O Brother, where art thy
next clue? Star Tribune Article|
Last update: June 08, 2006 – 4:59 PM O Brother, where art thy next clue? Michael Gaughan puts the show on the road, quite literally, for his daylong rock 'n' roll scavenger hunts. By Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune You wouldn't have guessed it, catching him at a water park Monday afternoon, but Michael Gaughan has put in more work planning his "gig" this weekend than many musicians put into their entire careers. "You're the fourth person I've talked to on my cell phone since I got here," he said between dips in the pool. "Things are coming together." Gaughan, 26, is the madcap genius behind a series of daylong rock 'n' roll scavenger hunts. Sort of a cross between a "Scooby-Doo" episode, a summer rock festival and a triathlon, his events have turned into some of the most anticipated live music shows of the year for those in the know. The latest installment, titled "Escape From Summer School," is taking place Saturday, with 14 bands at eight locations. All details are secret except the unveiling of the first "clue," which will be that morning at 9 on Radio K (770 AM). Gaughan took his first step toward becoming the P.T. Barnum of local indie-rock in March 2005, when he playfully revealed the location of his band Brother and Sister's CD-release party (the downtown YWCA swimming pool). By summer, his concept evolved into the full-blown scavenger hunt idea. The first one included gigs on the roof of a shop and inside a roller rink. This winter, Gaughan went so far as to rent a bus, stage a fake arrest at the Mall of America and then shuttle all of his band's followers/prisoners to a concert site inside the former Scott County Jail in Shakopee. "There's nothing like looking out and seeing your 'audience' behind bars," said Katie Gaughan, the drummer in Brother and Sister, and Michael's actual younger sister. All that can be said about "Escape From Summer School" -- should you accept your mission -- is to have your bike and swimsuit handy. That, and it really was quite a puzzle to put this thing together. As with any gig, the planning for it started with the selection of a date when all the bands could play. Then a story/concept/theme had to be devised. The locations had to be lined up. A map and itinerary were laid out. Insurance was even required for some of the sites. Michael said the trickiest part oftentimes is just convincing people that this is for real. "I had to send in a photograph and demo tape to one place to prove we were a legitimate, professional band," he said. "Now, they're not even returning my phone calls." The siblings grew up in suburban Ringwood, Ill. Michael moved to Minneapolis to attend the Minnesota College of Art and Design. He now teaches at Perpich Center for Arts Education. Katie came here to study journalism at the University of Minnesota. Neither pretends to be an expert musician -- Brother and Sister is more of a goofing-off-to-the-stereo kind of act than a real band -- but they earn pretty high marks for thinking outside the box. "Michael is definitely an artist in every way," Katie said, pointing out that these scavenger hunts are alcohol-free and all-ages and take place anywhere but a bar. "They're sort of their own art form, and they're a lot more fun than going to a club, I think." Michael is free-thinking in his musical identities, too: He already has a rapper alter-ego that has earned some notoriety, Ice-Rod, and he recently put together a band called NOW with Joe Berns of Melodious Owl and their friend Annika Kaplan. Asked to describe the new act, which is performing somewhere on Saturday, he said, "You know those Edge Life Expo psychic/spiritual things? It's sort of like one of those with dance, rap and guitar." Gaughan never seems to come up short on ideas, especially when it comes to concepts for his next hunt. "I'm sort of like the kids who are skateboarders who look at a place and say, 'I'd like to skateboard there,' " he explained. "I look at a place and think, 'I'd really like to see a band play there.". email@example.com • 612-673-4658 ©2006 Star Tribune. All rights reserved. r
RIFT MAG Review: Rock
'n' Roll Escape from Summer School Bikes, bands, and bared body parts --
or Saturday with Brother and Sister. by Kristen Mueller|
After frantically googling the location of the first stop on Brother and Sister's all-day scavenger hunt tour, I hop on my bike and head for St. Louis Park via the greenway. Passing under Lyndale Avenue, I encounter my first pack of summer school cyclists wearing the day's uniform: an assortment of colorful tops, tights, skinny jeans, and hair mussed from the bed lied in mere minutes earlier. Several more miles finds us locking our rides to a chain-link fence or skinny tree trunks before a sprawling brown brick school -- the Park Spanish Immersion Elementary School. Just past 10 a.m., a crowd is already spilling down the entry's stairway and onto the sidewalk, while a petite girl in polka-dot tights hands out "permission slips" that waive away the right to sue Michael Gaughan, members of Brother and Sister, and everyone else participating in the event, should we tumble head-first into oncoming traffic, become crushed under falling speakers during a show, or suffer a fly-ball to the head during electro-rock baseball. But I'm getting ahead of myself - let's get back to school. No educational experience is complete without an Ed Rooney-esque principal to admonish slacker pupils for arriving late. Dressed in khakis, a white button up, and cheap sunglasses, (the kind you buy for five bucks at your county fair), our principal for the day orders us to form two lines by gender and pay a $15 fee ("due to the higher cost of education"). Once inside, we were awarded neon-green leopard print strips of fabric to tie on as our "uniforms" and treated to three performances in the school's basement cafeteria, amidst folded-up lunch tables. A train whistle alerts concertgoers to the first act - rappers Toki Wright and FranzDiego.com. "Wake up class!" yells Wright, before Diego growls into his mic and later dances with an umbrella. After a short set of hopping back and forth, jumping, and lots of hearty attempts to rile up the crowd, Cognitive Dissonance takes center stage before a pull down silver door that blocks what can only be a hot-lunch window. The lead singer roars like a demon from Buffy the Vampire Slayer after its been shot with a cross bow, while the drummer pounds away like Animal, the chaos-prone