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Continued: White-collar punk band defies every stereotype of the genre

  • Article by: JEFF STRICKLER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: November 25, 2013 - 4:16 PM

“The specific chocolate bar is hard to find in the States,” he said.

Launched eight years ago, the band originally consisted of Brookfield, his son, Colin, on drums and his daughter, Molly, doing the vocals. They used stage names because they didn’t want people to write them off as a family band. “Too many ‘Partridge Family’ kinds of associations,” Brookfield said.

As the Brookfield offspring phased out of the group and were replaced, the band kept the tradition of stage names, although they don’t go to extremes to keep their real identities secret.

“My work friends know,” said Heeschen, 51, who performs as Doug Graves and whose day job is negotiating contracts for the state government. “Before I negotiate a contract, I always find out as much as I can about the people I’ll be negotiating with. If they back-check me, I don’t know what their perception must be.”

Brookfield, 64, whose stage name is Steve Shannon, holds the John Ireland Endowed Chair at the University of St. Thomas School of Education. “I’ve had students turn up at our gigs,” he said, adding that he isn’t entirely sure how he feels about that. “Sometimes I can feel myself grandstanding,” he said.

As an endocrinologist, Schoonover, 47, a k a Christopher Mark, has never had the topic of his musical alter ego come up with his patients at United Medical Specialties in St. Paul. And Kaiser-Crist, 41, who performs as Erik John, said his kids are just starting to realize that some of the CDs he plays for them are his own.

The band, which is taking a hiatus from gigs while recording its CD, expects to return to performing in January. They still enjoy their day jobs, but they miss the kick that comes from climbing on stage.

“There’s nothing like playing live music,” Brookfield said. “It produces a good panic, the kind that seizes you. Teaching is very satisfying, but it’s an intellectual experience. This is much more visceral. When you hit that power chord, it goes through your whole body.”


Jeff Strickler • 612-673-7392


  • related content

  • Video: White-collar by day, punk rockers at night

    Monday November 25, 2013

    The 99ers play a clip during rehearsal and show they're not so bad at punk rock for four white-collar...

  • Stephen Brookfield rehearsed with his band, the 99ers. By day a professor at the University of St. Thomas, at night he turns into a singer-songwriter fronting a band that is made up of people whom most punk rock fans would never expect to see on a bar stage.

  • The 99ers are, from left, Erik Kaiser-Crist (guitar & vocals), Christopher Schoonover (drums), Doug Heeschen (bass) and Stephen Brookfield (guitar & vocals). They’ve cut back on their gigs in order to concentrate on cutting a new album. They also manage to hold down white-collar jobs by day.

  • Brookfield worked on his guitar fingering while the band practiced a song it’s preparing to record this month for a new CD, the group’s fifth.

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