Many alumni around Carroll and/or the Milwaukee music scene in the mid- to late-'80s may remember the energy of the band SPOW that soon evolved into F.S. Camels, headed by lead singer Mike Endrizzi '89, also a member of Phi Theta Pi.
Endrizzi along with fellow Carroll alumnus Mark Truesdell, formerly of The Lost Pioneers during his Carroll days, reunited in 2017 with the band for a couple of gigs, including The Big Gig, Summerfest, where they played in June on the Miller Lite Oasis stage.
OnMilwaukee.com called F.S. Camels "one of Milwaukee's most respected early '90s alternative rock bands built around the voice of Mike Endrizzi." The alternative rock band’s performance also celebrated earlier this year the re-release of their 1995 album "Goulash."
The band may not have existed without SPOW, a separate band formed in 1984 at Carroll. SPOW consisted of members Mike Endrizzi '89 on vocals and guitar, Jordan Kopac on bass, singer Kurt Erickson '87 and drummer John Carpender '85.
While practicing in the basement of an all-female residence at Carroll, SPOW played house parties and in local bars in the Milwaukee area. Over the course of four years the band gained recognition among Carroll students and the local community. SPOW decided to end their run after playing Carroll’s Senior Skip day in 1989.
After the dissolution of SPOW, Endrizzi joined another on-campus band leading to the formation of F.S. Camels. The band was comprised of Carroll students Sam Adams, Mike Hondel '88 and Truesdell.
In a recent interview, Endrizzi reflected on his time at Carroll and in SPOW and F.S. Camels.
Read more from Endrizzi in this Q & A by Ethan Marse ’17.
Q: What were one or two of your favorite memories of being in the band at Carroll?
A: Great memories at Carroll include hanging out at the Pit and Club 400 with friends that I still have today, joining the Phi Theta Pi fraternity, and hanging out on campus when the snow was so high it was impossible to reasonably go anywhere else. Being in a band at Carroll during my time there was equivalent to being on one of Carroll's sports teams or academic clubs, and it was a great way to maintain a social life and deepen friendships while there. Playing house parties and fraternity parties were crazy at that time, but being able to play the Milwaukee clubs at age 18 was a real thrill.
Q: What lead to the transformation of the band SPOW into F.S. Camels? How have the members changed over the years?
A: F.S. Camels kind of just happened when SPOW ended and another campus band called The Complaint (with Jim Spice '89, Mike Hondel, Mark Truesdell, and Sam Adams) started up. When singer, Jim Spice, couldn’t play with that band because of the Carroll Choir weekend retreat, Endrizzi sang a set of songs with the group, and by the summer of 1987, Spice was out, and the group continued under the F.S. Camels name. After graduating from Carroll, F.S. Camels members moved into Milwaukee and established themselves as a regularly performing act playing Chicago, Madison, Green Bay, and Minneapolis.
Q: I’d like to write a little bit about where the original Carroll members are now in life. Do you have any info or updates on where any of the original members are now?
A: All the following were Carroll students. Original SPOW drummer, John Carpender, lives in Chicago and still plays drums with bands Expo 76 and Tomorrow the Moon. Original SPOW singer, Kurt Erickson, sings no more and lives in Jefferson City, MO. Original SPOW bassist, Jordan Kopac, whereabouts unknown. Show manager, John Harris '86, runs a5 Inc. branding + digital in Chicago. F.S. Camels original drummer, Sam Adams, lives in Madison but was unavailable for the reunion show. F.S. Camels original guitarist, Mike Hondel, lives in Alaska and could not make it back for this reunion. F.S. Camels original Bassist, Mark Truesdell, will be playing at the Turner Hall reunion and also plays in Milwaukee band, Smith & Binder Jazz/The Smith/Binder/Truesdell trio. (Truesdell has also performed regularly in recent years with his wife and Carroll alumna Candice Nokes '89 as part of The Spirals.)
Q: Lastly, is there anything you would like to add?
A: Music can be an adventure no matter where you are in your life, but being in college while playing in a band is a memory you can NEVER forget.