Only The Politics Are Naked!


Democracy Burlesque has been performing as a political satire group for over 3 years now. This blog is here for members of Democracy Burlesque to talk about their experiences, for guests of the group to visit and share thoughts, and for the general public to learn about and get a taste of some of the funniest political satire happening in the Midwest - - or anywhere.


A tall man with a big voice and big songs delivered with truth, character, and conviction. Born 1954, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin and raised in Ashland, WI, a worn-down iron-ore and lumbering town. Took piano lessons and listened to polkas, country, and early rock and roll as a kid. At age 8 he was already on the airwaves of the family’s 1000 watt AM radio station, WATW. “I worked with Santa Claus on the air from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve. He talked and I read the letters to Santa from the kids. I loved it. I was Santa’s helper. Way cooler than the livestock reports and the polkas!”

Started playing guitar and gigging locally. “Girls were a big incentive! I wanted to be like Elvis or John Lennon, but I liked the way Dylan smoked.” Hit 16, discovered cigarettes, black coffee, Woody Guthrie and folk music, Lightnin’ Hopkins and acoustic blues. ”Along with a democratic vision, America’s greatest gift to the world is the blues and the jazz and rock that grew out of it.” Got a BA in history (1976), followed by MA and PhD. Continued to do solo acoustic gigs and front rock bands and released first album A Sense of Place in 1984, a collection of his acoustic originals.

Eight albums have followed, all of which draw heavily on country, rockabilly, folk, blues, bluegrass, and rock and roll. Alt-country and Americana long before any marketing director or trendy ‘zine used the term. Welcome To Labor Land, (2002 USA and Europe) features Bucky’s interpretations of Illinois labor and working-class protest songs from 1865-1955. Long-time musical comrades The Complete Unknowns joined him on the recording.

Bucky’s new CD Wisconsin, 2-13-63, volume 1, includes twelve originals and guest performances from some of Chicago’s best musicians. The CD was released in Europe in the Spring of 2006 and in the USA in 2007.

A prominent scholar of working-class history, he also wrote For Democracy, Workers, and God: Labor Song-Poems and Labor Protest 1865-1895 (University of Illinois Press, 1991). Bucky is also the producer of Folksongs of Illinois, a three-CD series that documents the rich and diverse heritage of Illinois folk and popular music. The series utilizes archival, 78, LP, and contemporary studio recordings and will be released in 2007 by the University of Illinois Press.

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