The Dim Suns


photo by Mark Dawursk

Words by Erin Wolf

Now, hitting the thirties and forties means a gravitation towards the practice space for musicians who once thrashed it up in damp basements, sweaty, smoky clubs long-gone, and on road trips, documented with only a few dog-eared photos. More and more scene veterans are becoming less nostalgic and making it more official. Start a band and play a show: that’s the way it goes.

For the Dim Suns, comprised of Milwaukee 80s/90s rock vets Jon Lyman, Franz Buchholtz, Mike Allen and Andy Reis (namely of Compound Red and Sometime Sweet Susan fame) it’s something that fell into place with minimal effort. Fan-belt talks to Reis about the magnetization towards practice space, new material and the stage as the four musicians prepare for their show together as the Dim Suns at the Cactus Club this Saturday.

The Dim Suns, “Selby Ligres”

Who’s in the band?

Andy Reis, Jon Lyman, Mike Allen, Franz Buchholtz

When did you all start playing together?

Mike, Jon and I started playing together in 1987 in Compound Red. We all have played with Franz in the early-mid 90s in some shape or form. Franz was in Sometime Sweet Susan in the 90s, and now he does Signaldrift and the Dim Suns.

Are you recording  your songs on your own?

We normally record stuff ourselves, but we just recorded a bunch of songs with Aaron Schleicher. They are mainly rough mixes for ourselves – to try and hear what’s really going on at practice. We have a tendency to write songs as we play, and then they are gone forever, so we decided that we’d better record them.

What’s it like coming back into the music scene after being in a band that was pretty integral to the Milwaukee music scene in the 90s [Compound Red]?

It’s kind of weird. We are pretty disconnected. Everything has changed. The people are still awesome and the local music is still great, but we’ve been out of the scene for so long. Jon lived in Japan for a couple of years, Mike lived in Africa for a couple of years, most of us are married, some have kids, etc. It feels great to be a part of what’s happening again. I think we all really missed it, but really needed time to take a break from music and touring and to get our lives outside of music in order.

Did the Compound Red reunion show a couple years ago spur any of this?

No, not really. Compound Red was a great time in all of our lives, but it was what is was, and it’s over. It was so fun to do and getting everyone back to Milwaukee was awesome. Mike, Jon, Dave Henderleiter and I were playing together again before the reunion. Dave moved to Minneapolis and we begged Franz to play with us. 

Any plans for the immediate future?

Not really any plans, we will probably play out here and there. We are all really happy being and playing together again. We love to just go to the space and plug in and play. Whatever comes out, comes out. We’ve all been best friends for twenty, plus years, and we have a special chemistry. We don’t have to talk about it, it just happens. No pressure.

Any details about Saturday’s show?

No real details other than it’s going to be fun hanging out with friends, watching and playing some new music. It is our first show…we hope people like us? Hahaha!

The Dim Suns play at Cactus Club (2496 S. Wentworth) at 10 p.m. Also playing: Collections of Colonies of Bees and The Celebrated Workingman.


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