Brothers GERD: Not Minutemen


Words by Erin Wolf

Brothers GERD are by default, mysterious: recently assembled, and featuring two siblings, the trio has crept onto the Milwaukee music scene pretty stealthily with their take on the pretty dream-pop of the early 90s. Fronted by singer/guitarist Steve Wieczorkowski and aided by bassist Jay Ratkowski and drummer Nick Wieczorkowski, the group gets set to play a whopping third show at Frank’s Power Plant tonight. Jay and Steve fill Fan-belt in on that and divulge the meaning of their unique acronym and just which band member has never heard of the Minutemen, nor cares to.

Brothers GERD, “Iron Crutch”
Are any of you actual brothers?

Jay: Steve (singer/guitarist) and Nick (drummer) are brothers. Although, I am pretty sure that didn’t impact the name selection.

Where does the name come from?

Jay: GERD is an acronym for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. It’s something the drummer has, and the majority of people just refer to it as ‘GERD’ (pronounced like ‘bird’). That kind of became a synonym for ‘good’ and filtered into our everyday language. We all said it so often, that we had to use it as part of a band name.

Steve: The English language can do better than “Cellar Door”. What a drab image it conjures! Brothers GERD is a ridiculous experiment in phono-aesthetics. More so, the drummer is a huge Heath Ledger fan. As such, Brothers Grimm is his favorite movie. Nick certainly loves Australians (Nick plays drums in Brothers GERD).

How long have you been playing together?

Jay: Steve and I first were in a band together in high school and the three of us have been in and out of random musical experiments together, since. Brothers GERD has officially been a band since April.

There’s a distinct 90s sound to your music: Pavement, Galaxie 500, Beat Happening, etc. What’s your all-time favorite band from that era?

Jay: The 90s, especially the early half, was such an amazing time for music. Easily one of the all-time best eras for pop music. It’s impossible to pick just one favorite. Between the three of us, some of the top bands would be the Stone Roses, Galaxie 500, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Lush, Guided By Voices, Brian Jonestown Massacre, etc. etc. etc.

Steve: I have no idea who Beat Happening is. I am also not familiar with Minutemen. At our last show, I was told we sound like Minutemen, and that I should give them a listen. Apparently, they have a song which is featured as the Jackass theme song. As nice as that is, I do not wish to listen to bands that sound similar to ours. What if I find they are superior? My ego could not suffer such a blow!

All of that aside, you can’t do much better than the Stone Roses.

Where can people find your music?

Easiest way is to go to We’ve got all the essentials on there, including links to our MySpace and Facebook pages. There are songs on there, now, and hopefully very soon, we’ll have  a proper EP as well.

What’s going on for your show tonight at Frank’s?

It’s only our third show, and I think that the first two, we were a bit preoccupied with not screwing up too badly. So, this time around, we should be past that, and just be having fun. The other bands (NoStar, Certain Stars) are both real good and I think whoever you come to see, you’ll like everyone that plays.


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One Response to “Brothers GERD: Not Minutemen”

  1. Auntie FuFu Says:

    I cam across this site….Are you REALLY MY NEPHEWS??? You gurys really sound great. I’m very proud of you

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