The Response
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The Response

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Band Rock Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Response/Last Place Champs/Somerset Live In Milwaukee 2003"

"...Ending this buzz fest, were some more Milwaukee sweethearts, The Response. This was their homecoming show after about a month spent on the road with Somerset, so I figured the band would be pretty tired and may not deliver the amazing performance as they had a month ago. I stood corrected. After opening up with the song "Cadillac 87", a mellow number off their Six EP, The Response ripped it up as usual, delivering the songs with as much energy and power as ever. The vocals were dead on, the band was bouncing around this venue like it was made for them, and they made sure that everyone in the venue knew they were glad to be home. After thanking Somerset several times over, the Response unplugged and left the stage..."
( -

"The Response write well crafted songs that put you in in the singers mind!!!"

"I cant believe this band is not signed. This is the best music to come out of milwaukee since the Promise Ring. I cant wait to see what they do in the future. Whatever it is its going to be big! They write well crafted songs that put you right in the singers mind. Im told they are even better live. Love the whole CD!!" -Kris Lofton
(Courtesy of CD Baby - D&D Management - Kris Lofton

"Great For Such a Young Band"

"Wow-- lots of talent here. Really impressed with "Until Then". It's one of those songs you can listen to fifty times in a row & not get sick of. Really hope these guys keep at it-- they're good."
(Courtesy of CD Baby - Dancing Ophelia

"Billboard Magazine Unveils Six Finalists for Disc Makers' Independent Music World Series Midwest Showcase"

Pennsauken, NJ— May 20, 2003 — Billboard Magazine has selected six acts to perform at the Midwest regional finals of Disc Makers' Independent Music World Series (IMWS) at the Elbo Room in Chicago, IL on Thursday, June 5th, 2003. After listening to over 1,300 submissions, Billboard Magazine, with the help of TAXI, the world's leading A&R company, selected The Lancaster Sound (Yukon, OK), Stephanie Dosen (Waukesha, WI), Orbert Davis (Chicago, IL), Smokin' with Superman (Madison, WI), Phat Phunktion (Middleton, WI) and The Response (Milwaukee, WI) to compete for over $35,000 in prizes and title "Top Independent Artist in the Midwest."

Produced by Disc Makers, the nation's leading CD manufacturer for independent musicians, the IMWS is the country's most exciting live music showcase series, giving musicians a unique opportunity to showcase their talents, make valuable industry contacts, and compete for over $35,000 in recording gear, instruments, CD manufacturing services, DJ equipment, and more. The showcase will be judged by local and national music industry executives, media, and celebrities, and will feature live performances from the six finalists.

IMWS showcases are held in each of four regions throughout the country (Midwest, Southeast, Northeast, and Southwest). The competition is open to all musicians not currently signed to a major record label and to all styles and genres of music. By sticking with a regional format, the IMWS helps independent musicians make an impact in their own backyard and make connections that can help advance their careers.

Ken Schlager, Vice President of Business Development for Billboard Music Group commented, "The IMWS is a great way to expose talent to high-level media and music business professionals. Billboard and The Musician's Guide to Touring & Promotion are thrilled to be involved in this program."

The six finalists for the Midwest region will be performing live at the Elbo Room to compete for a prize package that includes: Disc Makers' complete CD manufacturing package, professional Shure microphones, an Alesis multi-track recorder, Fender guitars and amps, a 5-piece drum kit with hardware from Pacific Drums and Percussion (produced by Drum Workshop), a set of Zildjian cymbals, Remo drumheads, a Gemini DJ system, a one year membership to TAXI, the world's leading A&R company, one year of web hosting from CD Baby, the most popular indie-only store in the world, and a copy of Billboard Magazine's Musician's Guide to Touring and Promotion.

"We are delighted to join forces with our friends at Billboard, Fender,, CD Baby, TAXI, and other sponsoring companies to help promote some of the top indie artists in the country," says Tony van Veen, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Disc Makers. "These artists fuel the industry and keep it vital. The IMWS is one of the ways we are able to help recognize their talents and efforts, and reward the artists for their hard work."

Disc Makers will also produce a compilation CD for each IMWS region. The CD, which will be distributed to an exclusive list of industry professionals, will include music from the six finalists and ten semi-finalist artists.

The Finalists
Orbert Davis is one of Chicago's most sought after musicians. The Jazz Trumpeter has recorded over 2,700 television and radio commercials and many record projects for notable jazz artists. He performs regularly with various groups under his name, including the critically acclaimed ensemble Orbert Davis with Strings Attached. In addition, he is co-owner of Orbark Productions, a company whose credits include projects with Atlantic, Capitol, CBS, Epic, MCA, and Warner Bros. record labels.