member of the Muppet Babies clan. By the end of the set a wide circle has formed, to the delight of a scraggly-haired man rocking an ammo belt plus a wide, menacing wristband decked in silver spikes. Next up in the school of rock line-up is Knifeworld. Rapid-fire guitar riffs propel the lead singer into the air before leading the crowd in a lack-luster rendition of The Ramone's "Rock 'n Roll High School." "We don't know how to play it, so everyone has to sing it," the band explained. Unfortunately, the crowd could have used some pointers as well. Study hall commences, and we're released for recess. Hidden among jungle gyms, plastic slides and rows of swings are six puzzle pieces. Together, they form the directions "Take a R on WLKR St. 9 blocks --> Take a R on QBEC Ave. Only 2." "Oak Hill! That's it!" exclaims a boy with a skull and crossbones stitched into the back of his black hoodie as we ride toward a park. Past a family of bewildered picnickers is a pavilion reserved for the next acts. After a break for eating our bag lunches, Mute Era announces their presence with an evil "Mwahahaha" chuckle. I jump on a large brown picnic table to watch lead singer Sho Nikaido utter indistinguishable lyrics and drummer Jessica Driscoll kick out beats on a sparkly red drum set, while behind me a group of two-and-a-half foot tall kids swing giant plastic golf clubs at equally large plastic golf balls on a makeshift mini-golf course. "Stay off the grass where the little kids are playing," warns an authoritative man before it's Synchrocyclotron's turn to take the stage. The threesome dazzles the crowd with their sequin encrusted ensembles and frequent instrument swapping. At one point the drummer straps on a guitar, places a keyboard on his drums, and proceeds to move the cymbal with his foot while pressing keys and occasionally singing and strumming. "You thought you could run but you couldn't hide," declares the huffing principal as he trudges into the shelter at the set's end. "Find three things in the woods," he commands, and a swarm of music-lovers swoop towards the clump of trees across the street in eager obedience. Clomping through the brush I meet an MCAD student who's immune to poison ivy -- but this super-hero trait doesn't help him find one of the three sheets of printer paper covered in collages that point us towards the next venue -- a park across town. While we wait for the band to arrive I chat with Viceburgh's lead singer, Sean Keith, in front of a porta-potty. Suddenly a game of capture the flag springs up, and two teams are standing on opposite sides of the site's grassy expanse. A Braveheart-like battle cry whoops through the air as the team nearest us charges down a small hollow and into the battleground in search of a t-shirt cum flag. "Let the blood games begin!" yells their opponents in response, before descending to meet their foes. Several games later, a motley of musicians arrive and settles onto a bridge over a waterless indent of land. With one performer in a black and white striped shirt and another in a three-piece suit, the group conjures the essence of a Parisian folk band strumming tunes above the Seine. "We all just learned all these instruments. Don't be shy to play with us," the female vocalist says. Heeding their invitation, several experimentalists amble onto the bridge to join the mix of an Omnichord, triangle, ukulele, two banjos, and a viola. After songs titled "Who'll be the new Swamprat?" and "Ramblin Man" cease, a riddle is put forth. Climb the hill, follow the path, and take a right at the diamonds. After several minutes of wandering around the park, a trail of cyclists winds past the capture the flag hill, turns right at baseball diamonds where little leaguers are thick in the midst of a game, and onto a bike path headed towards the Minneapolis skyline towering in the distance. A sudden detour across railroad tracks puts us in the dank underbelly of an expressway where The Blackthorns are already playing. Teens climb the graffiti-laden walls or stand in the dirt beneath the overpass, transfixed by the five-person band's haunting melodies. The guitar player, channeling his inner rock-star artist, spontaneously beats against a pipe, tin tray, and piece of scrap hanging from a large bar, and the steady rumble of a train roaring past only compliments the atmospheric quality of the moment. Stepping out from the shadows and onto the baseball diamond a mere 200 feet away is like leaving the melancholy depths of hell to embrace the lush landscape of heaven. Before two-man group The Gamut can begin, an impromptu game of baseball springs into play. Punk-rock bowling's got nothing on what could only be dubbed "electro-rock baseball." When not in the field running down pop flies and grounders, batters on deck but up against the bobbing crowd and watch the show. The next act had a lot to live up to -- and miraculously, they did just that. Further down the trail, under the expressway once more, are two giant mounds of dirt. Between them stands metal-punk-rockers Faggot, who are backed by a bevy of scandalously clad dancers in construction worker-meets-Daisy Duke-meets-country hick gear, plus Gotham city's last line of defense against thieves in the night: Batman. Before blasting into action, the lead singer poses with the shaft of a shovel between his legs and dumps scoops of dirt down his miniscule construction vest -- a family friendly image compared to what happens next. "The bassist has the shortest shorts ever. His ball sack is hanging out," says a girl nearby, before whipping out her digital camera, zooming in on the offending parts, and thrusting the picture forward. It's 6 p.m., over eight-hours into the spectacle, and the next clue -- a Sioux headdress on a vacuum cleaner -- sends the group to the SOOVAC on Lyndale Avenue. As we hit the Walker sculpture garden I duck out for the night, careening toward a soft couch, jug of water, and a much-needed meal before meandering back to the same spot for the Walker's 200-person capture the flag game at dusk. www.brother-and-sister.com From rumors to reminiscing, talk through the day was as eclectic as the groups wailing onstage. Here's what I overheard: "I heard Brother and Sister are gonna play in a helicopter." "Do you have any of the heroin left?" "I taught the Ecuadorian guys at my work to say 'I'll cut you.'" "I've been craving pancakes all week." "I bought my bike when my hair was green." Person 1: "My feet are cold." Person 2: "Do you want to wear my sweatshirt?"
