Kris Crow is a musician who has played in a variety of cover bands, from The Prince Experience to the 60s-70s tribute fixture 5 Card Studs. Originally from Iowa, he has lived in the Milwaukee area since 1998.
ME: The first question that I ask everybody is, how did you get involved with Wisconsin Music Ventures?
KRIS: Well, I probably got involved differently than most people. I’ve been a Kansas City Chiefs fan since I was a kid – I grew up in south Iowa – and Allison’s husband is a Chiefs fan so I’ve known them for years, since before I knew she was a musician because we were always there to just watch football games. Over time I learned that she played French horn and so we always kept in contact; we hadn’t had a lot of crossover between her sacred world and my secular world. Then when she was putting this together, we started talking more about how it can be bigger than one or the other. It’s a great program.
ME: Right on. Yeah, that is a different way of getting connected here, but definitely interesting. How do you feel about being in Packers land?
KRIS: I’m okay. I love watching Aaron Rodgers; he’s phenomenal. I don’t watch much sports but I always watch the Chiefs or Aaron Rodgers if I’m not watching the Chiefs.
ME: Where’s your favorite Milwaukee spot to get a coffee?
KRIS: Oh man. I like beer and coffee the same – the cheaper the better. I used to go to this place called Ted’s when I lived in Wauwatosa; it’s this little diner with a round bar and they had the strongest, most plain coffee I’ve ever tasted. It was perfect.
ME: Nice. I’m also kind of in the same realm as you; I drink Hamm’s. I’m not picky.
KRIS: Coffee and beer have always served the purpose for me.
ME: Yeah. It’s there to do a job and it does that job.
ME: What brought you here from Iowa?
KRIS: I grew up with a guy named Gerard Nugent and we both sang and acted through childhood, and then he left for Marquette to act and I ended up doing the Conservatory to sing, so we kind of went all over the place. Then he landed some roles with Milwaukee Repertory Theater when we were pretty young; I was actually in Arizona at the time taking care of my mother who was ill, and she had just gone into remission when he called me and said that he had rented too big of a house (laughs). I told him that I was open and could do whatever he needed so I came up here and shortly after that I had my son. He made so many friends out of the gate so we were anchored. I’ve been here most of my life now.
ME: That’s awesome.
ME: Are you a fish fry fan?
KRIS: I’m not. There’s still a lot of Wisconsin things that I just haven’t gotten on board with. I like a good brat but I don’t like sauerkraut and not into fish fry so much.
ME: I’m from Illinois and fish fry wasn’t a big there where I grew up in the Chicago suburbs.
KRIS: I went to Catholic school and the only fish fry’s we had were during Lent. But it’s like a year-round thing up here.
ME: Well, what’s your favorite place to get a brat in Milwaukee?
KRIS: I used to go to this place Dr. Dawg right by my old house. They had a great Italian beef sandwich too.
ME: That’s right up my alley. Say no more.
ME: Being as it’s a weird time to be gigging right now, what are you working on?
KRIS: Well, I was in a band called The Prince Experience and we’ve toured the country, and I just had my last show with them on Saturday. My wife Dani is a singer so she sang with them as well. I just joined a group called 5 Card Studs who do a lot of 70s lounge music; I’ve filled in with them before but their keyboard player was ready to retire and I was ready to play a lot more at home. Then my wife and I do a duo together and we’re also in a band called the Milwaukee Tool Shed Band. Then I have a couple recording things that I’m engineering and producing coming up in the spring. That’s about it; I’m just trying to fill up the calendar. I don’t want to be scrambling in April for the summer so my goal is to have that done by mid-February.
ME: Sure. It sounds like you’re cutting teeth on some really fun projects. I’ve heard great things about the 5 Card Studs.
KRIS: It’s so much fun. You’ll have to swing out. Any time I can play, I want to.
ME: What do you have coming up on the calendar now?
KRIS: Dani and I play at Lime Cantina on Friday night, 6-9. The day after that I’m doing a private dueling piano thing up north and then Sunday Dani and I play again at Guitar for Life Cafe in Waukesha for brunch from 11-1:30.