Gunmen Attempt Robbery and Musician Gets Shot

I am re-posting the e-mails, as I do not quite feel up to writing today, as I was up late last night dues to the circumstances in the story, and all the snow is awaiting my digging out, so I must go and shovel, right now. Here it goes…..This occurred after our Bluegrass Jamboree, at another location, on Dec. 18th, 2008.

Kochanski’s Concertina Bar, I must note, is still a great place, and I and all the musicians should and will still continue to go there to enjoy GREAT live Bluegrass and Polka Performances. It is not in a ‘bad’ neighborhood. It was just targeted because of the poularity, that night, but the the Bandits learned a lesson the hard way. Kochanski’s is always filled with good light hearted musicians, and in no way should suffer as a result from this. Andy Kochanski is a hero, and makes an excellent barkeep and owner. He protected us, his customers and friends, with astounding valor and heroism, and deserves accolades for these heroic efforts, and so does Doc, for his Musician’s war wound.

I wrote this below right after the altercation and was still probably in shock!

I was at Kochanski’s Concertina Bar tonight, after our gig at Conway’s, when two gunman showed up with Sawed off shot guns and started firing and shot our harmonica player friend Doc (He will survive)…I cannot believe it- unreal…they fired into a group of 4 people standing there in the corner next to the stage (what pr*&%^s! to shoot at a group of humans!) and shot old Doc—one of the finest German style harmonic/harmonica players I know…Praise God that he will survive, and he will, thankfully.One of the gunman was shot in the chest but both got away…what a night beyond- beyond…If I had not recieved a phone call from my ‘ex’ a minute before, which I did not answer, and went into the Bathroom to check my messages, I would be dead right now, for real. I would have been the only one in the crossfire– Andy Kochanski, the owner, pulled out his .45 and blasted those guys, but still they got away—but one was hit square in the chest.

It was pandemonium. They may have targeted the place because there had been a big Musical Christmas Party there earlier– it is a popular Musicians hangout because of it’s support of Live Entertainment (mostly polka and bluegrass)–No words were exchanged….Andy the owner/barkeep notticed a silhouette of two people walking past the windows in the alleyway ( and thought ‘more customers? hmmm’…), so he was looking at the door when they came in- and saw their guns immediately- and immediately reached for his, which happened to be right in front of him at an arms length. The gunmen then saw his gun drawn and before anyone could say anything the masked men started firing and then Andy started blasting away- One gunman reeled back- he had been hit- but spun around and ran out the door….but not before they unloaded the two shots, one hitting the mirror behind the bar, the other, Dear Doc.

So there I was in the bathroom, crouching on the floor, dialing 911, thinking ‘what the *&^!’. I waited, then I heard all this ‘foot shuffling’ about- I was thinking to myself the worst- everyone is dead and the gunman are inside still…but to my relief, I then heard a woman say, ‘Is that door is locked too?’, so I came out and said ‘Is anyone hurt?’ and they said ‘Yes, Doc got shot, clean through.’

…so I went to him and a woman was holding a towel on his wound and he looked okay and said he was going to make it, and we were all freaking out….It went right through his buttox and out the other side, he reached down and put his finger into the hole…dang…and we just waited for what seemed like an eternity for the ambulance and when I asked him if he was in pain, he said ‘No, but when it hit me it felt like a sledge hammer’….I said ‘Can I take a picture for the band’, and he said, ‘You better believe it’, but the cops showed up and said, ‘No way lady’, and Andy (the owner) said ‘Do it’ and the cops said, ‘Do and you will be in real trouble’, so I only got a few….I could care less about the pictures…I am relieved Doc is okay and I am concerned for society, deeply….

It happened last night- Dec 19th at 1:12 am, I was checking my messages in the bathroom, as I mentioned, so I know exactly, the time…The snow probably took the headlines, as suggested.

