The Brew City Rockers started in 1993 after Incoming disbanded and Vince Misia, Rod Kleist, and Jim Fuchs decided to form a new band and brought Russ Zanow, former drummer for The Repeaters, into the mix. Along with Dennis Dostel on rhythm guitar, the band was soon playing clubs and parties. After a year, Dennis left to pursue his true passion, folk music, and Russ was offered a chance to advance his career, but it would take him to second shift.

 

As luck would have it, the Greater Milwaukee Spectacular had recently disbanded and Jeff Knueppel was available and looking for a band! (Check out the Mullet!! at left) With Jeff came a new rhythm guitar player in Rodney "Royal" Frankovis. With the new lineup in place the band took off! Soon the band was playing non-stop with regular gigs at The Music Box, Truman's, Nick's Nicabob, The Hop, and numerous other venues throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.

 

The band also made frequent appearances at festivals throughout the state, including St. Stephen's, St. Gregory the Great, St. Florians, the SouthShore Waterfrolics, State Fair, Sheboygan Brat Days and others. The keystone of the band's success was their tight harmonies and fun style, which made them a hit with their audiences.

 

In 1996, Rod Kleist changed positions at his regular job and was unable to continue. "Jammin" Jimmy Kemeny (master of the 128th note!) stepped in to fill Rod's shoes, providing a rawer sound and drive to the band. Soon after Jim joined the band the decision was made to add keys to expand the range of the band's repertoire. Into this new slot came Kim Kasten and his Hammond B3 Organ!

 

1998 was a year of changes for the band. Early in the year Vince left the band to spend more time with his teenage daughters. Every one in the band stepped up to fill the vocal void with Jim (Spider) and Rodney taking on the lion's share. Late in the summer, with the closure of AO Smith, Rodney decided to take early retirement and moved to his cabin up North. Late in the year Jim " Spider " left due to the strains of a new position at work and night school and Kim Kasten left to focus more time on his burgeoning roofing business.

 

Even with all these changes, the band never missed a beat! Joe Leonard, a successful solo act, joined the band on Bass, vocals, and rhythm guitar and "Mercury" Mike Hennig on Keys and vocals.

 

Late in 1999, Jim Kemeny decided to depart the band to devote more time to a side project he started in 1997, playing the blues. Filling Jim's large shoes was a difficult task but one to which Steve "Hawkeye" Hennig was well suited.

 

Finally in 2004, life got in the way and put The Brew City Rockers on a short hiatus. Mike got married and moved to Glenbeulah with his new bride, Joe Leonard's solo act was getting more busy and he left to pursue that, and Steve started a new job that left little time for him to continue in the band.

 

In 2005, fate brought Vince, Jeff, Rod, and Jim back together and the magic was renewed. With the addition of Paul "Buddy" Wobbe on rhythm and keys The Brew City Rockers were back.

 

Early in 2006 while playing a gig at Bonnie And Clyde's in Waterford, a stunning brunette asked if she could sing a Patsy Cline song. After wowing the crowd and the band, Jill Krempasky was asked to join the band and make us jamokes look good! Surprisingly she accepted! The following week, Pat Heagney, formerly with Greater Milwaukee Spectacular and The Gary Michael's Show, joined the band on sax and keys, filling out the band and giving us the extra boost we needed to go to the next step.

 

As with all things, change is inevitable. In mid 2008, Rod took another new position with his employer and had to step down opening the door for Chad Smith, formerly with Four-To-One, to step in. But late in 2009, Chad's life changed and he was unable to continue, Vince's doctor gave him a choice of the band or the job, Paul stepped down to spend more time with his family and helping to raise his granddaughter, and Pat left the band to devote more time to his family and shuttling his daughter for soccer. This opened the door for the band to bring back two former members and bring in a new male vocalist.

 

Coming back to the Rockers were Steve "Hawkeye" Hennig on lead guitar and his brother "Mercury" Mike on keys. The brothers brought a strong musical background and an added dimension and direction to the band. And "Dancin" Darren Reiner, brought his great vocals and high energy performance style to the band.

 

Spring of 2011 brought more changes. Darren left in order to attend to family and Mike left to pursue opportunities closer to home in Glenbeulah. But as with any challenge and any change, this opened the door for great things to happen again!

 

Roger Fuerstenau, the former voice of Joy Ride, joined the band to fill Darren's shoes. Roger's vocals catapulted Joy Ride to great success, playing Summerfest three years running and nearly winning the title of 102.9-The Hog's House Band two years in a row. Roger's impressive vocal range and style opened The Rockers up to soar to new highs!

 

Also joining the band was Jim "Doc" Wincell. Jim, formerly of such notable bands as Lead Lightning, Rock of Ages, High Fidelity, David Allen Show, The Spectaculars, Think Floyd, Roadhouse, and The Average Basement Band (ABB), brought his equally impressive skills on the guitar, keys, and harmonica to the band, opening the band up to a fuller and more complete and aggressive sound!

 

In the fall of 2012 Roger decided to part ways with the band to focus on his acoustic act. We were sad to see Roger go, but wish him great success on his endeavors. We are happy, however, to announce that Darren has returned to the family!

 

2016 is again a year of change. In January Jim " Spider " stepped down to focus on a new position at work. With his departure Jim "Doc" Wincell decided to pursue other opportunities After 6 months in his new position, Jim " Spiders " work life had settled back into a routine that allowed him to return to the band. Stepping in on keys to replace Doc is Larry Dagget of the band Rock Solid. Larry did a previous, short stint with The Rockers when he filled in for Doc when he took time to recover from surgery. Larry has stepped into the new roll with the band easily.

 

2017 was a see-saw year for The Brew City Rockers!
In February, after 9 years up front Darren made the difficult decision to hang up his dancing shoes due to work and life issues.
This opened the way for Matt Elder (formerly of the bands The Now! and Loaded to join the Rocker family! Matt brought with him a great deal of experience and a dynamic vocal ability second to none! Unfortunate for us, Matt's vocal dynamics were in high demand and in October Matt informed us that he had been offered an opportunity to take his career to the next level with an originals music project in the Music City, Nashville! We are happy for Matt and know that he will be take Nashville by storm!
We are happy to announce that Darren's life and work issues have worked themselves out and he is brining his dacning shoes back to the stage!

 

2018 brings more change for The Brew City Rockers!
After 25 years with the band Jim (aka Spider) life has forced him to leave the band, picking up and moving to Davenport, Iowa.
Jim has been the business manager of the band over all these years and he leaves a big set of shoes to fill and his musical skills will also be sorely missed. We are happy to announce that Chuck Fabian will be stepping in to fill those musical shoes. Chuck brings a dynamic growl to our bottom end we are sure you are going to love!

 

We have another new, but unseen addition to the band! You won't see her on stage, but you may catch site of the band's photographer roaming the crowd and snapping your picture! If you see her, smile pretty and look to see your picture here and on the band's Facebook page!