Smokin' with Superman, a seven-member outfit from Madison, was born in 1999 and has been turning heads with its unique blend of hip-hop, funk, R&B, and jazz ever since. With the recent release of their first full-length CD, the SWS crew is looking to "smear" themselves all over the map. For more information, go to

Phat Phunktion, a nine-piece tour de force from Middleton, combines the polish of Top 40 with the smoothness 1960's soul and the raw energy of 1970's funk. The band has taken their live show on the road throughout the Midwest, and thousands of loyal Phatheads are now spreading the word. For more information, go to

The Response, a four member rock quartet from Milwaukee, is beginning to take the Midwest by storm. Originally formed in the summer of 2000, the band's first six-song EP was released in December on upstart Milwaukee label Latest Flame Records and they have hit the road hard in support. For more information, go to

Stephanie Dosen began creating music for the piano and guitar at a young age. A classically-trained musician, her music has been described as "infectious and addictive," and has been featured on numerous radio spots, television commercials, and compilation CD's. For more information, go to

The Lancaster Sound, a small town Oklahoma band, comes from a broad range of musical influences with a nucleus of real life content. With a well-balanced mix of vocals, keys, cello and guitars, The Lancaster Sound evokes thoughts and interest for all listeners. The last year was spent revising their sound and recording the music for their debut album "The Hapless Ledger" which will be released in the summer of 2003.

Independent Music World Series Midwest Showcase Finals
When: Thursday, June 5th, 2003 - Doors Open at 8:00pm, 21+, $5 cover charge
Where: Elbo Room
2871 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 549-5549
( - IMWS Press Releases

"Making a punk-edged Response"

The Response

Who's who

Steve K. (guitar and vocals), Peter P. (guitar and vocals), The Jesus (drums) and Mikey B. (bass). The band members answered our questions as a group via e-mail.

When formed

Summer of 2000. Steve joined the band in January 2002.

Web site

Most recent album

"The Six EP" was released last December; it's available at the east side and Brookfield locations of The Exclusive Company, Atomic Records, and online at www.cdbaby.comor the band's Web site.

They say they sound like

"Newer Jimmy Eat World and Foo Fighters - 'Colour and the Shape' matched with the guitar styling of Coheed and Cambria with hooks similar to that of Brand New's 'Your Favorite Weapon.' "

We say they sound like

The Next Big Thing when it comes to hook-friendly but cathartic punk-edged rock - think a more intimate Foo Fighters meets a more raw Ataris.

Describe your look

"If Josie and the Pussycats were guys!"

Sell yourself in 20 words or less

"Get too close, we'll suck you in. We love what we do and have fun doing it - we're not half-bad, either."

Favorite food on the road

"Anything in our contract, which pretty much consists of nothing . . . so free is always good (we also prefer the ever so popular dollar menu at McDonald's)."

Unofficial band beverage

"Whiskey or water - not in that particular order."

What other band or musician could you take in a fight?

"The Attractive Female Twins because they have two girls and fight like them, too!"

First gig

"Our first show with Steve was at the Cactus Club, March 9, 2002, with Engine Down. We didn't know what people would think of us with a new lineup, but thanks to their curiosity the show was packed."

Worst gig

"El Paso, Texas. Extremely hot weather, cockroaches the size of your head, Steve was really sick, and nobody was there."

Weirdest fan encounter

"On our last tour we met a kid in Minneapolis who had a tattoo of our red heart logo on his chest. Yes, we have pictures to prove this."

Song you've written that you're most proud of

" 'Sweet Child O' Mine,' 'Under Pressure,' 'Rump Shaker' . . . wait, those are songs we wish we wrote. . . . Next question, please."

Favorite cover song in your live show

"See above."

Biggest band achievement

"We were named one of top six bands in the Midwest by Billboard Magazine for the Independent Music World Series. We also have successfully booked and toured the entire U.S."

Why do you do this?

"Because rock 'n' roll is a lifestyle . . . and a way of thinking, and it's not about the money and popularity . . . although some money would be nice - but it's a voice that says 'Here I am . . . and #&%@ you if you can't understand me' . . . and one of those people is going to save the world and that means rock 'n' roll can save the world . . . all of us together." (That's an "Almost Famous" quote, guys.)

Where do you want to be in five years?