Link: RIFT MAG: Rock 'n' Roll Escape from Summer School Bikes, bands, and bared body parts -- or Saturday with Brother and Sister. by Kristen Mueller
City Pages Highlights
from Rock 'n' Roll Escape from Summer School|
Brother and Sister inspire another day of gymnastics, capture the flag, and waterslides. Oh, and music. Highlights from Rock 'n' Roll Escape from Summer School Electric Boogaloo it ain't: NOW at the Soo VAC Image by Lindsey Thomas by Lindsey Thomas June 14, 2006 Brother and Sister's latest all-day music fest starts at Park Spanish Immersion Elementary School in St. Louis Park on Saturday morning. Toki Wright paces across the cafeteria with FranzDiego.com (no, really—that's his name), spitting stories about ladies, both the maternal kind and the ones he'd like to get numbers from. Wright kicks off some damn eclectic booking. Next up in the lunchroom is Cognitive Dissonance, a metal band with Cookie Monster vocals, which segues right into Knifeworld, a rock duo who try to lead the crowd in a sing-along of "Rock and Roll High School"—a project that is quickly aborted when it turns out that no one knows the verses. At a nearby park, Knifeworld guitarist Jon Nielson shows up again as the drummer in Synchrocyclotron, a band of multi-instrumentalists in sequin-covered outfits who play slightly math-y songs with spontaneous outbursts of funk. Only minutes before, a couple of cops interrupted Mute Era's set. The music was fine, they said, but the audience members walking across the greens of a neighboring kindergarten golf tournament were becoming a problem. The Blackthorns aren't a band that could have played in a park. They seem right at home set up next to the train tracks, playing beneath a stretch of 394. Electrified violin and banjo drive their industrial folk, but they're dressed up with junkyard percussion like hammer-pounded metal coils and sandpaper scratching old crates. A razor is dragged across a sheet of metal, causing visible shivers in the crowd, and I'm suddenly glad that this set is taking place during daylight hours. When Thaddeus Blackthorn opens his mouth, he lets out a desperate moan: "The hope in your soul will damn you to hell/The love in your soul will damn you to hell." Advertisement Faggot's extraordinary turn as scantily clad construction workers will be featured in an upcoming story by Peter Scholtes. When we first arrive at the Soo VAC, a gold man is posed on top of a circular couch. He's not just dressed in gold—we're talking about a chick-from-Goldfinger, gee-I-hope-that-paint-is-nontoxic kind of thing. The living statue starts to move, first with an occasional tilt of the head or sweep of an arm. Soon he's practically pop-locking, his robotic jerks settling into place with a subtle bounce, like he's not just a box of gears but an elaborate system of pulleys and springs. Eventually, Snakebird decides to start his set. "Sorry, we're running late," says the golden MC. "It's my fault. I was just having so much fun up there." After Snakebird comes NOW (pictured), Michael Gaughan's new non-Brother and Sister band, which combines the sleazy electro-pop know-how of Joseph Berns (Melodious Owl), newcomer Annika Kaplan's cocksure vocals, and rhymes from Gaughan (a.k.a. MC Icerod). It also involves some weird feats of strength and flexibility. The trio hang upside-down, sit on shoulders, and stand on backs, all while singing about "curfew and truancy, perfume and jewelry." The execution is a little shaky—like that of kids trying to emulate their first Cirque du Soleil show—but it's got potential. Then it's back to St. Louis Park, where Doomtree play poolside at the city's aquatic center. Wish I could elaborate, but by this point I'm overcome by fatigue, not to mention the threat of hypothermia. Maybe going swimming when it's 55 degrees out is a bad idea, but Brother and Sister can make people do crazy things.
Link: Highlights from Rock 'n' Roll Escape from Summer School
City Pages BEST CONCERT
OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS (LOCAL) Brother and Sister Summer Camp,
So many nights spent at the Entry/Turf/Triple Rock seeing Mallman/P.O.S./STNNNG and winding up drunk/partly clothed/dancing 'til dawn make for a lot of blurry recollections. Michael and Katie Gaughan plan their family-friendly events with the express purpose of having their fans remember. That's why other Brother and Sister gigs have involved sets at the YWCA, the St. Louis Park Aquatic Center, and the Scott County Jail. The daylong biking adventure known as Brother and Sister Summer Camp wasn't really a show, but rather a series of Kodak moments. Like, remember that one time when we went from watching Diamonds play on the roof of Robot Love to eating a picnic lunch at Lake Calhoun with Woodcat? And Brother and Sister played in the middle of a roller rink while everyone skated around them? And then Mute Era provided the soundtrack to a game of water-balloon Capture the Flag? That was awesome—and awesome in the literal sense; each new location and activity sparked disbelief. That "concert" will be etched into brains for years to come thanks to a pair of siblings who treat every day like summer vacation.
Link: City Pages BEST CONCERT OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS (LOCAL) Brother and Sister Summer Camp, 7.16.05
Twin Cities Daily
A Wake, a Scavenger Hunt, and a Prison: Sending Off Brother and Sister
By Justin Schell, Special to the Daily Planet Brother and Sister 1.10.05 various locations For a band named “Best Performer” by the City Pages last year, extravagant concerts from the group Brother and Sister should come as no surprise. However, this past Saturday the band, made up of siblings Michael and Katie Gaughan, organized an event that surely amazed even the die-hardest of fans. Dubbed the “Sister Send-Off Show,” it was all-day extravaganza, part rock and roll festival and part scavenger hunt. The sum of these parts was an experience that its participants will not soon forget. Besides playing guitar and singing in the band, Michael is a visual artist, a Special Education Assistant at the Golden Valley Arts High School, and a teacher for MCAD’s Continuing Studies program. Drummer Katie is a University of Minnesota student majoring in Journalism and Women’s Studies, as well as editing the student-run magazine, The Wake. Her departure for study abroad in Northern Ireland was the motivation for the show. The two saw the event as an elaborate reversal of an Irish custom. “In Ireland,” Michael said, “when people would leave for America, they’d have a wake because they’d never see them again. They’d have a big party to send them off. So it’d be funny to have a party because she’s going to Ireland.” This was more than just a party, though, as participants needed to decode clues to determine the day’s performance venues. A combination of an encrypted eBay listing and Michael’s MySpace site revealed that the event would begin at the Oak Street Cinema at 9:00 Saturday morning. About 80 people piled in to watch Woodcut, who played messy, yet entertaining rock and roll, as archaic home movies rolled behind them. The clue, shown afterwards, was a short film of a “NE Marshall Ave” sign and the Marshall manufacturing plant. Befuddled, we looked to Woodcut’s lead singer, also named Marshall for help, and he flashed a fresh tattoo on his arm with directions to the Metrodome