A Conversation with Joe Hertler

By: Kate Fletcher


This Friday, Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers are bringing their electric sounds to Madison all the way from Lansing, Michigan. Known for their fantastic live shows full of energy and positivity, the band has been off and on the road for the past year, touring for their latest album Terra Incognita which came out in the early months of 2015. I was lucky enough to ask Joe a couple questions over the phone as he relaxed in his hometown for a breather between tour dates. It’s been a whirlwind of a year for this uplifting artist, but his passion for his musical creations became clear to me within the first minutes of the conversation.

Trying to describe Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers to someone who is unfamiliar with the band can be quite challenging. Terra Incognita features a very broad variety of different musical styles and truly demonstrates the range of songs that the band can produce while still remaining unique with their own Rainbow Seeker brand. Hertler is well aware of this fact. While describing the writing process, he said, “I jump around a little bit! I just get bored easily, so when I write too many pop songs I’m like, ‘Alright, I gotta bring it down, get a little more sentimental.’ So that generally is the trend that usually goes from like 2-3 songs… like a couple pop songs then a couple live jams then we’ll kind of gear back towards more folky singer-songwriter style.” This mixture of tunes, stemming from a writer drawing from many different angles, makes the album an extremely interesting one to listen to.

No matter what your music taste, there will be at least one song on the album that resonates with you. His personal favorite track is ‘Betelgeuse’, explaining, “It’s definitely like a low-key track on the record and probably catered to some headphone listening… just from the song-writing perspective, it’s probably one of my favorite songs.” However, this free-flowing writing process and melodic diversity does raise some eyebrows on the corporate side of band’s music production. “With our label, I feel like the business people involved at the end of the day are always like, ‘You guys really should think about sticking to a genre’” Hertler described, “but it almost seems more natural to go with what you’re feeling at the time rather than like trying to write to, like, a certain style.” Though their label might find it more convenient for them to settle for a more specific genre, the Rainbow Seekers do not plan on doing this anytime soon. And so far, this strategy has been working, as they receive acclaim and growing crowds for their live performances.

From the back roads of Colorado to the festival circuit in Michigan, Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers have seen all different sides of America, refining their live performance all the way along. “I would say we’re a live band,” Hertler explains, “and I kind of preach that mentality to the band… The big idea behind the band is definitely the live show; that’s what we’re most proud of.” Forming relationships with good people from across the country has been one of the best parts about going on the road, Joe recounted. Genuinely friendly crowds, including some fans welcoming enough to open up their homes to the band when hotel rooms hadn’t yet been booked, are what make the shows so special. The concerts “are just a warm environment, and that’s mostly due to just people being nice.” Whether it’s the audience or the band that it emanates from, positive energy fills each venue with the sweet sweeping tunes of Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers as a vessel to spread it throughout.

After the show Friday, and the following day of binge-listening in an attempt to cope with post-concert depression, you will surely wonder, “Will there be another Rainbow Seeker album soon?” The answer isn’t clear but Joe did show his interest in getting back to the studio. “I think we’re all really craving the studio. I know I am just because we’ve been traveling around and touring but…” Hertler explained, trying to figure out how to summarize the tour vs. studio experience, “It’s spastic. Despite all the downtime, its still very one place to the next. You don’t always get a chance to hang out and get to know the area”. After the next 11 gigs coming in the October, perhaps the band will take a well deserved break before beginning the recording process again.

Ultimately, when coming to the show on Friday, leave any expectations you may have for Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers behind. They are known to surprise even seasoned fans with their fun sets and good vibes. “At the end of the day, I think the band is fully realized in a venue, in a live setting” Joe affirmed. The atmosphere in the Sett will surely be different than it has ever been in the past, and it will not be a show to miss.

square-madisonBecome a “sprightly young groove doctor” and experience Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers yourself at the Sett at 9 pm on October 9th, 2015.

Listen to Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers HERE!

Empires is playing at the Sett on February 22nd and you won’t want to miss it

Come and jam with Empires, a kick ass band from Chicago for FREE!!!

Check out their video for “Hello Lover”:

Empires is described by Rolling Stone Magazine as a “big, multifaceted, tower-of-power sound” and “inspired by the independent spirit of 90s grunge, Empires’ music takes the urgency and emotion of that era and reboots it for a new generation.” You do NOT want to miss this FREE show (February 22, 2014 at the Sett)!!!


For any future updates on UW-Madison’s live music scene, check this blog frequently. Or, even easier, sign up for our mailing list.

Here’s a Brief Glimpse of Next Semester’s Concerts

…and we’ve got quite a few shows still in the works. Don’t miss it when we announce them. Join our mailing list today!