People are wondering what the motive was:

Their motive WAS robbery but remember- Andy Kochanski (Art Altenburg’s Concertina Bar’s new owner- 37th and Becher)- he saw their gun first and drew his which made them fire right away at him and the crowd (they shot off 2 and then Andy blasted 5 right back), and when Andy fired back he hit the first guy square (he is a fireman/rescue squad guy and he practices many diciplines- he is a real sinewy and buff, nimble kind of a guy) – He was looking at the door to see who was coming in b/c he saw potential customers pass by the window and was alert to their entry- saw the gun first and drew his—he saved the day, really he did. The gunmen were so covered from head to toe, in black, that you could not tell if they were black, white or hispanic. Andy is fine- he is a hero, in my book, really…his girlfriend is in shock, I am sure—she did not look to happy last night either….

I would have been a gonner if I would have been at my seat…I would have taken a bullet, for sure or been grabbed as a hostage, I know this, there is no way that I would have made it- I will never sit in a bar in a vulnreable position like that again, ever….

I asked Doc for the next of kin to contact and he said ‘I aint dying’….so that was a relief…

He is the old style German harmonica player who has a suitcase filled with those extravagant little button/contraption style harmonicas- a collection worth at least a thousand or more, I am sure, and very state of the Art–no one does what he is doing- he is straight up classic in style, really really really good, and one of a kind….

He will be okay– but the whole thing was a shocker…

I am rethinking alot professionally (musically speaking) because of this- – radio commercials for a place we are gigging in a bad neighborhood and holding an event there may be a poor idea- I think things are getting worse, I really do, so rebooking shows at certain locations may not be a good idea—it was REALLY scarey. Kochanski’s Concertina Bar, I must note, is NOT in a what would be considered  ‘a bad’ neighborhood.  This world is just a mess, I guess…

  • I do not know where you are located because you don’t give the name of the town, however the address does not sound like a great neighborhood, definitely sounds like a big city,We are back here in the “B” where they put posts that are not real newsworthy, but I definitely would stay away from that establishment.
    I live in Philly and did some giggin’ years ago, I had a rule, stay away from bars, they are dens of inequity, by having booze and everything else, they bring a bad element, people don’t act the same when they are drunk, I’m glad that your bandmate is ok
    Jim

  • Au Contraire…Kochanski’s IS NOT the common den for drunkards. It is a unique place where gentle older friends gather to dance to the polka mostly, and bluegrass. It is a haven for musicians because of it’s unique characteristics of being that of a world reknown special place in the USA, giving great tribute to the Concertina, the Squeeze Box, and the Accordion. It is nearly a museum, and is not completely affordable to ordinary ‘bar regulars’, if you know what I mean.

    It was NOT Kochanski’s that drew the attention of the banditos, but the popularity of the place that night. Bars can be real crapholes, but not this place. It is a revered special place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is suggested that these bandits may even target or choose their locations to rob, through events posted on the internet, and try to drop in, gun laden, at actual ‘happenings’- so we all need to continue to remain sober and stand vigil against these types of crimes.

    The Gunmen, we found out, are serial robbers, they wait until it snows, don large snow mobile suits and masks, arm themselves, and have hit 10 places already. They count on everyone being loaded in more ways that one, and clean out the registers and customers of all valuables. Evidently, they have never encountered such a sober group of individuals, as the people that were there that night were, nor have they ever encountered a barkeep so familiar to protection.

    So familiar to feats of heroism, is Andy Kochanski, who is armed and ready, taking the responsibilty of ownership seriously, shown by his being prepared to the nines. With Courage, Valor, and Respect I tip my hat to Kochanski’s.

    These gunmen have notoriously alluded the police, now, thanks to Andy, we found out exactly how intrisically evil and self serving they are, self protecting, they must have been wearing a bullet proof vest, as though shot, they still have not urned up at area hospitals.

    Instead of hushing up these type of complications in the world of bar and music venues, the area police and owners need to address these common and horrific problems, and need to be open and vocal about the pending results to criminals captured, before it occurs to the degree it just did. Bar Keeps also need to post cameras, security signs, and even screen the people coming in, even moreso than ever, in the USA, midst financial collapse. Who knows who, with what resources and addictions may be getting desperate.

  • I see, still, be careful where you gig, it is dangerous out there, I’m real glad everyone is ok and that they have a lead on the crooks
    Jim