Light Rail station. At the Metrodome, we found a piece of paper and a Confederate flag in a plastic bag. On the paper was printed a Scottish woman and a tank top (Lass + Top equaled “Last Stop”). With the Confederate flag representing South, we realized that we were heading to the Light Rail’s last stop in the southern direction, The Mall of America. At the Mall, a series of clues took us to Prints Plus, Camp Snoopy, the Bose store, and finally to the entrance of the Rainforest Café. (The last clue was a poster with eight pictures of Ali G and the word “OR” printed underneath: Ali G + 8 + OR equaled “alligator.”) As people started looking around the Café’s large animatronic beast, a “security officer” approached us and said that we had to follow him. We were given white biohazard-type suits and told to board two school buses for our next, extremely unexpected, destination: the recently closed Scott County Jail located in Shakopee. “I’ve been trying to have a show in a prison for over a year,” Michael said, and his wish came true on Saturday. The mythologies of B.B. King and Johnny Cash’s prison performances seemed to crystallize as we were lead into a cell block for performances by Faggot and Brother and Sister. The first band, whose lead singer acted as the Mall “security officer,” raced through their set of thrashing and pounding rock as the crowd danced in the cramped space. Brother and Sister then took the “stage” to play a short set. (The two were actually supposed to perform at Camp Snoopy, yet the Camp’s administration unexpectedly cancelled the show on Friday.) Michael is especially known for his creatively-wrought guitars; for this show he brought out the Quad Chopper, which has four guitars combined into one, each neck jutting outwards to form an “X.” Moreover, a special harness allowed him to spin the instrument while playing, giving new meaning to the term “windmill guitar.” Their short set consisted of just a few songs, including the crowd favorite “Best Sister Ever,” its letters shouted repeatedly over a wash of Michael’s dissonant, distorted guitar and Katie’s crashing drums. Gaughan wanted this “Jailhouse Rock” to evoke the idea of a music video; as one of my fellow, um, inmates put it, on the level of “pure rock awesomeness” this was something pretty extraordinary. Faggot’s guitarist concurred, shouting “This is probably the last time you can dance in a jail!” Thinking beyond fantasy fulfillment or anti-authoritarian hedonism, however, left me rather conflicted. The blatant anti-establishment stance of Faggot, most obviously in their choice of name and their songs (one was called “Fuck You America”) rang a bit hollow. Whatever authorities were being fought by the band, they were not those representing the prison, who did not even charge Gaughan for the show. One of the two men overseeing the event helpfully walked participants over to the adjacent courthouse to use the bathroom. More generally, no one was actually incarcerated in the jail, in contrast to the millions of people who are imprisoned in the US, including the highly disproportionate number of African-Americans in this country's prison-industrial complex. It was hard, then, to completely celebrate the experience of seeing a rock and roll show in an unused prison. After returning to the Mall, we again boarded the Light Rail, as word spread that we were to depart at the Franklin Avenue station. Three more clues led us in succession to the Blue Nile, the corner of Franklin Avenue and 28th Street, and ultimately the Matthews Recreation Center, the final location of the night. Here, the audience participated in games of basketball, kickball, and dodgeball, to the strains of J+N, Haunted House, and Bri Smith, performing as I Miss My Best Friend Forever. After such an exhausting day, what did Katie think of her extravagant sendoff? “I was really honored,” she said. “It was fun to see so many familiar faces.” She was especially happy to see the development of “a community within the audience,” from pooling their collective wisdom in deciphering clues to playing kickball in the Matthews Park gym. Michael echoed these sentiments, as he wanted “to give an audience a chance to have fun, more than just be passive, to have as much fun as the band is having.” As the sound ricocheted off the steel and concrete walls of the Scott County Jail, audience members joined in to play different parts of the Quad Chopper, fulfilling his goal as any remaining barriers between performer and audience were demolished. Given the wholly unique experience that was the Sister Send-Off Show, Brother and Sister will have their work cut out for them in surpassing this effort when Katie returns. By Justin Schell
Link: A Wake, a Scavenger Hunt, and a Prison: Sending Off Brother and Sister
Jail breakup by Chris Riemenschneider What were a bunch of local music fans doing in prison-issue jumpsuits at the old Scott County jail in Shakopee last Saturday? They were there for a Brother and Sister gig, of course. For its final show before Sis heads off to Ireland, the adventurous metal duo held a daylong scavenger hunt that included mock arrests and a trip in the paddywagon to the concert site. "I was looking for a jail for over a year," said "Brother" Michael Gaughan, who finally found out this one is about to be demolished. Perfect. That led to "kids moshing in the cells and hanging from the bars," he excitedly recounted. Sounds like an old Scorpions video I remember. Gaughan is planning a similar stunt in the summer, and his query about Star Tribune sponsorship led me to believe it'll be another doozy. by Chris Riemenschneider
Link: Star Tribune
BEST LIVE ACTS OF 2005
4. Brother and Sister (28 points) A sibling duo (no, really) that is part White Stripes, part Whitesnake and part white noise. Alas, their last show is Jan. 7 but they are going out in true style: The gig is at 9 a.m. at an undisclosed location. (Check www.brother-and-sister.com for clues.)
Link: Chris Riemenschneider: A 'Fun' finale for local music's class of '05
BEST SONGS of 2005
6. Brother and Sister, "B-E-S-T S-I-S-T-E-R E-V-E-R," (12 points)
Link: Chris Riemenschneider: A 'Fun' finale for local music's class of '05
| City Pages |
local music yearbook '05
March » Sibling rockers Brother and Sister coax 100-odd fans into joining an elaborate scavenger hunt to find...Brother and Sister. Notified by e-mail, the participants gather at a cul-de-sac in Dinkytown, where a co-conspirator hands out clue workbooks and secret agent badges. (According to the scenario, the duo has been "kidnapped.") Soon various teams puzzle over clues such as the following words painted on the Washington Avenue Bridge: "Go to Difficult Mathematics—Heavy Thinking" (i.e., go to the Hard Times Café.) Nine clues in, two contestants run into a masked girl outside the Triple Rock Social Club who forces them into the back of a Budget van. It peels off, barely muffling the sound of live music inside, and a Brother and Sister cover band plays for the captive audience as the vehicle circles the neighborhood. The hunt eventually ends at the downtown YWCA, where the real Brother and Sister play a pool party. Unique in most respects, Brother and Sister exemplify the year's oddest trend: a proliferation of local rock two-pieces, including Mute Era, Knife World, Birthday Suits, Ova!, Dead Swayze, Ghost Band, and Awesome Snakes.
