Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:18 pm
Ryan Thompson, social media specialist at Glendale-based Johnson Controls Inc., taught himself to play guitar when he was just 15 years old. After discovering his proficiency for the piano he switched and now regularly plays keyboard and experiments with electronic instrumentation with his band, The Pubbys.
“I was in a number of different bands growing up but after living in various parts of the world for a few years I came back to the Midwest and decided I really wanted to get back into music,” Thompson said.
Thompson, originally from the Milwaukee area, went to school at DePaul but has also lived in San Francisco, Calif., and Argentina.
After moving back to Milwaukee, Thompson met up with local musician Mike Brumm.
In early 2011, the two formed The Pubbys and perform with their stage names, Ryan O’Reily (Thompson) and Michael John O’Connor (Brumm). The duo has written over 30 original songs and also does cover songs, Thompson said.
The Pubbys are “part Irish, part cover and all attitude,” Thompson said.
“It’s really quite fun,” he said. “We enjoy playing in clubs, pubs and festivals and we tend to engage the audience and encourage their interaction. We invite musicians, singers and story tellers to come up and join us on stage and we share fun facts and legends about Irish and pub culture.”
The group regularly performs at Catch22 Bar and Grill on Milwaukee Street downtown and will also headline Milwaukee’s Irish Fest Run/Walk for the Arthritis Foundation on Aug. 18.
“There’s no better time than now,” Thompson said. “I’m always on the move creatively, and I love to take that energy that I have harnessed and release it in creative ways. I’m always looking to quench my artistic passion. This I can do in a way that matches my lifestyle.”
Thompson works full time at Johnson Controls and says playing shows on the occasional nights and weekend works with his schedule. He’s also able to use his background in marketing and branding to help develop the professional image of The Pubbys.
To learn more about The Pubbys or to hear some of their music visit the band’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/thepubbys.