Rememberies 2016

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Does anyone read and like Family Circus? Don’t call it Family Circle even though it’s in a circle and about a family, because Family Circle is a rectangular monthly magazine. Family Circus is a daily comic strip about how grandmas have good advice and you can blame ghosts for causing a ruckus around the house. I think I’d like to have Family Circus wall paper so that any place I pause in the house will offer folksy wisdom in a glance.

Family Circus does or did or will do a bit called Remeberies, which is what a young child might say when confusing the words “remember” and “memories”. Maybe they never did it and I made up that word, too. Remembering memories can be confusing for anyone, but especially for a child for whom one year represents, for example, 20 percent of their life and 33 percent of their entire memberies, formed in a flash before their eyes!

If you haven’t read the strip, check it out. If you have, I’m sure you can easily imagine the dotted line following me around all year like Billy on his way home from school. Where did it go?


The clock that rang in 2016 was set to Wilson Picket’s watch, as I strummed frantically along to Midnight Hour in the Nobunny band. Yes, the big sea change of 2015-2016 for me was joining the ranks of the hardest working band in rocknroll. After an ear-pealing opening salvo in the fall of ’15, 2016 promised to hold much in store. They call patience a virtue, and so is her sister prudence, so I waited in January. And waited. Slushy played a show at Reed’s Local with Today’s Hits because James was in charge of booking there and he knew he could book me!


You know Max right? He’s a hard working man and it shows. February brought the release of Hello We’re The Lemons to the vinyl hungry masses courtesy of Burger Records. They ate it up! Now you can’t even buy that record anymore unless it’s from your friend’s private collection and even then good luck with that! The Lemons is my favorite band and I could go into why but basically it’s all due to Max. We played one Lemons show at Bric-A-Brac Records on Valentines Day and it was like an arrow through the heart — the good kind! Also Pookie moved into my closet and Pookie and Mentz and I hung out inside a lot cuz winter is cold.


Okay, here’s where things get interesting. They say March is both a lion and a lamb, it just depends which end of it you’re on. Turns out it was very lamby! The Lemons did the best little boomerang tour of all time, going from Chicago to LA for one show, then LA to Austin for one show, then home sweet home. Meanwhile Nobunny played in Wisconsin (me, Sammy, Andy), OC (me, Dan, Pookie), Austin (me, Sammy, Pookie) then back around the midwest (me, Sammy, Andy). Slushy had a show at the Empty Bottle in there. After Easter we all took a rest.


Did I mention being patient? Finally April came around and Sammy and I boarded a long-distance airplane which took us to the far east, the land of the rising sun, the land of cup of noodle. Before we could leave, I had a checklist, and the final thing on it was fixing my tooth, which I did and smiled freely at all of the nice people of Japan. They like rocknroll and throw crazy shows in improbably small venues full of Marshall half stacks. We did a whole 18 day tour with Mule Team. They are great! It even lasted through May! Oh yeah and Pookie came back from Pookie tour and brought with him Matty Luv.


It was hard to leave Japan but I guess not too hard because we did it. We made it back not too long before my birthday and so I slept until my birthday and I had a happy birthday and rode roller coasters and didn’t see how jelly beans are made and everything was great. I started playing in Cookie with Marian and James and Sammy and Alejandro. Hey, I even played some shows with this band!


Well, after all that excitement a little break and some hanging out in my underwear was in order. Slushy played twice at the East Room in June because that’s usually what happens is that a venue will ask us to play and we’ll do such a good job and so many people will come to see us that the promoter will say “I have to have you back immediately!” and so we play again immediately and it’s not as good and no one comes to see us, except that both shows were pretty good! Also Dumbfest was the good kinda dumb and Nobunny played at a rocknroll Hardee’s in Springfield.


A new month, a new band. Through the must gratuitous fortune, I was briefly a touring member of Providence, RI,’s Gymshorts, whose merch is bested only by their songs and personalities. The first two shows also had Sammy in the band at the third had Kelly, which is to say a good group, not to mention Sarah and Chris. Don’t get me started. The Lemons played our ninth and final show of 2016 with Calvin Johnson’s Selector Dub Narcotic.