Link: local music yearbook '05
how was the show .com
Picked to Click 2005
Brother & Sister were easily the most controversial act of the evening
Picked to Click 2005
Sibs Pick The Hits Some enlightened Top Five lists from Brother and Sister Photo by Jayme Halbritter PICKED TO CLICK XV 1. STNNNG 2. The Deaths 3. Kill the Vultures 4. Chariots 5. Brother and Sister 6. Duplomacy 7. Chris Koza 8. The Get Up Johns 9. (tie) The Blind Shake Fort Wilson Riot Also: The Un-Secret Ballots All-Time Greatest Sibling Acts: 1. Ween 2. Hanson 3. Big Quarters 4. The Shaggs 5. Nelson Five Fun Facts About My Brother (Michael Gaughan): 1. He was the speaker at his MCAD graduation 2. He's vegan 3. He broke his arm lip-synching 4. He has a pet chameleon named Charles 5. He rode around in a golf cart with Mike Ditka Five Fun Facts About My Sister (Katie Gaughan): 1. She is an amazing Irish step-dancer 2. She loves kayaking and being in nature 3. She can speak Spanish 4. She was an extra in Bill Murray's Groundhog Day 5. She's vegan Someday We Hope to Perform at the Following Venues: 1. In a world with no wars or poverty 2. On a half-pipe made of mirrors 3. Atop the highest tower of Amp Castle 4. As the musical guest on SNL 5. At a party Advertisement Five Greatest Men with Moustaches: 1. Our father, Thomas Gaughan 2. Both our Uncle Mikes 3. Frank Zappa 4. Freddie Mercury 5. Wesley Willis Five Favorite Albums of the '90s: 1. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Brother for Sale, 50 Cents (Lightyear) 2. Hulk Hogan and the Wrestling Boot Band, Hulk Rules (Select Records) 3. "Weird Al" Yankovic, Off the Deep End (Scotti Bros.) 4. CB4: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (MCA) 5. Slaughter, Stick It to Ya (Capitol)
Link: City Pages Picked to Click 2005
10/14/2005 Brother and Sister, Big Quarters, Hellebore, and Haunted House: What a night. If you check out the Brother and Sister video, make sure that you notice the immense amounts of fog emenating from behind the guitar amp. Then, for laughs, check out the photos of everybody outside chilling out with the fire department after the smoke alarm got set off by said fog. Lessons learned...
Link: The Whole Coffman website
City Pages Arts Feature - The Family Jewels - Puckish Duo Brother and Sister Rock Out for Your Inner Child
If Michael and Katie Gaughan ruled the world, we'd spend our lunch hours climbing trees and building forts out of cardboard boxes and sleeping bags. We'd chase ice-cream trucks and dribble electric-blue Popsicle juice all over our grown-up clothes. And then we'd go back to work and spend the rest of the afternoon dreaming about lining the office hallways with Slip 'n' Slides. The Gaughans are musicians, impresarios, camp counselors, presenters of site-specific theater. Brother and Sister, their metal-tinged guitar-and-drums combo, trucks in what you might call rock 'n' roll recess. At the group's shows, audiences have been encouraged to enjoy the set while swimming, skating, or playing capture the flag. While chatting with the pair at the downtown Minneapolis Pizza Luce, I offer that prior to discovering Brother and Sister I hadn't gone to a pool party or had a water balloon fight in ages. "Oh, we do that stuff all the time!" Katie insists. "People might say it's a gimmick, but that's what all entertainment is," says guitarist-vocalist Michael, who at 25 is five years older than his drummer sister. "That's why bands have pyrotechnics or fancy outfits or strippers or do stunts or fake their own death. The goal is fun. Fun first. The best advertising is through word of mouth and this is a solid way to give people something to talk about." The philosophy apparently works. Brother and Sister's shows are often described in gleeful, incredulous tones. Their early gigs are already regarded as somewhat legendary. This past March, the siblings staged their first real spectacle, an impeccably orchestrated high-concept record-release show. The premise? An evil witch had kidnapped Brother and Sister. Rescue them and be rewarded with a show. One hundred fans went on a scavenger hunt that led them to a Laundromat, a hotel room, a parking ramp, and finally, the pool at the downtown Minneapolis YWCA. While the fans swam, Katie's drums rang deafeningly off the tiles and Michael broke out his most bitchin' Axel Rose moves. Every member of the search team walked away with a copy of the band's five-song self-titled EP. The disc opens with Michael growling the cheerleader chant, "B-E-S-T S-I-S-T-E-R E-V-E-R." It quickly segues into "Never Gonna See Me Alive," wherein he's "decomposing, dying to death!" As silly as the songs may seem, they also have an underlying sincerity. "Stupidly clever," Michael calls them. "Give It Away to the Dogs" mocks consumerism and waste--bacon bits, a Ford Focus, and a Valley Fair commemorative photo (taken on the Wild Thing) are purchased, only to be thrown to the canines. Despite Michael's penchant for Nugent riffs and so-macho-they're-hilarious snarls, the pair frequently encounter unwelcome comparisons to that candy-striped pseudo-sibling act. "Some people assume we're not even brother and sister," says Katie. But personality-wise, they're not so different from the White Stripes. Michael, the eccentric front man, stands out with his wild head-banger mane and '80s apparel (everyday attire--Converse All-Stars and a pair of neon-orange shorts). And while Katie may be quiet like Meg when you first meet her, her drumming is rowdier. Holding back just isn't an option for these two. † KATIE AND MICHAEL started working out their act as kids in Wonder Lake, Illinois (it seems appropriate that the two spent formative years in a place called Wonder Lake), and Ringwood, Illinois, a town an hour northwest of Chicago. During high school, they started performing for their friends at skate parks. "We were playing goofier songs," says Katie. "We did a lot of skits and interpretive dances to No