Mohr Ave.
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Mohr Ave.

Racine, Wisconsin, United States

Racine, Wisconsin, United States
Band Rock Alternative


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"Mohr than Music"

The members of Mohr Ave. are working hard to put themselves on the Racine music map. Having formed less than a year ago, the band started playing together soon after old friends and guitarists Miguel Villarreal and Andy Borth found they both still enjoyed playing live.

The former McKinley Middle School (located on Mohr Avenue) students were soon joined by Josh Edwards (son of local legend Roy Edwards) on drums and Charlie Bussian on bass and vocals.

“We practiced for a month and we played our first show in my back yard for my birthday (June 29) in front of like 65 people, and we had a bouncy castle and all that stuff,” said Villarreal, who is a graphic designer for The Journal Times.

“It was my 25th so we had to rock out really hard. And then we played a battle at the Rave; that was like our first real show.”

Since that first back yard show, Mohr Ave. has put on 10 performances and added a fifth member to their group, bassist Ryan Neff. Using his computer, Villarreal typically begins the band’s creative process by composing a guitar riff or baseline for the others to hear. They then play “Dr. Frankenstein” with the components they will be responsible for and Bussian (now lead vocalist only) writes all of the lyrics.

In all, the group has about a dozen songs they will play live, with another 10 or so they are currently refining.

Sandwiched between the Elusive Parallelograms and Killing Dick Phefer in the 8:30 p.m. slot at Michigan’s Pub, Mohr Ave. will be a part of the opening acts for headliner The Andes, a band they personally admire.

“It’s hard to book us with certain groups because there’s not a lot of bands in Racine, in the local area that fit our little niche,” Borth, 25, said.

Maybe best described as a foot thumping, sometimes head thrashing, electric, smooth, poppy rock band, Mohr Ave. blends an array of talent and taste with meaningful vocals and a desire to never be dated.

“Somebody said it’s kind of reminiscent of alternative 90s with more of a modern twist to it,” Villarreal said. The best descriptor may be this: If the band were on the radio, their songs would be heard on FM 102.1 in Milwaukee.

Making a record

Currently trying to record a demo CD their music in a friend’s home studio, the band has seven drum tracks completed and are looking to finish an album with a handful of songs on it for distribution at their shows.

“We’re trying to make a good three-song demo, to send to as many labels as we can,” Villarreal said while discussing the band’s hopes of getting signed.

Although making it big is a shared dream, the members of the band seem content to get together in the cold, dingy basement of Grandma B’s (Villarreal’s girlfriend’s grandmother, who is spends her winters in Florida) and rock out for a few hours a week.

“The guys in the band; I just kind of meshed well with, we all really mesh well, I’d say we’re all really good friends … there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for these guys,” Borth said.

After their show at Michigan’s, Mohr Ave. is scheduled to perform March 14 at Shank Hall in Milwaukee and April 11 at the Pub on Wisconsin.

Of course, Mohr Ave. isn’t the only group with something new - The Racine Journal Times

"Brew City Sludge - February 2008"

Racine's Mohr Ave. revisits the alternative rock sound of the 90's with a fresh and innovative approach. Simplicity is complicated by texture at a level that remains accessible. Musically, there is enough punk edge to keep it jumpy with a complimentary drive that opens things up. Youth, vigor, and just the right amount of angst provide the energy. Solid musicianship and smart song writing keep things controlled enough to create a product that is marketable and radio ready. These boys aren't trying to re-invent the wheel…they're just putting their guts into it. I like that.

-Lane Klozier
- Maximum Ink


Scenes in Black and White - Available Now on iTunes



Starting off as just simple riffs and ideas, Mohr Ave. comes together and create a unique sound that appeals to all types of audiences.

It all started with a small vision that Miguel Villarreal had when playing around with some recording software on his computer. He created a few rough ideas of some songs and looked to Andy Borth to help him out on his project. Andy added his own unique guitar styling to the pre-existing music and it took off from there. They both set out a search to fill the remaining spots.

Charlie Bussian took up the vocal position right away having been in a previous band with Miguel. After a little search for a bass player Ryan Neff stepped in and threw his spin on the rhythm section. The final slot took a little bit of shuffling around of people, but Dave Church was clearly the go to man on the drums. Now the lineup was set and it was time to take each persons style and put it in the music.

Miguel's vast influences all work their way into the songs as he lays down the groundwork for a song idea. He likes to keep the guitars simple but energetic. Lots of chords and simple leads that add texture but don't over complicate things.

Andy then grabs the idea and throws himself into it. He adds the next layer of guitar work on top to give the music the substance and drive. He can wail away at a lead that adds depth to the song, or sit back and strum away at the rhythm.

Ryan's bass work is reminiscent of the 80's style bass lines with a lot of lead work, tied into heavy pounding rhythm riffs that keep the pulse beating but putting yet another texture that isn't transparent, but cleverly disguised. He can go from root note chugging to hammer on and pull offs without disrupting the flow of the music.

Dave then adds the complete backbone of the music. He can vary his styles to fit every mood, every groove and every feel of the song without making things too simple or overly complicated.He keeps the beat driving and stomping and adds all the little flavors that make each song stand out.

And lastly Charlie throws his heart and soul into every last line of his songs. Taking on the lyrical responsibility, Charlie writes about life and struggle and love. From songs of heartbreak, to child birth, to his beliefs on war and corporate America, Charlie paints pictures through his words and melodies and you can hear that come through in his voice.

With the mix of these five guys and what they put into the music, the outcome is all their own. They try to keep the music unique but tangible. Something to give to everybody. Whether you like hard rock or melodic pop, they try to throw it all in the mix. They work hard to keep the music tight so you can enjoy every minute of it.