|News & Editorial Archives,
► Polka Music vs. Pop Music
There are lots
of reasons why I've added the production of contemporary music to my
repertoire. Here are 8,427 of them:
► Redesigned Website
By now, I'm sure
you've noticed that my website looks quite different. I've maintained
site's design specs from before, but changed all of the graphics. My
reason for doing that is to more accurately market myself as an
musician/composer than just the leader of a polka band. My website
needs to convey that I create music both inside and outside of the
► The Death Knell for Compact Discs
Has Officially Rung
From its peak
popularity in 2001 to now, the compact disc has declined in sales by
88%. CDs are still the most popular format for polka music, but music
purchases by polka fans throughout Southeast Wisconsin have finally
dwindled to the point where manufacturing CDs is no longer economically
viable for most bands.
In 2001, I released my best-selling CD which sold over a thousand
copies. Prior to that and for several years after, sales of compact
discs always turned a profit. In 2014, however, I barely broke even
with Polka Pontoon. Two years later, I ended up taking a bath
with The Holidays in Music. In 2018, I had hoped to
reverse the trend with Positively Polka, but even with
top-notch musicianship and local radio advertising, retail sales of the
CD were abysmally low. The CDs are expected to be gone by the end of
summer, and when they are, I will have fallen short of breaking even.
There was a time when I could make one trip around Wisconsin's
Southeastern polka club circuit promoting a newly-released CD, and sell
over fifty copies. Now I'd be very lucky to sell ten. I used to
sell CDs to music fans all over the country, but even those
out-of-state sales have dried up as well. Needless to say, the sales of
compact discs have slumped so low, it is no longer practical for me to
release music on CD.
There are a lot of reasons for this trend, but the main one is that
most of the fans and dancers who used to buy polka CDs have either
passed away or aged beyond their traveling years. Some bands are still
able profit from CD sales depending on their popularity, extent of
their travels, style of music, and other factors, but they are the
exception to the rule. For your average, locally-based, Slovenian-style
polka band, spending a couple thousand dollars or more on a
professional studio production is no longer a recoverable expense.
There just aren't enough people buying polka CDs to justify the
investment of making them.
The alternative to recording and releasing albums on compact disc, and
one which I and other musicians are embracing, is to record singles and
release them individually via digital distribution. Instead of
recording a whole album of songs and ending up with a huge studio bill
and a box full of unsold CDs, a band can record just one or two songs
and share them with the world through music subscription services and
There are not yet many polka music fans using their phones or computers
to stream polkas on sites like Pandora, but this is how mainstream music
is distributed these days.
Since 2016, I have been digitally distributing my music all over the
world, garnering loyal listeners from Sweden to Singapore. In lieu of
CD sales, I earn money through performance royalties and song
When the last of my Positively Polka CDs sell out at Polka
Connection and the Mollie
B Store, it will officially herald the end of the
compact disc era
for me. With possible exceptions such as fundraisers and giveaways, all
of my future music productions will be released online only. If you want to buy my
music on compact disc, this is your final chance to get a copy of Positively
Speaking of future music productions, I have a brand new contemporary
pop single coming out this spring which features a powerhouse singer
from Chicago and talented rapper from Milwaukee. I was originally
planning for a March release, but the singer came down with bronchitis.
She is set to record her parts in early April, so the song is expected
to drop around the third week of April barring any additional delays. I
am also going to be collaborating with an incredible singer from
Milwaukee on a Christmas single to be released in December. Neither of
these songs will be in the polka genre, but please be assured I will be
producing more polka music down the road.
► Caravan of Destitute Cleveland Musicians
Nearly a dozen polka musicians
from Cleveland, OH, desperate to find work, packed their instruments
into their cars and embarked on a 450-mile journey to Milwaukee
yesterday. Their hope for a better life quickly took a turn for the
worse soon after pulling into the parking lot of the Blue Canary on
"They don't look very open," remarked accordionist Ronnie Tercik as his
car became stuck in shrubs growing out of the parking lot.
Drummer Stan Demrovich walked around to the front of the building to
knock on the door but quickly returned with a somber look on his face.
"There is no door. And I was assaulted by a pack of raccoons. I'm
pretty sure this place is
Twenty minutes later, the caravan of cars pulled into the parking lot
of Perko's Lounge on 54th & Burnham. A pile of cigarette butts
around the back of the building gave everyone hope that maybe Gentleman
Jim was still playing there, but the boarded-up windows adorned with
Latino gang graffiti and bullet holes indicated otherwise.
The musicians got into their cars one more time and headed out to the
suburbs, stopping at the Walgreens pharmacy on Hwy 100 & Layton to
ask where they could find the Melody Bar.
