This week’s guest is Mark Waldoch, a Milwaukee mainstay who has been a prominent part of the city’s music scene for more than 25 years. Over that quarter-century span, the multi-instrumentalist and owner of Brew City’s most booming voice has released outstanding material with The Celebrated Workingman, under his own name, and with his current Hallelujah Ward project. Along the way, he’s contributed harmonies and horns to a wide variety of songs by other local musicians and he’s been relied upon to be a go-to local opener for an incredible list of touring acts coming through town. Oh, and he’s also a major part of Milwaukee’s holiday music tradition with an array of Christmastime concerts most years.

Earlier this week, Waldoch made a long-overdue stop (our bad!) at the My First Band studio, where he talked to host Tyler Maas about all of the above, as well as his upcoming Rockabilly Christmas show at The Cooperage, his amazing and arduous life story, and many memories from his lengthy tenure in the local scene. As Waldoch looked back on his artistic origin, he also treated us to anecdotes about touring the U.S. and Europe with Volcano Choir, working at the iconic Atomic Records store, and playing with the likes of Bright Eyes and Interpol before they became worldwide sensations. There’s also an incredible and cathartic tale about the time he quit a particularly bad service industry job!

My First Band is sponsored by Mystery Room Mastering and Lakefront Brewery. The show is edited by Jared Blohm. You can listen to My First Band on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and wherever else you get podcasts. You can also listen to rebroadcasts of previous My First Band episodes on WMSE every Wednesday from noon to 12:30 p.m. CST. Music used in this episode comes courtesy of Devils Teeth (“The Junction Street Eight Tigers”) and Hallelujah Ward (“86,000”).