What was it about being patient? Holy smokes, 3 Slushy shows in one month! That’s pretty cool. And 2 shows with the Pinheads! And another trip with Gymshorts! Some Hits! A few Nobunny! And at the end of the month, we flew to Europe.


We landed in Amsterdam then took a van to Groeningen. Richard drove. That’s the very slow start to the story of Nobunny in Europe, which is a long, winding mosaic of a story. To shorten it, it was great. 14 shows in 9 countries doing double duty of Pookie & the Poodlez and Nobunny nearly every night. Then before we could all get jobs in Berlin we had to fly back home to America. Just because. Just because Slushy had a show with Gooch Palms at the Bottle at the end of the month. And we had more to do.


Oh look another Slushy show at the Bottle! Thank you! And at Bric-A-Brac! Hi Nick & Jen! The Lemons recorded that show back in July and released it on K records! And a couple of weeks bumming around the house being very, very patient. And then Turkeyfest which was day one of the next Nobunny tour. We even played Omaha of all places. Yes, a very nice, easy going tour in my van with Jen driving and everyone feeling fine. Ended the month celebrating Halloween in Oakland dressed as a bum/bunny still on tour.


We headed down the California coast then turned left into the desert and spent a few days in lovely Tuscon, wound way back to Chicago, touched base with reality then dove back into road reality and went all over with the lovely Cowboys.


Finished up the Nobunny tour, came back home, played a cap-off Nobunny show with the Twin Peaks boys, played a cap-off Today’s Hits show, celebrated the holidays in Omaha, had a nice year.

How Many Shows Was That?

  • Slushy: 12
  • The Lemons: 9
  • Today’s Hits: 18
  • Pinheads: 2
  • Nobunny: 78
  • Pookie & The Poodlez: 15
  • Cookie: 3
  • Gymshorts: 9

Total shows in 2016: 146

Unless I was in some other bands I’ve forgotten.

How Were Those Predictions?

Let’s take a look at last year’s predictions for this year and give a letter grade.

  • Tour tour tour: Yes, I did this, and yes, I made my prediction with playing in NB in mind. Toured 3 continents plus a whole bunch more. A+.
  • Make Lemonade: This cryptic bit alluded to making the most with the Lemons. We released an LP on Burger Records and a cassette on K Records in 2016. Not bad! A-.
  • Eugenius ambitious: Last year I had an idea for a new band called Mr. America that I quickly decided didn’t need to exist. Oops! Maybe it did. F+.
  • Smile like a candle: The dentists at A Brush Above will turn your $999,999 smile into a $1,000,000 smile. They give you a dollar! A.
  • Compassion: Woo-wee, I made a prediction that I will be nice to people? I think I did ok? Write me and let me know. B-.
  • Stand up: Did not perform and didn’t really anticipate performing but I saw some and thought up some pretty bad jokes and heard a lot of really good jokes. C-.
  • Vote: Just as I predicted, I voted for the Senator from Vermont in the primaries but was not allowed to in November and I was very sad all summer and fall but see above about compassion and treating people with dignity and respect and not feeling overwhelmed about an inability to control things that are bigger than oneself. What a year. A.

Any Predictions for 2017?

  • Will there ever be a new Slushy record?: Yes, and this could be the year! You never know!
  • Are you still in Nobunny?: As of today yes, let’s keep it going, petition your local rabbit to keep me in the warren! Sounds like we will doing even more touring in 2017. Can 78 shows be topped? Easily.
  • How’s Chicago?: It’s pretty great if you just mentally block out all the of things that are terrible. I’ll probably still live here when we ring in 2018.
  • Heard any good jokes lately? A lot, including this gem. What’s a baby’s favorite grain? Quinwaaaahhh!! (A+)
  • Grow up: Maybe this is the year I buy a little place of my own and settle down and put all these rocknroll dreams to rest. I’ll need a minute…
  • Get in the van: 2 months last year had no tours, and 4 months only had a little bit of tours. That’s like half the year! Jeez. Time to join some more bands.
  • Get a band, make a record, tour that record, make that band: That’s the goal, I’m the kicker, I’m the goalie.

Okay don’t forget I love you.