Doubt and Will Smith." "Our favorite show was in a church basement, and there was a skinhead band, us, and a pop-punk band," says Michael. "We did a really cool dance to [Smith's] "Miami" and these skinheads were standing there with their arms crossed, looking really mad. We did it and said, 'Well, let's do it again.' And then again. And we just did the dance five times and that was our whole show." Much to the relief of their parents, their show evolved. "They were pretty happy when we started playing actual songs," says Michael. "Our mom's an Irish-folk guitarist," adds Katie. Both Gaughans eventually moved to the Twin Cities to attend school, Michael graduating from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and Katie starting at the University of Minnesota last year. Michael first got some attention in Minneapolis when he started performing as the rat-tailed rapper Ice-Rod, blowing away skeptics at MC battles and taking hip-hop audience participation beyond the realm of "throw your hands in the air...." A crowd favorite involved him handing out paper and rapping instructions on how to fold airplanes. That impulse to engage the audience by unusual means has only intensified. A few weeks ago, Brother and Sister presented a special warm-weather event: Rock 'n' Roll Summer Camp. Perhaps inspired by their recent work with kids (Michael's teaching drawing classes at MCAD and Katie's a counselor for Campfire), they organized a biking tour of Minneapolis and St. Louis Park that featured 11 bands and assorted Meatballs-inspired activities. About 60 campers ate watermelon during Bridge Club's set, roller-skated to Knifeworld, and played water balloon Capture the Flag while listening to Mute Era. The camp even had an official flag--a swatch of camouflage fabric, hand-painted with "Rock 'n' Roll Summer Camp" and a pair of shades. Leading the caravan of bikes between venues, Michael waved it over his head. He paused in the middle of busy intersections and held it out like a crossing guard's stop sign, halting the oncoming traffic. When a white SUV stopped so close that Michael could have stuck a flower in its grill, the guitarist held his ground. Rock 'n' Roll Summer Camp could not be stopped. Campers caught Brother and Sister's set at the Roller Garden. DJ James Leonardo introduced them with a homemade mash-up that included the all-star remake of "Lady Marmalade," Beck's "Debra," and Junior Senior's "Shake Me Baby"--but just the bits that involved the words "brother" and "sister." When Michael and Katie finally entered the rink, he played a wireless guitar and skated circles around his drum kit-bound sis. The performance was sloppier than usual but, hey, the guy was on skates. In general, the duo isn't ashamed when their technical flaws are showing. "I don't think it's important for the style of music," says Michael. "You shouldn't go to our show to be impressed musically, like Whoa, look at that." But that's exactly what people think when they see a smashed guitar reconstructed with vegan Rice Krispie treats and eaten onstage, or a guy playing an entire set while hanging upside down. In addition to planning another local music extravaganza for October, Brother and Sister are preparing the debut of Michael's guitar/helicopter hybrid. He says he'll have to unveil the contraption outdoors, since it runs on gasoline, and its rotor blades, which reach speeds of up to 500 miles per hour, "could kill someone." He's also been collecting broken drumsticks from fellow musicians for an upcoming art project. He's making a 13-by-10-foot portrait--of his sister. - By Lindsey Thomas
Find the article at: The Family Jewels
THE WIRE Adventures in Modern Music issue 257 JULY 2005
Brother and Sister are a guitar/ drums duo from Minneapolis. They do a very stripped down and raw-assed sort of garage punk, but thankfully eschew the accepted genre models. Their self-titled debut Brother and Sister (Xylem 10") has a rather beautiful stupidity to that is sure to tickle many discerning grunt fans. The dog sound effects are a nothing but a trailer-park genius move, as is their virtual theme song, "B-e-s-t S-i-s-t-e-r E-v-e-r". At its best, their approach manifests a sort of classicist Detroit scum purism, so if you dig that schtick, dig this. ≠reviewed by Byron Coley
CITY PAGES BEST OF THE TWIN CITIES 2005
Best Live Artist
The self-titled debut 10-inch by real-life siblings Brother and Sister takes yesterday's guitar rock redux out of the garage and bounces it right into the rumpus room, full as it is with wailing, wanky solos and bouncy drum beats. It's pretty fun stuff, but compared to the singular joy of seeing this blissed-out duo live, recorded BS is just that--recorded B.S. Brother, a.k.a. Michael Gaughan, is an ex-art-school tech geek who originally rose to local mythical status as Ice-Rod, a slick-talking, rat-tailed battle MC. His new creative incarnation pairs an affinity for glammy guitar dancing--his signature move looks like Axl Rose doing the duck walk--with his adorable younger sister Katie, a semi-talented drummer who positively beams rock 'n' roll enthusiasm. But like the music, the siblings themselves are background. The real stars of a Brother and Sister show are the antics that punctuate them. In the last year alone they've played guitars made of Rice Krispies treats and Jolly Ranchers, Michael has played an entire show hanging upside down, and their recent record-release concert was held in the downtown YWCA pool. That last show is already local legend, thanks to the unbelievable citywide scavenger hunt that preceded it (the 80-plus crowd didn't even know where the show was; a two-hour string of cryptic clues, secret maps, and a cast of shady friends led the eager hunters to the pool party). "Crowd-pleasing" doesn't even begin to describe a Brother and Sister concert. These kids go way, way out of their way to make sure everyone's having the time of their lives.
