The Figgs & MKE: So Happy Together

Video courtesy of YouTube: The Figgs perform “The Bar” at the Green Bay Exclusive Co.

Words by Erin Wolf

New York’s The Figgs are obviously not local, but they might as well be, with the rabid following they get here and in the frozen tundra of Green Bay and Appleton. Like the New York Dolls and their namesake city and Black Flag and California, The Figgs will forever be associated with…well…Wisconsin. How this came to be is slightly mysterious, but entirely true. The now-trio from the big city is more than happy to lay claim to popularity in the Midwest.

Longtime fan and Milwaukeean, Andy ‘Junk’ Jungwirth is undoubtedly a big part in the Figgs’ favoritism towards our city. He tells us why and how it all got started…

Why are people from Green Bay and Appleton into the Figgs more than people in Milwaukee (they’ve got five shows there, as opposed to two, here)?

I wouldn’t say people up there are more into the Figgs than those down here, but the hardcore fans down here either are from Green Bay or have been significantly influenced by that Green Bay scene at one point or another.

The Figgs have always blessed Green Bay. Since they played there in the early ’90s at the Green Bay Civic Center supporting The Knack, something clicked and Green Bay and The Figgs have been reciprocating the rock ever since. The chemistry they share with the Northeast Wisconsin is like no other. I know, ’cause I’m a Green Bay ex-pat. The first time I saw them was like fourteen years ago at the Concert Cafe and every time they’ve come through, since.

When did you start asking the Figgs to play additional basement shows during their stops in Milwaukee?

The casino up there does three night concert stands usually with rockabilly cats or dinosaur-rockers. For some reason, The Figgs slipped through the cracks and they did well enough to be asked back for a second stay.

2002 was the first time I booked them a basement show in Milwaukee. It was an early, all-ages show before a 21+ Globe show. They told me at the time that they hadn’t played a house in 10+ years. The show was mind-blowing! I think I kinda revived a spirit in them because they’ve asked me to play a basement here every time they’ve toured, since. 

Now, they’re even doing one in Appleton. What kind of a band headlines a basement and a casino in the same day? The Figgs…so rad!

What’s been your favorite show they’ve played?

Of course, every time they played Concert Cafe in Green Bay was a treat, but my absolute favorite Figgs show has to be the 3 a.m. after-bar, basement show we convinced them to play at Endless Nameless after they played The Globe (the promoter of The Globe at the time, threatened to rescind on the Figgs’ guarantee that night if I didn’t take down my basement show fliers, so I felt an extra sense of pride after they played my house twice that day). 

I think all of twenty people managed to make it back to share in that experience.

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One Response to “The Figgs & MKE: So Happy Together”

  1. Figg-a-licious Says:

    Huge Figgs fan here and I actually think I know how Wisconsin got caught in Figgs fever.

    I actually heard them on Milwaukee’s New Rock 102.1 back in the mid 90’s. Around ’95 or ’96. I loved them immediately. I called the radio station and asked the dj, his name was Julio, who the band was. He said ‘The Figgs, they are from upstate New York.” He said he had just moved from the same town the Figgs were from, Saratoga Springs, and wanted the rest of the world to hear them. Trust me, I went out and got everything by them. He continued to push their music for the next year or two and me my friends really got into them and so did the rest of eastern Wisconsin.

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