…this my song: Aaron Schleicher of Juniper Tar

Photo: Kat Berger

Everyone has a song or two that means the world to them. On a somewhat regular basis, we’ll ask one of our favorite Milwaukee musicians what their one song is, and why. This week, we talked to Aaron Schleicher, guitarist/backing vocalist for the band Juniper Tar.

THE SONG: “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix

THE STORY: When I was a young kid my dad was always into really great music. Unfortunately not much of his original record collection is around due to my parents having four boys who thought 45s and LPS were Frisbees. But I still have distinct memories of sitting in the basement playing with toys while my dad listened to records. And at night, rather than putting me to bed, he’d put a pair of old Koss headphones on my head, a record on the turntable and lay me down in an old beanbag chair.

“Hey Joe” was one of the first songs that I really remember pumping through the headphones that left a lasting impression. The music made sense. It made sense when I’d see my dad sitting in a chair playing air guitar, closing his eyes, and wailing “Hey Joe, where you going with that gun in your hand.” I didn’t think there was a cooler man on the planet during those moments.

We’d watch old footage of Hendrix at Woodstock or some live festival performance, and my dad would always smile and say, “Wow! Now that man could play a mean guitar.” Watching Jimi Hendrix sing and play guitar made me understand what a real musician was. It was the first music I could understand and relate to on some obscure level. It was all of the beauty and aggression that I’d see everyday, and it made me feel good.

As I’ve gotten older and started playing music, I’ve always kept the way he played music in mind. He was a Bluesman that wanted to tell a story a bit louder than his predecesors. I’ve grown up realizing that a lot of people feel the Blues and want to yell about it. He inspired me to do it with a voice and a guitar. More importan than the music, it’s always been something that my father and I shared, which is something that will never escape my memory.

Juniper Tar will be performing three shows this Saturday, April 19– two all-ages shows at Atomic Records and Exclusive Co. on Farwell in honor of National Record Store Day (check record store Web sites for more info), and a late night, 21+ show at Cactus Club with Decibully. For more information, sound clips, and other upcoming shows, visit Juniper Tar’s MySpace page.

A taste of Juniper Tar, in video form: a late-set rendition of “Garden Song.”

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