-part harmonies and backup vocals on every cut. The album contains one other cover, the Supremes' "Come See About Me."
The other 10 songs are originals, and they still were cut with lead singer and composer Pat McCurdy's tight, pop-writing and singing style. Meanwhile, Andy Bartel's lead guitar sears the edges with enough sizzling lead work to satisfy the likes of Cheap Trick fans.
That all adds up to power pop without bubble gum or silliness.
If it can ride on the successful coattails of "Darlin'," "A Bit Irrational" may be Milwaukee's first shot at a nationally successful album in all too long a time.