Yipes! at Jay's Longhorn

Photo by Steve Madore

Yipes! was a rock/power pop combo from Milwaukee, Wisconsin that used to play 3- or 4-night stands at Jay’s Longhorn during the early days of the club. I loved them! They did cool, rather obscure covers and they wrote wonderfully poppy originals — my favorites being “Out in California,” “Hangin’ Around,” and “East Side Kids.”

The band performed “The Ballad of Roy Orbison” on Twin/Tone’s Big Hits of Mid-America Volume III in 1979 and soon thereafter signed with Millennium Records, putting out “Yipes!” in 1979 and “A Bit Irrational” in 1980 before being dropped by the label in 1981.

The group reunited in 2013 to play at the Wisconsin Area Music Industry awards, when they were also inducted into its Hall of Fame. A year later they reunited a second time for a concert at Milwaukee’s Summerfest.

And on May 16, 2015 Yipes! played its third show in 34 years at First Avenue as part of the Jay’s Longhorn reunion.

Pat McCurdy

Lead singer Pat McCurdy never stopped performing, putting together his own solo act and regularly touring the Midwest. I saw him in 2013 at O’Gara’s in St. Paul before I started on this project. I asked him about the Longhorn and he had only fond memories, adding that “I still have dreams about the Longhorn.”

The band, interviewed for this project, said that Jay’s Longhorn was the first place they played where the audience understood what they were about — and actually applauded!

The video here is “East Side Kids” from the Jay’s Longhorn reunion at First Avenue. I hope they’ll reunite at least one more time.

—Mark Engebretson

Leave a Reply