1/24- Behind the Beat, 5pm, Rathskeller – Johannes Wallmann Quartet
1/24 – 9:30pm, Rathskeller – Julia Nunes
1/25 – 9:30pm, Rathskeller – Apollo Quad
1/31 – Behind the Beat, 5pm, Rathskeller – Sinister Resonance
1/31 – 9:30pm, Sett – Milo w/ Ian Carroll
1/31- 9:30pm, Rath – Blood Red Boots
2/1 – 9:30pm, Rathskeller – Woodsman
2/7, Behind the Beat, 5pm, Rathskeller – Cork n Bottle
2/7 – 9:30pm, Rathskeller – The Usual Things w/ Lake Avenue
2/7, 9:30pm, Sett – The Chicago Afrobeat Project
2/8, 9:30pm, Rathskeller – Windsor Drive w/ Circus Fires
2/14 – Behind the Beat, 5pm, Rathskeller – The Goodie Two Shoes
2/15, 9:30pm, Sett – Com Truise
2/21- Behind the Beat, 5pm, Rathskeller – The Dairyland Jazz Band
2/21, 9:00pm, Sett – Pat McCurdy
2/21, 9:30pm, Rathskeller – Fort Wilson Riot w/ Xoe Wise
3/7 – Behind the Beat, 5pm, Rathskeller – El Clan Destino
3/28, 9:30pm, Rathsekller – Little Radar w/ Vic and Gab
4/5, 9:30pm, Sett – Typhoon w/ TBA
4/11, 9:30pm, Rathskeller – Seabird w/ Briar Rabbit

Friday Night at Der Rathskeller: TV Ghost with Will Phalen

This Friday, WUD Music is hosting a band that is a perfect vacation from midterm stress and daylight savings gloom.

Madison, meet TV Ghost.


TV Ghost is a dark and eerily endearing band from Lafeyette, Indiana. They play a type of post-punk, but self-describe their music as “disheveled, experimental noise nurtured by raw ambition.”

The music of TV Ghost is certainly haunting. Check out this video from their new album:


With TV Ghost, is a calming and melodic artist out of the “middle west.”

Madison, meet Will Phalen.



He’s local, and he just released a new solo album.

Check out his Facebook page here.

The concert starts at 9:30pm 11/8/2013 at Der Rathskeller in the Memorial Union.

As always, to stay up to date on all of WUD Music’s free concerts in Madison, check out our calendar of events. We feature a wide array of diverse bands, and we update our shows frequently. Click here to see what else we’ve got coming.


WUD Music Summer Lineup

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It’s that time again where the sun sets over Lake Mendota and musicians take over the summer stage on The Terrace. Below is our ENTIRE summer lineup, plan ahead, or don’t, just know this summer will be one to remember.

5/24/13  Behind the Beat: John Christiansen Jazz Quartet- Memorial Union: The Terrace

5/25/13  Handphibians + Gomers- Memorial Union: The Terrace

5/31/13  Behind the Beat: Brett Newski and the Corruption + The Thriftones- Memorial Union: The Terrace

