Monday, December 29, 2008

NOBUNNY interview

Nobunny! "Love Visions" LP cover

By: Rich Tupica
(This first appeared in Maximum Rock N Roll, Nov. 2008 issue)

Armed with only a furry, white bunny mask, a pair of pink panties, and set of knee-pads, Tucson, Arizona's own Nobunny delivers catchy bubblegum punk with a smile and a whole set of spastic dance moves.
Nobunny is a seven-year-old jackalope/human that isn't afraid to mingle with the crowd while letting his genitals bounce to the music, which is what he has been doing since his first gig in 2001.
Some reports have claimed that Nobunny is actually an alter ego of Justin Champlin, 31, of Okmoniks and Sneaky Pinks fame, though that is yet to be confirmed.
When asked about his identity, Nobunny commented, "I have a stupid human mask that I wear sometimes before I go onstage — so I don't get mobbed."
While the mystery of his genetics still looms, the music of Nobunny is clearly a pop majesty that could make the Ramones dance in their graves.
Non-stop touring and an already classic LP later, Nobunny shows no signs of slowing down.

How would you describe yourself?
I'm that fool in the alley laughing. I'm that body sleeping in the park. I'm a skateboard and a tallboy.

What city did you grow up in? What did you do to keep busy as a young lad?
I was born in the desert about 45 minutes outside of Tucson, Arizona, on March 3, 2001. Momma was a jackalope and daddy was a human. People think the desert is all death, when in fact there is a lot of life — jackrabbits, wild dogs, rattlers, scorpions, coyotes, and the moon. The moon is my other mother. I used to set up drums in the desert under a full moon and get weird. My childhood ... my sister mainly raised me. She fed me peyote and taught me how to kill.

Photo: Rob Karlic

According to the Chinese proverb, "A sly rabbit will have three openings to its den." Tell us about your den.
My den is groady to the max. I never learned how to take care of myself. I'm surrounded by my own bodily fluids in bottles and cans, on tissues and shirts, on the floor, on plates, on my sheets. The windows are always open, and I do little there other than sleep and creep. I have always had an aversion to home and a need to roam. I'm not a stay-in and watch TV kind of guy. I don't like to speak indoors. Outsider, all the way. The libraries and public parks are my dens.

When did you first start playing music? What inspired you to get started with the rocking?
I was born an Elvis impersonator. I quickly got bored with the formula and started writing my own songs. The first was "No Bunny Blues." I performed on the street in the big city of Tucson, but my first official show was on Easter 2001 in Chicago. It was the day Joey Ramone died, which was a bummer, but the show had to go on. I did a few originals and covers of the Dictators, Bobbyteens, and the Electric Eels.

Photo: Rob Karlic

What influences make up Nobunny?
Girls. Girls. Girls. The elements: air, earth, water, and fire. Love. Truth, The moon. As far as music: Hasil Adkins, Lil Bunnies, Albert Ayler, Elvis Presley, the Cramps, Gentleman Jesse, John Battles and ELO.

Did you ever go to college?
I went for three days. I'm not sure how that happened as I'm only seven and I hate school. It makes me nauseous. To each their own.

What is a typical day like for you?
I spend most of my time in libraries and public parks. I'm a pretty social fool, but I do spend most of my time alone, either reading, drinking, or sleeping. Or designing my BJ machine.

Photo: Rob Karlic

What are some records you have been jamming lately?
I only have about twelve records and I never listen to them. I really love music, but I'm really poor and stupid. I almost never listen to music. I don't have a record player, CD player, or even a tape deck. That said, lately I love Cheap Time, Thin Lizzy, and Dreamdate.

Do you plan to keep playing music? Or do you have other aspirations?
I love playing music, and I don't plan on stopping. I wouldn't say I "need to do it," but it would seem silly to stop. I also love goin' to the bone yard with female humans.