"I'm sorry. I wish I could help you guys, but I've never heard of the Melody Bar,"
said store manager Craig Struhle, 44, "and I've lived here my whole
With all hope lost, the musicians faced the reality of the situation.
Bass player Rudy Belgaszic let out a big sigh. "That's it. We're done.
Milwaukee is just as dried up as Cleveland. We might as well head back
to... wait! I just remembered something! What about the Polka Palace?!?"
With renewed excitement, everyone jumped back into their cars and
zoomed down to Milwaukee's South Side to their new destination:
► Back in Style — Turtlenecks with Gold
|It was an iconic look for men
that faded in the late 1970s, yet, it somehow remained a staple of
polka musicians' and dancers' wardrobes well into the 21st century —
it's the turtleneck and gold chain ensemble, and it's finally come back
Most polka musicians and dancers over the age of 55 likely own
turtlenecks and gold chains from years past, but younger musicians will
no longer have to scope out these fashionable duds at second-hand
stores. As of this spring, Macy's, Kohl's, and Neinman Marcus
department stores will begin carrying the "Polka Night" line of
clothing from the Sylvester Cyrwiarczesky Collection, which can be
found in the men's department between Giorgio Armani and Tommy Hilfiger.
"This is great news!" said Bob Kolbe, 65, an avid polka dancer from
Glaucoma, Wisconsin. Kolbe, sporting blue denim shorts with white
tennis shoes and tube socks, boasted of his collection of gold chains. "I have about a dozen chains going
back fifty years. One of of them I found on the street while standing
in line to see Star Wars.
"My favorite chain," Kolbe reminisced, "was given to me by my father in
1975. I asked where he got it, but he wouldn't tell me. On the back is
an inscription that says 'Property of Deney Terrio'."
prescription glasses with thick frames, however, are expected to remain
out of fashion for an indefinite period of time.
► Dodge Announces New Caravan Model for
Trusted by soccer
moms for over three decades, the dependable Dodge Caravan is now
available in a new design for musicians on the go. The 2019 Dodge
Caravan MTV (Musician Transport Vehicle) is a stylish vehicle boasting
a winning combination of retro looks and sophisticated engineering.
design inspired by 1989 Caravan, complete with missing hubcap and faux
rust bubbles, assures MTV will blend in with the rest of your band's
sound system features CD changer, cassette player, 8-track player, and
pop-up 7" reel-to-reel tape deck.
GPS navigation automatically disregards car ferries, toll bridges, and
other route options musicians can't afford.
doors have been proactively disabled since they always break anyway.
ITIGBS Panic Button simultaneously
opens all six side windows. (ITIGBS stands for "I Think I'm Gonna Be
seat features a USB charging port, two ash trays, and three beverage
holders: 12 oz, 16 oz, and 20 oz.
air induction vents around driver's side window ensure driver's breath
cannot be smelled outside vehicle.
goes from 0 to 60 MPH in 9.5 seconds. More importantly, it goes from 85
to 55 MPH in just under one second.
safety straps ensure accordion cases will not tip over or slide around.
(Straps do not fit button box cases. As if that matters.)
loading helps you configure optimum equipment placement, and
automatically alerts you when you end up with less equipment than what
you started with. Special "Yankovic Mode" alerts you when you end up
with more equipment than what you started with.
in-cabin noise cancellation system is specifically tuned to clanging
cymbals, rattling drum hardware, and snoring.
in headliner let you mount up to six Polka Hall of Fame award plaques.
(Plaques not included. Plaques may be easily obtained by becoming a
rear bumper made of high-impact steel is engineered to absorb low-speed
collisions with trees, brick walls, stage doors, tent posts, entitled
bicyclists, and your wife's car.
1,500-lumen LED reverse lights can be manually engaged to tell the
idiot driver behind you his high beams are on.
square headlights are field-replaceable in the event of a deer strike.
All MTVs sold at dealerships within 25 miles of New Glarus, WI come
with a dozen spare headlights.
side sun visor features a convenient fold-out citation organizer.
Special financing for musicians is available at your local
Dodge-Chrysler dealer. To receive a low rate of 3.99% APR, please bring
your Moose membership, AARP membership, or Old Country Buffet Senior
Citizen Discount card to your dealer. To receive an even lower rate,
show them your Polka Hall of Fame membership card. To receive the "Pity
Rate" (the absolute lowest rate allowed by federal law) show them your
► Steve Meisner (Finally) Named Official
Spokesperson for Korbel Brandy
congratulations to bandleader Steve Meisner for landing this
prestigious, new gig!