Before he was traversing the continent, touring Europe, and sharing the stage with some legendary punk rock powerhouses, the singer-songwriter listeners now know as Walt Hamburger was just a guy named Walt Lontkowski who fronted little-known bands in Northeast Wisconsin and had no expectation of making a living as a full-time musician. Thanks to untold hours of experience in those projects, a great attitude and work ethic, an ever-improving catalog, and a few chance meetings that turned into life-changing opportunities, Walt Hamburger has already accomplished more in the realm of music than he’d ever imagined possible.

The solo artist with the appetizing moniker and infectious material was on the cusp of even bigger things this year, with a Canadian tour and a run of overseas shows booked…at least COVID-19 made its way stateside and threw his plans for a loop. Now in quarantine in his hometown of Appleton, Hamburger recently took some time out of his suddenly-quite-empty schedule to video conference with My First Band host Tyler Maas.

After they both opened up about the uncertainty coronavirus has put on their livelihoods, Hamburger told Maas about his early experiences in bands like Caution To The Wind and The Hamburgers (where he got his stage name), memorable shows in rural Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, his animal foundation, early struggles as a solo artist, and how a phone call from Lagwagon’s Joey Cape changed his life. You can pre-order Walt Hamburger’s reissued and remastered One Week Records #1 album on vinyl now.

My First Band is sponsored by Mystery Room Mastering. The show is edited by Jared Blohm. You can listen to My First Band on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and wherever else you get podcasts. Music used in this show comes courtesy of Devils Teeth (“The Junction Street Eight Tigers”), Walt Hamburger (“Wisconsin Dells”), and Caution To The Wind (“Rebound”). If you like My First Band and/or Milwaukee Record, please consider supporting the site by donating to our GoFundMe relief fund.