Photo: Bullyrook

How did your debut LP, "Love Visions" (1-2-3-4 Go Records), come to be?
The songs were all home-recorded—some with people, but mostly by myself. I'm really touched that people like it at all. I've had a lot of people asking to put out records, and while I certainly want to put out more it takes me awhile because I'm picky about songs and stuff. I'm pretty burnt on bands that put out a billion records a year with only a few good songs between 'em. That said, look for more Nobunny records coming your way soon.
Hopefully I can put out some quality as opposed to quantity.

Photo: Canderson

How has this recent tour been going for you?
Touring has been awesome. It's all I really want to do lately. Touring and porkin'. Touring and porkin' and getting high. Touring and porkin' and getting high and eating pizza and pork. I've been on three tours in the last few months and they keep getting better and better. Each one has been crazier than the last. I've had a different lineup each trip. With So Cow I had a band that included Mr. So Cow, Jason Testasecca, and Trent "Dirt Turd" Purdy. When I was out with the Okmoniks I played by myself. On this last tour with the Wax Museums, they backed me up every night. It was so punk you could puke.

Is there a groupie scene for Nobunny?
Groupies? Sadly, no, but people sure like to grab at my bits and throw spanks at my butt when I'm performing. The closest thing to groupies is probably some fat dudes in Goner shirts. Bless their greasy lil' hearts. Next time I play Portland I've agreed to perform with Dave and Teri's (Slip Its, Tie Reds) new band, the Stuffed Animals, so hopefully we can get some furverts out to that one.

Photo: Dan Lang

Being a jackalope, was it harder to get a record released? Is there a Nobunny fan club yet?
Well, I'm not fully a jackalope. I'm not really anything when it comes down to it. The only real trouble I've had as far as releasing records is my inability to send people recordings. I have a bunch of fun projects lined up, but I have a serious self sabotage problem. I could have a bunch of records out already, but I'm real picky, which, honestly, I wish more bands were. While I don't think what I've put out is all that hot, at least I don't put out a half-baked 7" a month.
Part of me wants to because I realize that these things come and go in phases, and that a year down the line no one will care about me, but I still don't want to just put out any ol' turd. Just golden turds, or at least bronze — shit, what am I talking about? The Nobunny fan club doesn't actually 100 percent exist, but I'd like it to. I got some awesome friends and fans out there.

Are there any other jackalope/humans that you have encountered? If not, how do you plan to procreate?
While I'm not 100 percent of their exact heritage, there are a whole mess of bunny jerks on this big blue marble. You got your Lil Bunnies, The Rhythm Chicken, and Bun E. Carlos, to name a few. While I think kids are cool, cool, cool, and I love, love, love to love, love, love the ladies, I have no, no, no plans to have this bloodline continue.

Photo: Canderson

Have you ever encountered any prejudice?
People think I'm a gimmick, a joke, a pig in the poke. I guess I am, but not any more than most of these other jerks in these other jerky bands. You can still be passionate and express yourself without taking yourself real seriously. I'm quite often too honest and open with people, not in the sense of being mean, but more being honest about what I'm like, which is apparently not for everyone.
Deep down, I'm a good person, or I try to be and deep down I'm not, or, shit, no, I don't know… I just know that some fools like me and some sure don't. That's okay though, be it prejudice or not. I get called a "fag" here and there, but I don't really care. Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke. They are the joke. They are the enemy. I am the cookie monster. Only I'm more like the sex monster, the drunk-sex monster, the drunk-sex monster in your closet, the drunk-sex monster in your closet breathing to the beat. I live the life I love, and I love the life I live, c'mon.

What is Nobunny's ultimate goal in life?
Endless Summer. Ultimate Scummer. No Bummers. But seriously folks, I'd just like to keep touring and playing for peeps, playing for keeps. Know what I mean? Tour, tour, tour.

Hop on over to these NOBUNNY links:
Nobunny on MySpace:
Sneaky Pinks:
Visit Maximum Rock N Roll!

