Military Special were a Minneapolis band notorious for their rollicking sets of electric party rock—and spreading their unique brand of beer-fueled mayhem across the grain belt.
Founded officially in 2007 by former bandmates Joe Schweigert and Peter Blomgren, the band went through several different permutations in its earliest days before settling on their current, six-member crew. James Shaff has played with the band since its inception, and Charlie Smith since they began playing live. Danell Norby met Schweigert while studying in Amsterdam in early 2007, and joined the band a year later. Matt Robshaw became the band’s third drummer in 2008, following Geoff Freeman and Jake Hartnett.
Though they have been compared in the press to Bloc Party, TV on the Radio, and LCD Soundsystem, the band cites influences as wide-ranging as Devo, New Order, Gap Band and The Time. Of course, having grown up in ’80s Minneapolis, the band seems equal parts Revolution and Replacements—born at the confluence of “Purple Rain” and “Let It Be.”
They released their first album—a self-titled EP—in September of 2008. Twin Cities music press greeted the album warmly, and praised the band for bringing some dance tunes into an otherwise determinedly folk-and-shoegaze scene. Six months later, they returned with their full-length debut “Civil Union,” and were further praised for their seamless melding of electro and indie rock.
On November 19, 2010, Military Special released a five-song EP and played a sell-out final show at the iconic 7th Street Entry in downtown Minneapolis.