Talcum to perform at Blue Moose

BY NINA EARNEST | JUNE 16, 2011 7:20 AM

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As teenagers, Sam Locke-Ward and future wife Grace were huge fans of the punk band Dead Milkmen and its frontman, Joseph Genaro.

Or, as he was otherwise known, Joe Jack Talcum.

Years later, the three met on tour. And now, they are celebrating the release of a double-sided record.

Talcum, with the Bassturd, Locke-Ward, and Coolzey, will perform at 8 p.m. on Friday at the Blue Moose Tap House, 211 Iowa Ave. Admission is $8.

Talcum began his musical career with the Dead Milkmen in the 1980s. The band achieved widespread success with its single “Punk Rock Girl,” released in 1988.

Though the band is still together, Talcum has explored different side projects throughout the last few decades. In 2009, Stan Butler of Bassturd organized a tour with his band, Iowa City resident Locke-Ward, and Talcum.

And a new collaboration was formed.

Sam Locke-Ward, Grace Locke-Ward, and Rachel Feldmann began playing with Talcum as the Powders.

“We get along really well, and I like traveling with [Talcum],” Sam Locke-Ward said. “I always have a lot of fun going out on the road with him.”

During a tour with the Powders in April 2010, representatives from Grotto Records asked the two performers if they would record a split vinyl single of the song “Yesterday I was Talking to My Sister.”

Armed with the songs for the tour, the bands decided to take the process a step further.

“We got to thinking, ‘Why not expand it and make an album of songs?’ ” Talcum said. “Because we have the songs anyway.”

Talcum and Sam Locke-Ward recorded the resulting record — Just Add Tears— in at Flat Black Studio in Iowa City. The 12-inch vinyl release features six tracks by Talcum & the Powders on one side and seven by Locke-Ward & the Boohoos on the other.

“It’s all Iowa City-made and Nebraska-financed,” Talcum said.

Grace Locke-Ward, Locke-Ward’s wife and drummer for the Powders, performed on both sides of the vinyl record.

“They’re complementary to each other, but they’re definitely very different,” she said. “I feel really honored I got to do it.”

Upon meeting a musician she respected so much when she was young, she admitted she was “pretty starstruck.”

“He was so amazingly without ego,” she said. “It’s kind of shocking.”

Today, Talcum continues to manage a balancing act between his solo work and the Dead Milkmen.
These days, he said, he puts a priority on the band. In March, the group released its first full album after 16 years, called The King in Yellow.

“I try to promote the Milkmen album when I promote my own self,” Talcum said.

But for now, Talcum is stopping at the Blue Moose as part of a roughly nine stop acoustic tour from Austin, Texas, to Des Moines.

“I always have a good time in Iowa City,” Talcum said. “And I’m looking forward to it.”

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