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
Copyright: Maximum Rock N Roll.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Veloura Caywood! Lansing lo-fi!

Cathy Illman aka Veloura Caywood
photos by Kim Nastal

By Rich Tupica

The sound of tape hiss is the back drop of Cathy Illman's brilliant catalog of lo-fi, homemade recordings.

The crackles and pops of the cassettes are merely accents to a catalog of solo music that range from bittersweet and raw to glaringly heartfelt and poppy.

The prolific East Lansing singer/songwriter, also known by her stage name Veloura Caywood, started recording songs on a cassette tape 4-track recorder as a high schooler in 1997. Since then her voice has become increasingly powerful, reflecting her classic country idols Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn.

Her seamless blend of ‘60s garage rock and girl groups mixed with old country will be showcased live for the first time in over four years on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009 at the Small Planet in East Lansing, Mich.

Illman, 30, said her three Veloura Caywood albums are unconventional and primitive.

“I didn’t know how to use the 4-track that well,” she said. “I didn’t use effects or know how to make it sound professional. I wanted to do the opposite of that. I didn’t want to learn how to use it, I wanted to do it my way. It ended up sounding really lo-fi.”

Her songs were always written and performed all by her lonesome, which caused her to have to make due with the lack of an actual drummer.

“I would just use whatever was around for percussion,” Illman recalled. “I’d take a CD case and I’d hit it with a pencil, I’d hit shoes together, or whatever happened to be around at the moment.”

Illman said she is heavily influenced by ‘50s and ‘60s rock and some ‘90s acts like The Muffs, Nirvana and early Beck. However, it’s her love for Hank Williams Sr. and an assortment of other true country singers that has helped her to become an honest songwriter.

“I like old country music because it’s sincere. Emotions are really important,” she said. “Everyone can relate to the feelings, even if they can’t relate to the situation. To me country music encompasses that idea. I don’t know how many times I have cried listening to Tammy Wynette. It’s pure and it’s from the heart. That’s how I write.”

Illman also played in numerous Lansing bands starting around 1996. Stints with Vulture Island, Atlantis and The End Times were Illman’s introduction into the local music scene. Another venture was her all girl ‘60s revivalist band The Flamingo-gos, which lasted from 2003-2004 while she lived in Brantford, Ontario.

“Playing in The Flamingo-gos was fun,” she said. “We were all into vintage clothes, so on stage we’d wear old go-go dresses or colorful psychedelic vintage clothes and go-go boots. We also had a pink go-go stand for our live show that was covered in fake pink fur for people to dance on.”

While Illman admits her time in The Flamingo-gos was the most fun she’s had in a band, she is most proud of her solo albums, which feature her most personal lyrics.

“When I first started, it was all about boys. It was the only way I could cope,” she said. “I was dating this guy who was really crazy and I could never understand what he was thinking. I wrote lots of songs about him. They were angsty songs.”

As for her comeback show at the Small Planet, Illman said it will be strange playing her old songs.

“It will be weird because I don’t feel that way anymore. I can’t relate to the old songs anymore. Some are about people I haven’t seen in 10 years. So I don’t care about them anymore. I like the songs, but the feeling, I have to apply it to something new. I have to get my mind to think about it in a different way to be able to play it.”

So why, after four years, did Illman decide to give music another go?

“My life has taken a good turn. A whole bunch of good things happened all at once. It made me want to get into music again,” she said. “I went through this phase where I was depressed and just wasn’t motivated. All the sudden all these good things happen. I got a new job, I got engaged, I moved into a house that I love and I met a bunch of new people. Stuff started working out.”

Links to Veloura Caywood:
Click here to visit Veloura Caywood on MySpace.

Click below to hear her album "Kins" for free!
Click here to LISTEN to Veloura at .

Cathy Illman on her property in Haslett, Mich.

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
Please write for permission to use any text.

View My Stats