Gary Banach- Acoustic Guitar/Vocals
Oscar Ramos- Acoustic Bass/Vocals
Brian Hale- Lead Electric Guitar/Vocals
Dave Sundeen- Drums/Vocals
Jon Kruger- Stage Manager
Taylor Thompson- Media Manager
Lisa Ramos- Merchandise
The idea of “Strip’d” started years ago as simple conversations. Acoustic performances had gained popularity due to MTV’s “Unplugged” and Tesla’s “Five Man Acoustic Jam”. While playing together in a country rock band, bassist Oscar Ramos and guitarist Gary Banach would, from time to time, bring up the idea of starting a project playing our favorite era of music, the rock of the 80’s. Whether it was schedules or timing, the idea always found it’s way to the back burner.
Fast forward to summer, 2015. Finding themselves without a major music project, Oscar and Gary sat down with a couple of beers and began discussing the possibility of actually putting together a semi-acoustic 80’s throwback band. Gary recalled the format Dokken had used on their “One Night Live” show and album. Don Dokken on acoustic guitar, Jeff Pilson on acoustic bass, Mick Brown on drums and percussion, and George Lynch kicking out his signature killer riffs on electric guitar. Heavy enough for the die hard rockers, unique enough to make it different and interesting. Oscar mentioned that drummer and friend, JC, was also looking for a project, and came with a deep catalog of the very same music. After a few discussions, the three picked their first two songs to work on. “Wanted Man” by Ratt, and “Dance The Night Away” by Van Halen. Gary worked out some acoustic parts, giving the songs a new feel. The three got together to play, and realized from the first notes they had something special brewing.
The trio put out an ad on the Milwaukee Rocks website for a lead guitarist and lead vocalist, which isn’t an easy task. Finding a guitarist who can handle the shredders of the 80’s and a vocalist who can belt out Skid Row, Motley Crue and Ratt for three hours a night is daunting. First to audition was guitarist Brian Hale out of Lake Mills. An unknown to most of the local musicians, Brian came in and immediately blew everyone away. Killer chops with vocals to match and an easy going attitude, he was a perfect fit for Strip’d. Then the guys received a response that no one expected. A lead vocalist was interested in the project, and loved the music we were aiming for. Surprisingly enough, that vocalist was none other than Metal Men/Problem Child local legend, Darrell Radke. Darrell was well known for his monstrous vocals, so the question was, could he adapt to some of the more melodic vocals from the 80’s? The answer, after one practice, was clear. His voice was versatile and just what the band needed to complete their unique sound. While Darrell has since left Strip’d, he helped set the foundation of the band and helped grow it’s success. The same can be said for the departure of our original drummer, JC. He was an integral asset to the band's formation. We continue on and welcome in Dave Sundeen to lay down the skins for us. We are excited by his addition. With four vocalists in the band, plus an array of "All-Star" vocalists joining the band, the rock and roll train never stops!
While the band still loves going full blast and giving the crowd something to dance and fist pump to, it’s the acoustic element that people stand up and take notice. Taking songs like Cinderella’s “Shake Me”, Def Leppard’s “Rock Of Ages” and Motley Crue’s “Wild Side” and giving them an acoustic sound breathes new life into these rock classics. Crowd participation is always a goal for the band, frequently inviting people onstage to sing, dance and get rowdy. Another aspect of the band is flexibility.
With nearly two years under our belt, Strip’d is looking forward to an even bigger future. New songs are being added consistently, fresh ideas and upgrades to the stage sound and visuals are ongoing, and the Strip’d boys are striving to give the a great mix of favorites and hidden gems to rock out to. Whether you’re a veteran card carrying metalhead, or too young to remember the decade of decadence, Strip’d promises you’ll leave the show with a dirty smile on your face!