The Milwaukee-born and raised musician now plays bass with Smokey Robinson

MILWAUKEE – “I left a long time ago, but this is my home. This is where it all started,” said Gary Foote.

It all started in the Arlington Heights neighborhood where Foote fell in love with music.

“Memories are flooding back. This neighborhood is what got me on my journey and I’ve always had that in my heart,” he said.

Foote said in his old neighborhood you’d hear everything from Neil Diamond to his brother playing drums and guitar. He has fond memories of his old neighborhood in Milwaukee and shared that he was also “adopted” by the Big D musicians.

“It’s just kind of amazing that you can come from the Midwestern town known for its cheeses and kids and then head to Motown,” he said.

Foote has worked with Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson.

“They’re not allowing anybody in but Detroit, all the brothers, they say, you’re an honorary Detroit bass player now too,” Foote said.

Foote has also worked with artists like Blood, Sweat and Tears, Maxwell and many more. When not on tour, he works behind the scenes composing films and television commercials.

“We’ve played in every state, we’ve been to over 75 countries. All we do is go around the world and play,” Foote said.

Even when he travels, he always finds a way to incorporate a bit of home.

“Guys know if we’re in Germany or something, they’d be like Gary Bratwurst! So we take the bratwurst, put it in beer, boil it and then put it on the grill to make them are crunchy,” Foote said.

During this interview with Foote, TMJ4 News found himself at his alma mater, Wisconsin Lutheran High School, which included a surprise appearance from his former music teacher. In 9th grade, Foote did basketball, soccer, and track and field. In 10th grade, it was all about music.

“The very first talent show, we played ‘Smoke on the Water’ and we killed it,” Foote said.

While at Wisconsin Lutheran High School, Foote met Terry Treuden. Treuden taught Foote how to play music.

“That kid, well he’s not a kid anymore, when he was in high school he was just a natural and in 1979 he was definitely the best musician we had in our jazz ensemble,” Treuden said. “He won the Louis Armstrong Jazz Prize that year. ‘You made us proud, I’ll say that.’

Milwaukee is proud of their native son and without a doubt, Foote is proud of Milwaukee.

“It sounds funny, but I feel responsible to represent Milwaukee at all times, you know, all my friends in New York and LA know the Milwaukee Bucks, you know, I’m proud of this city and you know we have to represent. “

Report a typo or error // Submit a news tip