Spotlight of the Week: Jake Stanzer

Jake Stanzer is a guitarist whose influences are rooted in Celtic, blues, world, and ragtime music. He plays in several bands – The Midnight Purchase, J.R. & the Strangers, and Whiskey and the Devil.

ME: How did you get involved with Wisconsin Music Ventures?

JAKE: I actually got involved because I was in a band with Justin Jagler – J.R. & the Strangers – and he was one of the first on the roster. I went to one of his WMV shows and he introduced me to Allison, and we went from there. It really gave me the opportunity to do something that I wasn’t doing like solo acoustic stuff. It was great to hook up with WMV in that way.

ME: Awesome. Are you still playing with J.R.?

JAKE: Yeah, actually I’m going down to St. Louis this weekend because Justin moved down there. It’s kind of sporadic; nothing super serious but we try to get together a couple times a year for shows.

ME: Yeah. That’s pretty much as much as you can do these days. What are you guys working on now?

JAKE: We released our record in 2020 and we’re just kind of playing that. We’re not really writing anything new; it’s mostly that and some covers.

ME: I hear you. Whiskey and the Devil just dropped a new album; tell me a little about what went into that thing.

JAKE: Yeah, we’re really excited about that thing. We had put out three self-produced records and people would tell us that we didn’t really sound like that live, so we wanted to put something out that really represented our live sound. We went into Howl Street; Shane produced it and he did a great job. We were really happy with it.

ME: Righteous. Thanks for hiring me for that press release, by the way.

JAKE: Yeah man, thanks for doing it!

ME: I saw on your website that you are an aficionado of off-the-beaten-path microbreweries. Give me a good microbrewery that you’ve stumbled upon in your travels.

JAKE: One of my favorite ones is Deschutes in Portland, Oregon. It’s kind of big now but when you get there it looks pretty small. Me and my ex went there and went in…it was our favorite beer and we had a great time…we ended up staying there all day (laughs).

ME: Can you get it around here?

JAKE: Yeah, you can.

ME: That’s great. You also said that you’re into record shops. There are some really good ones here in Milwaukee. What’s your go-to around here?

JAKE: I want to say Exclusive Company but I’m sad to see that they’re closing. That was always one of my favorites. The Greenfield location always had the best stuff. Rush Mor is cool too.

ME: Yeah, I started my record collection at Exclusive Company on Farwell. Thankfully Lilliput Records is going into that space is buying their inventory, so they’ll have a lot of the same stuff.

ME: My last question is, what do you have going on in the next couple months?

JAKE: So The Midnight Purchase has some cool stuff coming up this summer like Bay View Bash and Homegrown Music Fest, and we’re planning on releasing a record by the end of the year. We’re going into the studio in June. I’m also in Red’s Hot Chili Peppers, which is a Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute if you couldn’t tell. We’re booked up basically through the fall and that’s a fun little outlet. I’d love to get writing solo again and put out a record at some point but that’s probably for next year. Whiskey and the Devil is playing Glacier Valley Music Fest, which is a great time. It feels like a family reunion.

Visit Jake Stanzer’s website here.

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