"Putting out records and touring - pretty much what we are doing now, but supporting ourselves as well."

What's the greatest song ever written?

"Anything by Michael Bolton. I celebrate his entire catalog." ("Office Space" quote, guys.)

( - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Awaiting the Response"

For a band that has played shows with groups like Story of the Year, Braid, The Stereo, Superdrag and Motion City Soundtrack and has played in front of Summerfest and Warped Tour crowds, a local band show at a college might not seem like anything to get excited about, but that isn’t the case for Milwaukee-based band The Response.

“College shows are great,” lead singer and guitarist Steve Kerwin said. Drummer Jesus Zuniga agreed and said that the size of the crowd is not important. They always have a good time.

“That’s our favorite thing to do. The most fun that we’ll have the whole night is when we’re on stage,” guitarist Peter Philip said. “We even rock out when we’re in practice. We’ll all jump around like idiots.”

Oshkosh rock fans can witness The Response jump around in person this Thursday beginning at 8 p.m. in the Titan Underground in Reeve Memorial Union with Drago as a part of local band night. The band has played in the Fox Valley area several times and is excited to return.

“I find the crowds in middle-Wisconsin are a lot more appreciative and responsive than in other places,” Philip said.

The Response’s enthusiasm for playing has not gone unnoticed by fans. They are largely regarded as one of the best live bands in Wisconsin and their shows are usually packed with anxious rock enthusiasts.

“I think people expect us to put on a really good show,” Zuniga said. He added that the band always tries to live up to that pressure from the fans even if they are sick or tired.

“We’re sincere in what we do,” Kerwin said. “All four of us just have so much fun because we love it.”

A good live show is not the only draw to see The Response. They’re also known for their unique blend of music. Like many bands, The Response has a hard time describing their music and described it with terms like melodic rock, indie-rock, rock ‘n’ roll, a rock band with punk influences and others.

“It’s like explaining color to a blind man,” Kerwin said about describing the band’s music to people who haven’t heard it.

In truth, The Response is simply a high-energy rock band that draws influences from several different genres of music including punk, indie, rock ‘n’ roll and even a little metal. Their influences range from Alkaline Trio to Brand New to Coheed and Cambria and many more, but what separates the band from similar groups is their stop-and-start song-writing style and catchy solos.

“We’re branching out,” Kerwin said. “We’re not doing the same progressions and chords and stuff.”

Fans are not the only people that have noticed The Response’s energetic live show and unique music. The band has signed a two-album record deal with Action Heights Records out of Chicago, a new record label that was started by a Victory Records employee.

“It’s a newer label,” bassist Mike Blanchard said. “We’re pretty excited to be on it.”

The label is not a subsidiary of Victory or funded in any way by it, but Action Heights can use Victory’s printing and promotion resources. The Response is excited about working with people that are easy-going and close to their age and who helped bands like Thursday and Taking Back Sunday become popular.

The Response has 11 songs written for a full-length album to follow up their 2004 split release with fellow Milwaukee band Weston and their 2002 release “The Six E.P.” They hope to record it in Green Bay’s Simple Studios next month.

“We’re ready to record,” Blanchard said. “We have all the songs. We just need to book it and do it, the sooner the better. As soon as the record gets out we’ll go on tour again.”

For the band, which has been together since 2000 (since December of 2002 with its current line-up), this record is a defining point.

“We’re all staking everything on this record coming out,” Philip said.

The members of The Response say they want to get their record out quickly, but they’re still making sure to take their time and do the record right.

“I think this CD is going to be awesome,” Zuniga said. “We want to get it out as soon as possible, but at the same time we want to take our time and make it really good.”

Regardless of how the album’s production and release go, Kerwin said The Response is sure to be around for a long time because they are as much four good friends as they are a band.

“We’re going to do this album and keep going from there,” Kerwin said. “We’re all just having fun with it right now.” - Jared Blohm
( - Advance Titan Newspaper - UW-Oshkosh

"The Response"

The Response is one of the best bands in Milwaukee. The songs are generally rocking in terms of dynamics, and complex fortunately without bordering on prog-rock. Some may dare to label the music of The Response as "emo," but by doing that, one would be ignoring the fact that this band exemplifies a sense of humor along with their extraordinary musicianship. While The Response may not display a radio-ready sound on "The Six EP," their sound would certainly appeal to fans of Brand New's "Your Favorite Weapon" album. It is rough while sincere and sure to have you shouting along by your fourth listen. Darren Paltrowitz
( - Maximum Ink Music Magazine

"The Response record release party"

Posted: Dec. 20, 2007

The songs on The Response's first full-length release "With Friends Like You, Who Needs Enemies?" are hook-filled, tightly wound, pop-rock ditties, harkening back to a time when emo wasn't a slag, and it didn't bring to mind boys wearing eyeliner, mussed-up hair and skinny pants.

