Getting ‘fresh’ with Freshwater Collins CCollins

Jessica Wagner and Jessica Wagner

It seems to be a great year for Milwaukee’s Best, and no, I’m not talking about the beer.

Freshwater Collins, the band with big sounds from the Midwest, is back again with a follow-up to their 2001 LP release, Lean Back.

The BG News got to sit and talk with lead singer/guitarist Chris Vos about rock and roll, road trips and Robert Plant.

Jess Wagner: When did you guys meet?

Chris Vos: The band formed in the summer of ’97, but we didn’t start touring nationally until 2002. We were a college band … you know.

JW: Where did you get your [band] name from?

CV: Well, I have this false story that I always tell that I’ll spare you that I was really drunk one night and everybody loves it, but when I tell them the real story, they are extremely disappointed (laughs). So I’ll just tell you the real story. I was an English major and also a biology major in college, and I was writing a paper on some stuff for a science project, and I came across this fresh water find. It just kinda clicked in my head, and I turned around and saw this guy with a Collin’s Brewery T-shirt, and I thought, “Those three words go together well.” But we ended up just making it into two.

JW: Do you think this seems like a job to you?

CV: I think if it doesn’t–if you don’t make it seem like a job–then you’re not working hard enough. I mean, playing obviously isn’t a job, but you still take it very seriously. It’s not a party for me. I think the only bands that survive are the ones that are willing to work hard.

JW: I saw that you guys have played with Robert Plant [lead singer of Led Zeppelin]. What was that like?

CV: Well, it was in our hometown in the Eagle’s Ballroom, in Milwaukee. When I was 16, I saw the Smashing Pumpkins there and I remember standing on the floor of the Eagle’s Ballroom thinking [I would be up there] someday, and eight years later, standing there opening for Robert Plant–I will never forget standing on the side of that stage looking out over a sold-out crowd. We got to hang out with Robert for a very long time. He came up to us and said, “You guys are in that opening band aren’t you?” and I was like, yeah–you know, trying to play it cool. We threw him one of our albums, and he was wearing snakeskin boots, old, beat up blue jeans and vest with no shirt underneath. And he took our disc and he didn’t have any pockets, so he shoved it down the front of his pants, and our disc is sticking out of his pants, and I was just like, “This mother****** is awesome!”

JW: Who is the craziest member of the band, or the one that is most likely to get you guys a night in jail?

CV: Well, we’re all pretty mellow. But as far as mentally insane, that would probably be me. (laughs) But as far as willing to do anything, that would probably be my brother Brian (vocals/bass).

JW: Why is that?

CV: He just doesn’t give a s***! (laughs) But I’ve met some crazy bands in my day. We were playing with this one band and it was this insane night and they got up on stage in their underwear with this big vat of Kool-Aid, and they were like (in Dracula voice), “Come children, come drink the Kool-Aid!” I just kept thinking, these people are weird! I couldn’t believe people were drinking the Kool-Aid.

Freshwater Collins will perform Thursday at Nate and Wally’s at 9 p.m.