Link: Sex and Drugs and Rock'n'Roll
MINNESOTA DAILY COVER STORY
Find your own fun Brother and Sister invite their fans to experience life played for keeps By Keri Carlson n March 4, the local band Brother and Sister was abducted by the evil head master wench. One hundred secret agents were assigned to the case. Their mission was to rescue Brother and Sister and locate the band’s release show. Anyone who knows the work of Michael Gaughan — whether from his artwork at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, his rapping in Ice-Rod or his current project with his sister Katie — agrees it is brilliant. Charlie Knutson Lively up yourself: Michael Gaughan, left, and Katie Gaughan, of the band Brother and Sister, get creative at the Downtown YWCA for their record-release pool party Tales of Gaughan’s MC Ice-Rod shows have become immediate legends in the local music scene. There’s the time he brushed his teeth on stage and proceeded to chug orange juice. Or the time he handed out paper and rapped instructions on how to make paper airplanes. “Not all rock ’n’ roll has creative lyrics,” Gaughan said on his move from microphone to guitar. “There’s more creative lyrics in rap, but it’s like, so what?” The legends of Ice-Rod, however, might have been surpassed earlier this month with Brother and Sister’s release show. The treasure-huntlike show surpassed already high expectations. Katie Gaughan, a sophomore at the University, said, “It’s like Hansel and Gretel: You have to follow our clues.” Finding each clue was the thrilling part of the adventure. The clues led each team of secret agents around Minneapolis, beginning in Dinkytown and ending downtown. The path was not simply marked with clear indicators; the fun part was the creativity that went into each clue. Throughout the hunt, the agents followed such clues as an “I Saw You” ad in the City Pages and a folded cover of The Wake that spelled out “Spoke,” which lead to the next clue at Spokes Pizza. Other clues were in a van outside the Triple Rock Social Club with a fake Brother and Sister playing in back and a hotel room complete with a dude lounging in boxers. For the trickier clues, or just directions, a special help line was set up. BROTHER AND SISTER WHEN: 8 p.m. April 1 WHERE: Minneapolis College of Art and Design, 2501 Stevens Ave. S., Minneapolis TICKETS: Free, all ages ALBUM: “Brother and Sister” 10-inch LP LABEL: Xylem Records The most impressive part of the hunt was the elaborate planning involved. Finally, after 1 1/2 to two hours running from clue to clue all over Minneapolis, the evil wench was captured and both Brother and Sister were found. The hunt concluded at the Downtown YWCA, in the pool. It was a pool party! While Brother and Sister rocked out — the tiled room giving them an even bigger arena rock sound — the agents relaxed in the hot tub or jumped into the pool. Though the release was by far the most extravagant Brother and Sister show, the concerts are never typical. Even without the scavenger hunt, the band’s shows always include some spectacular element. The sibling duo began, Katie Gaughan said, by choreographing an interpretive dance to Will Smith’s “Miami.” Since then, the band has always emphasized the visual element of its music. “We’re more about the performance,” Katie Gaughan said. She said the Motley Crue DVD in which Tommy Lee plays drums in a bubble that moves around the crowd is an influence. Brother and Sister began to play together when Katie Gaughan was in high school, in Ringwood, Ill., and Michael Gaughan was in college at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Now, both live in Minneapolis, where they can devote more energy to the band. During the last year or so, the duo has played some of the most exuberant shows in the Twin Cities, filled with conga lines, freeze-dance games and chant-along lyrics. “We played a show where Michael was in a harness and played the whole show upside down. People would push him back and forth,” Katie Gaughan said. Michael Gaughan added, “I thought it would be like Peter Pan, but it was more like a pinata.” Daily Hard-core: An unidentified member of the crowd at the Brother and Sister pool party screams into the microphone after jumping out of the pool In another famous stunt, the band made guitars out of hard candy (such as Jolly Ranchers) and vegan Rice Krispies. Both the audience and band members were able to eat the instruments during the concert. In the works, Michael Gaughan received a Jerome Grant to make what he calls a “hellicaster” — a combination of a model helicopter and a telecaster guitar. He said he hopes to create a flying guitar. It’s easy to concentrate on all the crazy performances of Brother and Sister, but the music should certainly not be denied. The songs all contain a goofy and playful quality. One track in particular has the siblings yelling repeatedly, cheerleader style, “B-E-S-T-S-I-S-T-E-R-E-V-E-R!” “Nothing is just truly a joke, though,” Katie Gaughan said. “ ‘Give it to the Dogs’ is about consumption.” Michael Gaughan added, “We sing about any topic but not about relationships or sex.” After the success of the rescue show, Brother and Sister said, they hope to throw another scavenger-type event, possibly in the summer. “We’re not being very economical, but those are usually the most fun shows,” Michael Gaughan said. Katie Gaughan said, “We think of it as throwing a big party.”
Read the rest of the article at: Find Your Own Fun
"Though the release was by far the most extravagant Brother and Sister show, the concerts are never typical. Even without the scavenger hunt, the band's shows always include some spectacular element."
CITY PAGES BLOG ENTRY
In Da Pool (Extended 12" Remix)
I love scavenger hunt movies. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Rat Race, Follow That Birdčpretty much any movie where there's a pot of gold at the end of the road trip rainbow. So while I was excited about Brother and Sister's rescue mission/record release show, Hollywood had already set some pretty high expectations. (For example, I†was hoping†to pilot a prop plane). The funny thing is the local siblings came through in fulfilling my scavenger hunt fantasy (minus the plane). I think the time and effort building up to two hours last Friday night deserve a little more credit than a simple concert review blurb....
Read the rest of the review at: This is Pop
They Were Lost But Now They're Found
There was a good chance that getting to Brother and Sister's record release show last Friday night would be at least half the fun. As prelude to the show, the local duo led about 100 fans through an impressively well-planned scavenger hunt. Over the course of two hours, the band's conspirators led patrons to a guy sitting around a hotel room in his boxers, Brother and Sister look-alikes rocking out in the back of a Budget van, and a "wench" wearing an eye patch. All this just to find out where the show was. But here's the best part: On arrival at the top of a downtown Minneapolis parking ramp, we were told that we'd be walking a few blocks to the YWCA--for a pool party. Sure enough, Michael and Katie Gaughan played their mock hair metal on the slippery deck while everyone who brought a swimsuit as instructed took a dip. As sound rang deafeningly off the tiles, the best chance for aural relief was an underwater handstand. But in the pauses between guitar-shredding rampages, the audience chatter settled on a consensus: This was the greatest release show of all time. --Lindsey Thomas
Link: La-La (Means I Love You)
Another interesting new act at Lee's on Saturday: Brother and Sister, a purported sibling act with the guy on guitar and vocals, and the girl on drums. Right, it's supposed to sound familiar. The twist is that the brother dresses and acts like an "I Can't Drive 55"-era Sammy Hagar, and neither of the two can really play. They make up for it with humor and pure insanity. -Chris Riemenschneider
Link: Local Music column