5/31/13  Tweed Funk- Memorial Union: The Terrace

6/1/13  Roots Collective + Sebeh Tree- Memorial Union: The Terrace

6/5/13  Colorphase- Memorial Union: The Terrace

6/6/13  Sortin’ the Mail- Memorial Union: The Terrace

6/6/13  The Orwells + Twin Peaks- Memorial Union: The Terrace

6/7/13  Behind the Beat: Louka Patenaude- Memorial Union: The Terrace

6/8/13  Bailiff + The Outfit + The Sharrows- Memorial Union: The Terrace

6/12/13  Whiskey Farm- Memorial Union: The Terrace

6/13/13  Northern Comfort- Memorial Union: The Terrace

6/13/13  Adelyn Rose- Memorial Union: The Terrace

6/14/13  Behind the Beat: Cork N Bottle- Memorial Union: The Terrace

6/14/13  3 Pill Morning- Memorial Union: The Terrace

6/15/13  Natty Nation- Memorial Union: The Terrace

6/19/13  Anna Vogelzang + Dietrich Gosser- Memorial Union: The Terrace

6/20/13  Cajun Strangers- Memorial Union: The Terrace

6/27/13  Off the Porch- Memorial Union: The Terrace

6/27/13  Field Report + John Mark Nelson- Memorial Union: The Terrace

6/28/13  Behind the Beat: Little Margie’s Soul Band- Memorial Union: The Terrace

6/28/13  Mac DeMarco- Memorial Union: The Terrace

6/29/13  Jeffrey Broussard and The Creole Cowboys- Memorial Union: The Terrace

7/3/13  Sincere Life + Tefman- Memorial Union: The Terrace

7/4/13  Mad City Jug Band- Memorial Union: The Terrace

7/4/13  Bassel and the Supernaturals + Vic and Gab- Memorial Union: The Terrace 

7/5/13  Behind the Beat: Louka Patenaude- Memorial Union: The Terrace

7/5/13  Wild Child + PHOX- Memorial Union: The Terrace

7/11/13  Stillhouse Six- Memorial Union: The Terrace

7/11/13  Oberhofer- Memorial Union: The Terrace

7/12/13  Behind the Beat: The New Breed- Memorial Union: The Terrace

7/12/13  Lowdown Brass Band- Memorial Union: The Terrace

7/13/13  Trapper Schoepp and the Shades- Memorial Union: The Terrace 

7/17/13  4 Aspirin Morning- Memorial Union: The Terrace

7/18/13  Daylight in the Swamp- Memorial Union: The Terrace

7/18/13  Saintseneca- Memorial Union: The Terrace

7/19/13  Behind the Beat: El Clan Destino- Memorial Union: The Terrace 

7/19/13  Sidewalk Chalk- Memorial Union: The Terrace

7/20/13  EI-P + Killer Mike + Despot + Kool A.D.- Memorial Union: The Terrace

7/24/13  Pushmi-Pullyu + Icarus Himself- Memorial Union: The Terrace

7/25/13  Boo Bradley- Memorial Union: The Terrace

7/25/13  A Hawk and A Hacksaw- Memorial Union: The Terrace 

7/26/13  Behind the Beat: Megan Moran’s + 1- Memorial Union: The Terrace

7/26/13  Whiskey of the Damned + The Kissers- Memorial Union: The Terrace

7/27/13  Seabird- Memorial Union: The Terrace

8/1/13  Al Scorch- Memorial Union: The Terrace

8/1/13  Wook- Memorial Union: The Terrace

8/2/13  Behind the Beat: Alison Margaret Jazz Quartet- Memorial Union: The Terrace

8/2/13  Steez- Memorial Union: The Terrace

8/3/13  Pokey LaFarge- Memorial Union: The Terrace 

8/7/13  Land of Vandals + Oedipus Tex- Memorial Union: The Terrace

8/8/13  Sparetime Bluegrass- Memorial Union: The Terrace

8/9/13  Behind the Beat: Composers Quartet- Memorial Union: The Terrace

8/9/13  Maxmillion Dunbar- Memorial Union: The Terrace

8/10/13  Lords of the Trident + Thunderunderus + Beast Warrior- Memorial Union: The Terrace 

This Friday: Chicago Afrobeat Project

(Photo Credit: chicagoafrobeatproject.com)


Afrobeat: [af-roh-beet] 1. adjective a genre of music similar to jam band jazz and funk with origins in Nigerian Yoruba music. 2. noun some funky rhythms and jam sessions that will make your feet tap, your head bob, and your body groove.

Chicago Afrobeat Project: [shi-kah-goh af-roh-beet proj-ekt] 1. proper noun a Chicago based ensemble consisting of soloists and African dancers from diverse backgrounds each bringing their own unique influences to the band 2. noun a Madison favorite that frequents the city and puts on a show that never fails to make its audience dance

Chicago Afrobeat Project this Friday, Oct. 14th, 9:30pm at Der Rathskeller

Dancing is not just for the band members.  Expect to feel the beat.

Fall Kick Off

Welcome back everyone, we’ve got a ton of new stuff coming this year, but first we want to invite YOU to our WUD Music Fall Kick Off Meeting Monday September 19th, 6:30pm in Memorial Union!

Find out how to book bands for the different venues on campus while gaining real world experience working with agents and learning about the music industry. We also do  work with promotions (hello blog, flyers, etc), co-sponsorships, and audio/video. Best of all you’ll meet other fun people who love music as much as you do.

*Currently our blog is under construction so please be patient as we bring you the most up to date info. September event info is up, but check back soon for the rest of the Fall 2011 schedule.

This Weekend at Der Rath: In Tall Buildings and My Brightest Diamond

Friday 9:30 pm @ Der Rath: In Tall Buildings with Saturday Night Duets.

This Friday Erik Hall comes to serenade Der Rathskeller with his one man band In Tall Buildings.  His first album, inspired by Neil Young, Stevie Reich and others, sounding of acoustic pop, is a blended orchestra of guitar, drums, and synth.  It isn’t a breakup album but rather an album written by someone finding their own voice.

“There’s no mad scientist at work here. Only a guy crafting beautiful songs and augmenting them with a feathery touch.”  (Loud Loop Press)

(Skip ahead twenty seconds or so for the music.)

Starting the night, on Friday, is Saturday Night Duets, a two-man funky twist on Americana from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Saturday 9:00 pm @ Der Rath: My Brightest Diamond, Land of Vandals, and Corcovado

My Brightest Diamond will be playing in der Rathskeller THIS SATURDAY, February 5th, at 9:30PM with Land of Vandals and Corcovado.
Shara Wolden fronts the band My Brightest Diamond. If you have ever wondered what would happen if you combined an award-winning accordion player with a classical organ player, then Shara Wolden is your answer. If you have never wondered that, now you will be left with the burning desire to hear exactly what that sounds like. Wolden herself got a BA in opera but went on to study and record music with Padma Newsome in New York. Her musical background makes for a stunning combination of rock and classical music. Aside from her own musical endeavors she is able to boast collaboration with artists such as The Decemberists, Sufjan Stevens, and David Byrne. If you need a frame of reference…

… but I guarantee you won’t get the full experience unless you attend the show.

Joining My Brightest Diamond is the Madison minimalist band Land of Vandals (not actual Eastern Germanic Vandals).

Land of Vandals will put you in an interesting and ethereal mood and place with their haunting organ and space noises. Interesting being good.

Starting out the night with Corcovado, which also happens to mean Hunchback in Portuguese, a local Madison band.