That is probably because "we've been playing these songs for a really long time," bassist Mike Blanchard said.

The Response formed in 2001, when its members - which included guitarist Peter Rogers and singer Steve Kerwin - were in their early 20s. They did everything next-big-things were supposed to do: They opened for national acts such as Superdrag, Nada Surf and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. They toured around California and New York City. And in 2004, the band signed with Chicago indie label Action Heights.

The group began working on the songs in "With Friends Like You, Who Needs Enemies?" in 2004, but legal problems forced the label to close shop while the band was halfway done with the album.

"The good news was we didn't have to pay back what we already spent on the album," Blanchard said.

The bad news? Well, The Response was having none of it. The members pulled themselves together and finished the album on their own, pooling money together and paying for studio time on the weekends.

The foursome finished the rough mixes by summer 2007, in Kerwin's bedroom. Just as they were finishing the album, they recruited a new drummer, Jon Kraft, from Since By Man.

Playing the Turner Hall Ballroom stage with great supporting acts will be a good catharsis, Blanchard says. "Our record release is something we've worked our whole careers for."

Apparently, emotional roller coasters serve the band well. There are plans to write new songs and tour in the spring. "We used to tour in winter until we ran our van and a trailer into a ditch," Blanchard said.

Afterward? Blanchard's Christmas wish list has only three things: "Play as many shows as we can, make a living off playing music and tour around the country."

- - MKE Magazine

"The New Face of Milwaukee Emo? - The Response Fits the Bill (In a Good Way)"

December 20, 2007
While recently re-watching Rushmore, Steve Kerwin realized with some dismay that a memorable line in the film bears an unintentional resemblance to the title of his band's latest album, With Friends Like You, Who Needs Enemies?

That's not to say that his band, The Response, has a policy against pop-culture references. On the contrary, they embrace them. The first song on With Friends Like You, "I've Made a Huge Mistake," evokes an oft-repeated lament from the cult sitcom "Arrested Development." Another song title, "…I'm Lloyd Dobler," pays homage to John Cusack's geeky boast in Say Anything.

Rushmore, however, carries certain connotations. In recent years, the film has played muse to a horde of modern-rock and emo-bands, like My Chemical Romance, Motion City Soundtrack and, most notoriously, Fall Out Boy, the titans of contemporary emo.

Even without the shared interest in Wes Anderson's oeuvre, The Reponse is already fighting off comparisons to Fall Out Boy. Little matter that The Reponse eschews ostentatious choruses and meathead power chords a la Fall Out Boy; the bands share enough cursory traits—spiky guitars, punkish enthusiasm, earnest lyrics and wordy, farcical song titles—to keep those comparisons coming.

Kerwin says that he doesn't take particular offense to The Response being labeled emo (although he concedes, with all due respect, that "if people were to keep saying we sounded like Fall Out Boy, I guess the four of us would try to rethink what we're doing"). Kerwin says his band takes inspiration from modern-rock staples like the Foo Fighters, and '90s favorites like Jimmy Eat World and The Get Up Kids. In a sense, they carry the torch of Milwaukee's emo forefathers, The Promise Ring and The Benjamins, but they're more likely to be lumped in with new-school emo acts like The Starting Line and Hawthorne Heights.

The Response's trendier, radio-ready sound actually makes them an oddity locally. In Milwaukee's fiercely individualistic music scene, local bands with allegiances to semi-obscure sub-genres of underground music far outnumber those in step with the commercial rock depicted on MTV2 and promoted by Alternative Press. "We just want to let fans of this music know that a band like us really does exist in Milwaukee," Kerwin says.

Although The Response has been playing together since 2001, the group is emerging from something of a hibernation. Three years ago, a small independent label promised to foot the bill for the group's new album, only to dissolve midway through the recording process, leaving the band with the tab. Demoralized, the group ceased writing songs and scaled back on concerts, falling out of the local music scene's consciousness. They finally rallied the energy and the funds to complete the album this year, recording parts of it in Kerwin's bedroom using microphones strewn between piles of dirty laundry.