I have to record for digital posterity one night of excellent, wholesome fun, that I am so happy to have been a part of, here in Minneapolis. Last Friday night was the premier record release show for local band Brother & Sister (actual sibling guitar/drums duo). But this was not just any old record release show; it was a city-wide scavenger hunt to find the venue where they were playing! A limited number of one hundred people had to sign up in advance. The band placed everyone onto teams, and sent out an email the day before, giving the secret location to meet for the scavenger hunt. The majority of participants belonged to a network of friends centered around the band, so this enhanced the fun and rivalry quite a bit. The email included this list of what to bring: “A FLASH LIGHT, a Tape Measure, a piece of chalk, Gloves, a bathing suit and towel, IF YOU HAVE NOT YET e-mailed me your shoe size, DO IT TODAY!!!!! A pen (blue or red) or pencil, a cell phone, calling card, or quarters, to make phone call(s), a backpack, a photo ID, possibly a calculator, optional a cd player.” Needless to say, we were all very intrigued and excited about what was in store for us. My team included two of my friends, R and N, and three other people whom we had never met before. The meeting place was a cul de sac on the edge of Van Cleve Park near Dinkytown at 17:30. Once everyone was gathered, we met our teammates (very gung-ho young men), and all were handed manila folders (stamped CONFIDENTIAL) by a man with long hair and a homemade Anthrax jean jacket. Inside the folder were missing-persons reports on Brother and Sister, with photos of each, and a "clue workbook." Then the Anthrax dude shouted, "The first clue is up on the bridge!" and pointed to the nearby metal walkway going over the tracks. The whole crowd of people ran up there to find (#1) a professionally-printed banner with a verse on it, instructing us to copy down every third letter for the next clue. This told us to look at the back of the City Pages for an "I saw you" ad. None of our team had one, so we sped off in our two carloads to nearby Joe's Market on Como. The ad in question I had read earlier that week and had thought it amusing. It said, (#2) "I saw you on the bridge. Let's do laundry at the Tub Coin-Op. You wash, I'll fold." We had to dial 411 to find the place, and it was in nearby Dinkytown! Sitting in the laundromat, reading a newspaper, was Jon from Knifeworld! I asked if he had a clue for us, and all he said was, "Check it out," and gestured toward the machines. We looked all around until we found a dryer with a piece of paper that said BROTHER AND SISTER on it. Inside were (#3) T-shirts, each with a one-month calendar drawn on it with puffy paint. Within each day's square was written the word PEOPLE. The answer: Everyday People! A boutique a block away. N & I ran there. Sho (of Sweet J.A.P.) was working, and the other employee handed us a sealed envelope. We ran back to our team and opened it to find (#4) a computer-generated image of a bridge spanning between two piggy banks. Along the top of the bridge was a ruler, and above this, a huge letter T with people washing it. At a point toward the left side of the ruler was a red X, and at the bottom of the page it said, "X marks the spot." At the top of the page was a compass, with the top at north, etc. Wow. This had us all puzzled for a few moments until our mustachioed team leader declared, "I know exactly where this is!" And we followed him to a spot above the river overlooking a footbridge which he thought it was because of the shape. I had to point out that the picture was just meant to be an abstract bridge, which was going between two "banks," ie. the east and west banks of the U of M campus! And with the people "washing the T," the Washington Avenue bridge made more sense. This clue really did us in. Three of us sprinted to the bridge, and I almost puked because I'm not used to sprinting. We searched inside the covered walkway, and on each side but found nothing. I thought it might have to do with the tree that's all covered with hanging shoes, because it seemed to be in the right spot for the X, so our leader climbed all the way down to the River Road! But he found nothing. Then I said, "Look, those two sidewalks form an X!" So we ran over and investigated and found nothing. I knew we were looking too hard, that the answer lay right under our noses. As we ran another sweep of the bridge, I saw a huge message trampled in the snow down by the river, visible from the bridge! The snow was scant and melting, but this is what I could make out and wrote on my hand: OOMPA FLIP A RATMAN YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. We ran back to the others. After calling the tip line to complain that the snow was melting, we learned that the next clue was a yellow flyer we had to pick up on the bridge! The snow message had nothing to do with this hunt! The flyer (#5) said, "Difficult multiplication." N had the answer: Hard Times cafe! By this time we were way behind. At Hard Times, Erin Flavin met us at the door and basically told us where to go next: (#6) the Triple Rock bar. This would have been the part where we needed the tape measure, to do a Mad-magazine style "fold-in" on the back of a certain periodical to find the clue. At the Triple Rock, we were immediately accosted by a masked woman who forced us to put our hands up against the wall. She kidnapped two of us (I wish it would have been me!) and brought them into the back of a nearby Budget rental van, which drove around the intersection in circles. When our teammates emerged, we learned that Knifeworld was playing inside the van in the pitch dark! They handed N (#7) a child's wooden block with the letter E on it, and said the next clue was at the ATM. Block E downtown, of course! Well, you just try to casually park down there on a Friday night sometime. This is where the two factions of our team got separated. We were so far behind now that it didn't really matter anyway, so we charged diligently forward. We searched all the ATMs on the outside and found nothing. Then I got a hot tip from a friend on another team: It was inside, near the skyway. Sure enough, the next clue (#8) was a slip of paper with a sentence in which the capital letters formed the words "RAMADA INN," and underneath that was a long math equation, presumably for the room number. The calculator! N & I waited for R to come around with the car, and then we searched blindly for the Ramada. Eventually we remembered it's over by the Greyhound station. We calculated the room number. The clue workbook instructed to act natural in the hotel because the staff were not aware they were part of a scavenger hunt. In the room we found Erin's boyfriend James (apparently earlier he had been in his undies) and we had to listen to a fucked up song collage which gave the next clue (#9) a parking ramp at 14th and Harmon. We drove to the top and found a dressed-up garbage can with the intersection of the final destination (#10), which turned out to be... the YWCA! The record release show was, unbelievably, a pool party! Brother and Sister were actually performing electric rock at poolside, with 100 hipsters and punks rocking out in the water! Dude! The after-party was at Spokes Pizza, where we picked up our 10-inch vinyl and 12-inch pies. Later, R, N, & I went back to their place, smoked knife-hits of fine hash and watched my Deep Purple DVD! The next day my legs felt supernaturally stiff. Turned out I had the flu, and I didn't go outside for five days.
Read the rest of the review at: Diaryland
Imagine 30 or 40 MCAD students consuming vegetarian foods and then dancing through the hallways of the main building like so many pied pipers, jamming to the funky sounds of Brother and Sister and celebrating meat-free eating.
Sound like the material of some animation or comic major's senior project? Thanks to a few dedicated and decidedly non-carnivorous students and Spokes Pizza, such was actually the scene on Friday, October 1, National Vegetarian Day.