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2011 Inductees

Die Kreuzen

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Formed in Milwaukee, Die Kreuzen bursted onto the scene as a hardcore punk band in 1981. As the years pressed on, their sound evolved into alternative rock.

In 1982, they released their first EP, “Cows and Beer. ”Their 21-song, self-titled debut album was released in 1984 The 1986 follow-up, October File, saw the band move away from hardcore into slower, more conceptual work.Their third album, Century Days (1988), saw the band incorporate piano and horns.

The majority of their albums were produced by Butch Vig, who’s best known for producing bands including Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins.

While beneath the mainstream, Die Kreuzen enjoyed a strong fan base and left a significant mark on musicians to follow in their wake.

Die Kruezen’s influence might best be recognized in a 2015 tribute album produced in their honor. Lean Into It - A Tribute to Die Kreuzen, featured Die Kreuzen covers by artists including Napalm Death, Mike Watt, Voivod, Season to Risk, and Vic Bondi.

Howie Epstein

The Milwaukee-born bassist isn’t only a member of the WAMI Hall of Fame. He’s inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Howie played rhythm guitar, mandolin and sang in a number of Milwaukee rock and country bands.

Epstein eventually took a gig backing Del Shannon. It was in that role that Tom Petty took notice and recruited him to become part of the legendary band. 

Epstein’s work ran far deeper.

He played bass on recordings by Eric Andersen, Bob Dylan, Carlene Carter, Johnny Cash, John Hiatt, Stevie Nicks, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, John Prine, Linda Ronstadt, Del Shannon, The Textones, The Village People and Warren Zevon.

He also earned recognition as a songwriter and producer. Epstein produced two albums for John Prine including 1991's The Missing Years, which won a Grammy.

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John Harmon

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A nationally renowned jazz pianist, John Harmon was born in Oshkosh in 1935 and began playing piano at a young age He graduated from Appleton’s Lawrence University in 1957 with a degree in music composition. That summer, Harmon attended the first session of the Lenox School of Jazz - the legendary summer program recognized as one of the first educational programs with a jazz curriculum. Harmon was a private student of world-renowned jazz pianist, Oscar Peterson.

As a composer, he has received more than 100 commissions for a variety of ensembles ranging from solo instrument to full orchestra with concert choir. Harmon has written music for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, "The Orchestra" of Los Angeles, the Fox Valley Symphony and the Santa Fe Chamber Orchestra.

Harmon is also founder of the Fox Jazz Festival, which brings acclaimed artists to the Fox Cities each summer.

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