The band will have a chance to reintroduce themselves to Milwaukee this weekend, when they play a show at the Turner Hall Ballroom, one of the largest venues in Milwaukee that hosts local concerts.

- - Shephard Express by Evan Rytlewski

"Heeding to the call of The Response"

Published Dec. 19, 2007 at 5:15 a.m.

It's been a long time coming. The better part of a decade has passed since The Response formed here in Milwaukee, and in local band years, that span usually translates to "disbanded."

Interestingly enough, for The Response, it's turned out to mean, "We're ready," and what the band has to share with us Saturday has been well worth the wait.

"With Friends Like You, Who Needs Enemies?" -- the foursome's first official full-length album -- surfaces Dec. 22, and the band celebrates with a record release show at Turner Hall Ballroom. Fable & The World Flat, From The Headline and Kid and You'll Move Mountains round out the bill.

For the last six years The Response has featured singer / guitar player Steve Kerwin, bass player Mikey Blanchard, guitar player / backing vocalist Peter Rogers and drummer Jesus Zuniga. Earlier this fall, however, the band parted ways with Zuniga, replacing him with drummer Jon Kraft, formerly of Since By Man.

"We've always been friends with Jon, so our dynamic is just the same as before, only now we get to play together," says Kerwin. "We love and miss Jessie (Jesus) and couldn't have done a lot of what we accomplished without him, but now the group is a little more on the same page."

And what that page consists of is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the band is a powerful pop force, flying through punchy anthems with strained, yet harmonized, vocal chords and commanding sarcasm.

On the other hand, what makes this music retain its sense of independence and intrigue is actually its sense of subtlety. A careful listener soon discovers -- under thick layers of indie rock aggression -- jazzy intros blanketed in honest insight and soft edges displaying a damaged heart on a stained shirt sleeve.

But, whether the members of The Response are pushing power chords or poetry, there's no denying that these guys know their way around a hook. "With Friends Like You, Who Needs Enemies?" plays out like a trip through time -- not in the sense that it sounds dated, but rather like its rich in personal history. Two the songs from the split EP the band did with the emo-esque band Welton a few years back -- "War of the Roses" and "If You Only Knew" -- have been revisited to make the album cut.

"Most of the songs on the record were written at the same time, if not before we started recording it -- which was a while ago," says Blanchard. "So for us, the record tells the story of us struggling to get this record out. Some of the songs are a little dated, but reminds us of where we were then, as a band and as individuals. On the other hand, it turns over a new leaf as to what we're still capable of and what we want to do."

With the record finally released, the band is on to new projects, including a video for "Alright, Who Wants A Mustache Ride?," featuring the band on a bike tour de Milwaukee, with some familiar sights -- Comet Café's delicious Bloody Marys, the UWM Union and a snack at Brady Street's Dogg Haus.

Yep, The Response is true blue Brew City, and it shows. Then again, with a promising debut album on the loose, who knows where it might end up?

"We're not on a label for now," says Rogers. "We wouldn't be here without help from Milwaukee's Latest Flame, or Action Heights Records, but since they disbanded, we've been free-agents ... so hint, hint."

- - by Julie Lawrence


the Six E.P. (2003)
Welton/The Repsonse Split (2004)
With Friends Like you, Who Needs Enemies? (2007)
Untitled E.P. (Summer 2011)



The Response formed in January 2002. Taking the stage by April, The Response headlined Milwaukee's Cactus Club-"...destroying a packed house, and introducing themselves as an important part of the ever growing Milwaukee rock n' roll community." The Response has since shaped themselves into a tighter, more focused unit-writing songs featuring catchy, intricate beats, thunderous low-end, amazing guitar lines, and vocal melodies that will replay in your head, but in that good way...and you will start to see what they wanted you to see and hear what they wanted you to hear...leaving you wanting more. Playing everywhere from coffee shops and college campuses, to The Metro in Chicago and playing with new acts such as Story of the Year, Coheed & Cambria, Hey Mercedes,
Superdrag, The Stereo, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Motion City Soundtrack, and successfully touring the U.S. from coast to well as gracing the stages of Milwaukee's own Summerfest...The Response are not showing any signs of slowing down.
Already having two EP's under their belts, the boys just released their first full-length; "With Friends Like You, Who Needs Enemies?" and it's already stirring up some talk around town. Bottom line is...four guys with completely different musical backgrounds shouldn't get along as well as these guys do, but their chemistry shines through not only in the music they write, but in their fun and extremely energetic live shows. Do yourself a favor...give them the chance to leave you wanting more...they will.