Highlight Reel

Nominated for Independent Single of the Year – 13th Annual LA Music Awards – Song: “Super Sattelite”

KOALA is the band. Super Satellite is the song…..Copyright 2004….KOALA is a band from Milwaukee, WI USA…. This song is taken from their self release “Rescue Me from TV”. Super Satellite won them a slot at the 2004 L.A. Music Awards. Maybe some day you’ll see them rockin a stage near you….WOOOOHOOOO……..Enjoy!

It’s a Sunday afternoon on Brady Street and Jerry Kowalczyk, guitarist and lead vocalist of the band Koala, is reminiscing about how the band came up with their name.

“We were actually sitting here thinking of band names and we saw this guy walking a dog and it looked like a koala … and the name “Koala” rolls off my tongue,” Kowalczyk says.

“Every member of our band is very unique and the koala bear possesses these little idiosyncrasies about it that are related to us,” adds Pete Marchese, the band’s drummer. “Every member has their own personality that they bring to the band.”

The quintet formed in early 1997 and currently comprises B.J. McCarthy on drums, Dave Vegafria on bass and Rob Pfeifer on keyboards, in addition to Kowalczyk and Marchese. Koala’s powerful guitar rock is laced with hooks and melodies, shoe-horning in each members’ influences (which include such diverse tastes as Oasis, Foo Fighters and Rush) and creating an original sound; one that is ripe for commercial success.

Having five strong, diverse personalities gives Koala an edge when performing live. The audience is witness to a frantic energy that makes it hard to follow each of them onstage, and makes it easy for them to play off each other’s strengths. The spotlight has to focus on all five.

According to Marchese, the sound has come a long way from when the band formed six years ago.

“It was great,” he explains, “But the songs were a little slower and had a WKTI-ness to them.”

Now the band has gone further in the last six months than it’s ever been. While establishing itself as one of the premier rock bands in Milwaukee, Koala joined forces with local label Sparkler Records. This summer, Koala’s fans will be treated to the band’s first full-length album, a labor of love that was years in the making. The band was also chosen as one of the 10 finalists in the Cascio/Interstate Local Music Showcase, and gained praise and exposure by appearing on the contest’s compilation albums.

In addition to local success, Koala submitted the first single of its new album, “Super Satellite,” to the L.A. Music Awards. They didn’t expct that the song would garner a nomination for “Best Independent Pop Single of the Year.”

“They really were impressed with the song,” says Marchese, “It provides a great exposure and offers us an opportunity for endorsements and record deals.”

“Super Satellite” is a perfect example of the Koala’s writing style.

“I try to stay away from using ‘she’s’ and ‘her’s’,” Kowalczyk explains, “I try to write songs that allows listeners to make their own interpretations. I am trying to stay away from sounding like the next WKTI hit.”

The song’s lyrics revolve around Koala’s experiences with some people that they know in the local music scene.

“A lot of people in bands I’ve known in the past have big heads and we can pinpoint them,” Kowalczyk says, “We can see right through the big talkers.”

Despite those big talkers, Koala is proud to be part of what it sees as a growing Milwaukee music scene.

“I think the local scene is very good as far as talent and bands, but the audience is pretty thin,” Kowalczyk says, “A lot of people just want to see what they know. Everyone is guilty of it.

“A lot has changed since the 1990s. It used to be that everyone would go see your shows and now it’s just people in other bands come to see your shows.”

Koala is now preparing for a summer tour to promote the new album, with a return to Los Angeles, and visits to Chicago, Cleveland, Minneapolis and St. Louis, among others. As Koala’s success continues to grow, the band will always remember where it came from.

“I want to get out and around Wisconsin and the rest of the area,” Kowalczyk says, “If we do happen to be signed to a major label and have nationwide success; I still want to do local shows.”

As Kowalczyk and Marchese gaze out the window onto Brady Street, they can envision their success coming full circle.

Koala plays Sat., May 24 at Vnuk’s on Packard Avenue in Cudahy.