Brother Louie
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Brother Louie

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Band Rock Pop


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Louie Lucchesi
Second Hand Smoke

Louie Lucchesi has sung for years with Milwaukee rock bands, honing a voice capable of registering doubt, regret and pain as well as ecstasy. For his new CD, he collected some of the city's crack players--including guitarists Mike Hoffmann, Jeff Hamilton and Scott Finch, cellist melaniejane and drummer Bo Conlon--and handed them a few of his favorite songs. Some, including two of the standouts, are his own. The rest come from diverse sources, including Jeff Buckley, Jimmy Gnecco (whom many compare to Buckley), Roxy Music and Todd Rundgren. Second Hand Smoke balances romance with swagger, rock chops with rock abandon.
Lucchesi's lyrics tend toward the cinematic. The narrator of "Adrenaline" has pushed "beyond control, beyond pain" as chemicals shoot through his system and images from old movies flicker in his mind. "Eyes Don't Lie" indicts TV news and the Bush administration (while applauding great filmmaking), as its great, gently rolling melody builds to a powerful refrain about the unmistakable signs of truth and deceit.
It's a marker of Lucchesi's generous spirit that he covers one of the greatest songs ever written by a Milwaukeean, Mike Frederickson's "Rope of Desire" (originally recorded in the early '90s on a Mosleys' CD). The solemn Americana beat and grave lyrics suggest young John Fogarty at the peak of his game; the rueful words consider the tangle of desire that can bind even the strongest person to the misery of failed love.
--Dave Luhrssen
- Milwaukee's Shepherd Express

"Second Hand Smoke review"

Fans of late 80s and early 90s local rock may remember Louie Lucchesi as the frontman of the sublimely slick and criminally overlooked Crime Family, an assemblage of hot-shot local players who brought a slice of Roxy Musicesque pop to our fair city.

Then as now, Louie Lucchesi gets my hands down vote as this city's best kept secret. I'm tellin ya, this guy is a singer, a vocal stylist whose prowess with his pipes is matched only by his song writing skills. When he's not flexing his flair for melody and poetic lyricism, Lucchesi showcases his ability to root out a fantabulous pop song. Todd Rundgren, Bryan Ferry, and the Mosleys own Mike Fredickson, are among the tunesmiths that get a tip from Louie's hat, and in all cases, he bends and shapes their creations and makes them his own. Fredickson's 'Rope of Desire' and Roxy Music's hit, 'Love is the Drug' are especially brilliant.

Mike Hoffman and Scott Finch took turns producing, which makes the disc sonically spotty in places, but crack performances by such local stalwarts as Jeff Hamilton, Rich Thomas, Paul Ryan, Bo Conlon, Chris Lehmann, and brother Joe Lucchesi more than save that slight flaw. The CD is available at - Riverwest Currents

"Lucchesi brings own brand of Italian music to Festa"

By Molly Snyder Edler Staff Writer

July 17, 2009

In 2004, after a decade away from the Milwaukee music scene, singer Louie Lucchesi returned with a new vision and a new album called "Second Hand Smoke" featuring seven cover songs and a few originals.

Lucchesi's band, Brother Louie, plays a noon show at Festa Italiana on Sunday, July 19, and although the group found its niche on the festival circuit, Lucchesi says it isn't a classic cover band.

"We approach our band as an original music band. We are really in the moment, not just going through the motions," says Lucchesi. "And I think we're edgier than some of the other popular cover bands in Milwaukee."

Brother Louie includes Howard Ellis on guitar, Chris Lehman on drums and Johnny Washday on bass. The band tributes Roxy Music, David Bowie, Todd Rundgren and The Beatles -- among others -- but they also play a fair share of original songs, too.

"There are two scenes in Milwaukee: the original music scene and the festival scene. We are trying to walk the thin line between both," says Lucchesi.

Lucchesi is particularly psyched about the upcoming show at Festa Italiana because the popular ethnic festival does not book a lot of contemporary rock bands. The July 19 gig is Brother Louie's first appearance at Festa.

"As an Italian pop singer, people might expect me to sing the Rat Pack, but my background is really varied, so for me it wouldn't be true to come out and sing 'New York, New York'," he says.

Although Brother Louie's style of music is a shift from most of the talent at Festa, Lucchesi is confident the audience will receive him positively.

"It's about celebrating the Italian artist for who and what they are and not pigeon-holing them to be one thing just because that's the expectation," he says.

Lucchesi grew up in Milwaukee and moved to Manhattan in 1980 to pursue photography and music. He documented the burgeoning New York City street art scene and his photographs were published in Spin magazine and The New York Times.

Lucchesi formed a band Blue and Red and performed at iconic New York City clubs like The Bitter End, Tramps and CBGB. During this time he hung out with a lot of poets and musicians, including David Johansen (aka Buster Poindexter) of the New York Dolls.

"I got to know some of my musical heroes and see them perform on their own turf," he says.

In 1990, Lucchesi returned to Milwaukee because his mother was ill, and started a band called Crime Family. Crime Family was a rock / post-punk pop outfit with elements of rockabilly and psychedelia mixed in. The band played at places like Hooligan's, the now-defunct Celebrity Club and The Boardwalk.

"We did really well, but like so many good Milwaukee bands, we imploded and disappeared over night," he says.

After Crime Family broke up, Lucchesi's father became ill, too, so he decided it was time to take a break from music and focus on his family. However, what was only meant to be a little time off turned into 10 years, and it wasn't until 2004 that Lucchesi got serious about music again with the release of "Second Hand Smoke."

"It was a transitional record. In the process of making it, I became an interpreter (of other musician's songs)," he says.

Today, Lucchesi lives in Wauwatosa with his wife in the house where he was raised by his Italian / German mother and Italian / French father. Lucchesi says after festival season he plans to work on another album, most likely another collection of original and cover songs.

"The new album will be interpretive and contemporary," he says.


Louie Lucchesi-Second Hand Smoke
Louie Lucchesi's Crime Family-Running in the Rain



Brother Louie formed in early 2005 and debuted in June of that year. With a mixture of 70's and 80's hits, the band has performed at many of Southeastern Wisconsin's top festivals including Summerfest, Harley Fest, River Splash, A Taste of Summer, the Bay View Bash, the Brady St. Festival, the Locust St. Festival, Festa Italiana, Chill on the Hill and at The Northern Lights Theatre. With a wide range of influences, the band covers everything from The Band’s ‘The Weight’ to David Bowie’s ‘Fame’. Four-part harmonies give the band a classic sound

For more info you can reach us by phone at 414-839-9155 or e-mail us at