1988 marked the founding year for this year’s alternative pop/rock band inductee, “The Gufs.” UW-M college roommates Goran Kralj and Scott Schwebel formed the band, inviting Goran’s brother, Dejan to join, as well as bassist Tony Luna. Initially, the band received notoriety as a Milwaukee bar band. Luna left in 1990, and was succeeded by Morgan Dawley; these four make up the band today.


During the 1990′s the band toured the Midwest, developing a solid fan base. Early albums were recorded on the indie label “Red Submarine Records.” Their album “Collide” (1995) featured 2 singles which continue to get radio airplay today: “Smile”, and “Crash (Into Me).”


Atlantic Records signed The Gufs in 1995, and under Atlantic, released “The Gufs” (1996) and “Holiday from Me” (1999).


Back on “Red Submarine Records”, The Gufs released “A Different Sea” in 2006. “To celebrate their 20th Anniversary in 2008, the band performed a series of summer concerts with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. More recently, The Gufs performed at Summerfest, in July, 2011.


[The Gufs are scheduled to play at the 2012 WAMI Awards Show in Appleton, WI at the Fox Cities PAC on Sunday April 15.]

For more information: thegufs.com; facebook.com/thegufs

By Barbara Wagner – WAMI Advisory Board/Show Committee

Ben Sidran - circa 2010 - Photo Copyright Sophie LA ROUXBEN SIDRAN

The Chicago Sun Times refers to him as a “Renaissance man cast adrift in a modern world”, while the London Times has called him “The first existential jazz rapper”. This year we deem him a WAMI Hall of Fame inductee.


Long-time Wisconsin resident Ben Sidran has earned international recognition as a Grammy nominated pianist, singer, composer, organist, producer and author.


Born in Chicago in 1943, but raised in Racine, Sidran attended UW-Madison where he made an important connection with fellow students, Steve Miller and Boz Scaggs, forming The Ardells. Sidran earned his degree in English Lit, then went to England and for his PhD in American Studies.  While in England, he was a session musician for The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton and Charlie Watts.


Returning to the US in 1967, he rejoined forces with Miller in Los Angeles, and after re-establishing himself as a recording artist, moved back to Madison, where he continues to live and work. In Madison, he can occasionally be heard performing with jazz musician Richard Davis, with his son, Leo Sidran, or with WAMI Hall of Fame drummer, Clyde Stubblefield.


As both a jazz and rock musician, Sidran’s recording credits include albums with Mose Allison, Van Morrison, Diana Ross, and Rickie Lee Jones, as well as more than 20 discs of his own on the Arista, Go Jazz and Nardis record labels.  He’s also known as an accomplished producer, college lecturer, and author. Books include: “Black Talk”, (black music in America), his memoir “A Life in Music”, “Talking Jazz” (historic interviews with jazz musicians) and his most recent “Jews, Music and the American Dream.”


Sidran also has produced “Sidran on Record” an award-winning NPR program on 24 CDs, spanning 5 years of interviews with the celebrated jazz musicians including Miles Davis, Art Blakey, and more. For more information check out bensidran.com orfacebook.com/pages/Ben-Sidran


By Barbara Wagner – WAMI Advisory Board/Show Committee


Watch Ben Sidran’s 2012 WAMI Hall Of Fame induction speech below:


Leland Sklar - Photo by [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Magnushk en:User:MagnushkLELAND “LEE” SKLAR

With more than 2500 album credits on his music résumé, is it any wonder why Milwaukee-born Leland Sklar is one of our 2012 WAMI Hall of Fame inductees?


Born in Milwaukee in 1947, Sklar moved to southern California as a young child.  Piano lessons began at age 4, but by the time he was 12, he was studying bass, the instrument on which he built his legendary career. After graduating from California State, he met James Taylor, began playing gigs with him, and the rest is music history.


Sklar’s distinctive playing style has been heard on a long list of recordings by a diverse list of artists including Air Supply, Clint Black, Donovan, Bernadette Peters, Michael W. Smith, Diana Ross, Linda Ronstadt, Neil Diamond, Roger McGuinn, Ray Charles, Ricky Martin, Cliff Richard, Hall & Oates, Phil Collins, Willie Nelson, and many more. Sklar appears on 12 of James Taylor’s albums.


Credits are not limited to recordings; Leland is heard on many film and television soundtracks, including Hill Street Blues, Simon and Simon, Forrest Gump, Ghost, and My Best Friend’s Wedding.


Now 64, he is still in demand for live performances and studio sessions.


The bass icon is as famous for his rich, deep, grooves as he is for his foot long beard.  For more information, go to facebook.com/pages/Leland-Sklar

[There was a recent, excellent write-up on Leland Sklar and his WAMI Hall Of Fame Induction in “The Scene”.]


By Barbara Wagner – WAMI Advisory Board/Show Committee

Members or fans with content to contribute regarding this year’s WAMI Hall Of Fame Inductees, please feel free to add your comments below and/or send content to info@wamimusic.com.