Under The Radar Music: Spooner/Fire Town

This week’s group is no longer around in their original form, but they made some great, catchy music with a midwestern feel while they were active in the 1980s and early 1990s. They began in Madison, Wisconsin as “Spooner”, and though their records were legendary around their home turf, they unfortunately never achieved commercial success.

Here’s one from their 1985 “Wildest Dreams” album:

Shortly after this album’s release, the band had a couple of personnel changes and decided to rename the band as well. “Fire Town” released their “In The Heart Of The Heart Country” album to rave critical reviews in 1987, but limited success. One of the tunes from this album was “Carry The Torch”:

The following year the band was signed by a major label, Atlantic Records. Though they might have thought they were on the cusp of success, it wasn’t in the cards. The title cut from the Atlantic album “The Good Life” was their strongest song to date, and only aired a few times on MTV before falling off the earth.

The group disbanded shortly thereafter, but some of the members went on to greater success. Drummer Butch Vig stayed at his Madison, Wisconsin Smart Studios and went on to record and produce Nirvana’s breakthrough “Nevermind” album, among others.

Singer/guitarist Duke Erikson re-emerged with a new (and much more famous) band, “Garbage” with Scottish singer Shirley Manson.

There’s a wealth of great music out there flying under the radar, and next time out, we’ll take another trip back to the 80s for a country/rock outfit that made a few ripples in the pond and promptly disappeared. Later, gang!


Stay updated, sign up for our newsletter.