Musings on music, sports, life in general from Quincy, Illinois.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Normally I don't mix Whig bidness with this blog, but I'm proud of our latest Heroes section, published in Sunday's edition.

We focused on the men and women from our area who served in the military. Their stories are incredible. I don't think this country has an appreciation of what our guys went through in Fallujah, Iraq, in early 2004. I didn't, until interviewing several of them.

I was asked to put together music for the slide show, click here. It's actually a combination of a couple of other songs previously recorded, but I thought it worked pretty well.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Getting Better

Playing with a new band is a blast but it's not as easy as one might think.

Most of the songs are familiar but every band plays em different. I thought it would take a few shows to get into a groove, but Jeff VK says it could take five or six, and he is right.

The good thing is we jumped right in with three shows in a row, by Hannibal next Friday we'll be a ton better than when we started.

Lotsa fun in Mendon last night, love the street dancers and the energy. Now if I could only remember all those pesky words to the songs ....

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sippin' time

Tell me there's anything better than sipping coffee and recovering from Blues In the District on the back porch before the heat of the day hits.

Well ...

— Walking the girls at Woodland comes close.

— So does devouring a greasy breakfast sandwich.

— So does the prospect of finishing a John Sanford "Prey" novel.

— And, of course, naps and maybe a dip in the Burger pool to get ready for tonight's big show in Mendon.

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lotsa stuff

As always, a jam-packed weekend awaits. Check out What To Do In Quincy on Facebook if you need proof.

Hope to see you at Blues In The District Friday night. Saturday is the second revamped Cheeseburgers show in Mendon as part of the town festival. Apparently a huge crowd of party-hungry classic rock fans is expected, hopefully we can deliver. Outdoors under the stars, weather hot but rain-free, perfect end of June event!

Sunday ..... pffff. The couch and the remote equal the cure.

Monday, June 21, 2010


I finally did it. Took a piece of me away to do it.

I gave up the OldsmoBuick of Doom.

Traded her in. She was sad. Much more later ...

Now proudly residing in Calftown ... The Impaler! Three years old, gleaming with just 20,000 miles, with a remote starter, windows that work, a gas gauge that works, everything that works!

Lotsa luv to Chris Quinn out at Shottenkirk for hooking me up with the new ride. Chris was professional, patient and worked with us to get a great deal, I highly recommend him if you are looking for a new car.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

New Name or New Blog?

Tonight is the debut of the new-look Cheeseburgers in Marcelline, outside of Down On The Corner, 8:30 sharp.

We are new-look because we have sesame seeds in the buns now.

Had a suggestion to change the name of this blog, but once a Funion, always a Funion, I say.

Considering doing a separate Cheeseburgers blog as well.

Nervous about the debut. I'm sure it will be fine, though I think it will take a few shows to hit our stride, we play the next three weekends which will help. I have to pay a little more attention to minor details like, oh, I don't know — PLAYING THE RIGHT FREAKING CHORDS and remembering the words. You know, minor stuff.

As for what I am doing to get ready for the big gig, well, the photo of me and Bella The Destroyer says it all ....

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dreamin' of a Lake Michigan beach ....

My Uncle Peter lives near Holland, Mich. Every year I try to take some time off and hang out on his beach for a few days. It's a little slice of private heaven, a great place to just get away and not worry about anything.

If there's anything better than falling asleep to the sound of waves hitting the beach ....

Anyway, at top is a picture of his two grandsons, Josh and Drew, hitting the 40-degree lake a while back. The water is much warmer now!

So. I am patiently waiting for August to roll around.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


It ain't all bad. Maybe the newspaper bidness will survive after all.

Click here for more.

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Name?

With all due respect to UMR, I'm not sure I will change the name of this blog. However, new suggestions are welcome. And I appreciate the kind words.

Being back at work after a week off is not much fun.

There. I feel better.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

One of the hardest things I've ever had to do

The Funions are on hiatus. They are not dead.

But they will not be playing. Maybe for a while.

I didn't think this would be all that tough to do. I am joining another band. I am now a Cheeseburger. A Cheeseburger! Kirk Gribler, Burt Shackleton, Jeff VanKanegan, John Hodge. A really fun band that has played shows with the Funions. A while back they called and said they were going in a new direction. Would I be interested?

It's very different, being a Cheeseburger. I show up and play. They have gigs lined up, a place to practice, and it's a blast, I am enjoying it. The new songs (for me) are challenging but familiar, and this band is tight, really good musicians who can play. Our first show is June 19 in Marcelline, Down On The Corner, outside.

But it's hard to let go of The Funions. Dr. Mark Brei, Rev. Scott Snider, myself and Josh Kattleman started the band at First Union exactly 10 years ago. Is that possible? I can still see Joanne Bier and Biz McConnell, rocking out at the first service.

Many have come and gone from that original worship band incarnation — Devin Cashman and Jack Inghram were in on it. We used First and Union to make up Funions. We played one great show in the church parking lot and one bad show. We always had fun, even if nobody showed up, or if people complained after Easter Sunday about us playing that evil rock and roll in church.

Josh and I recorded the first CD at Copper Mine in 2001. For a while we treaded water. We did another CD with Jim Bier on guitar but only played once with him. Then Justin Busen on drums and David Steggeman on guitar joined and those were the best of times .... we wrote a lot of what became Just Pretending in Justin's basement on Monday nights, jamming away as his mom listened upstairs.

I wish we could have kept that lineup together, we had a few incredible shows with Justin and David. The photo at the top of the page was taken at the old cafe at the Crossing Church, our first show with Justin and David, and I can still remember the awesome feeling of playing original songs and having the small crowd get it.

Larry Flavell came along and we recorded Just Pretending at Copper Mine, some really good stuff. The Funions sort of morphed into a classic rock cover band, and there's nothing wrong with that, especially if you want to play.

Chris Cornwell was a huge part of the band for many years, as the amazing drummer for Just Pretending and Is this Appropriate, later on guitar. His father, Pat Cornwell, owns Vegas Music and we had some insanely fun times practicing in the back room.

I apologize to Adam Yates, The Might One, who joined last year. Adam is a musical talent who can play keyboards, drums, harmonica, sing ... He really got into it and made us a lot better. Our last show was at the the old firing range May 22 to celebrate him being promoted to Sgt. Yates and it was an awesome time. I hurt him when I said I was taking a break from The Funions, and I felt like crap afterwards.

Adam? I am sorry. You are talented and need to play. We can make that happen, perhaps on a mellower scale.

Dr. Brei, who I love like a brother and who refused to let the band die on numerous occasions, deserves all the credit. He was there for me during difficult personal times. Funions for life, Mark. Always.

To Jack Inghram and Rock A. Bye Johnny B, all the best. Jack's saxophone is the common denominator at all shows. Doesn't matter if you are a metal gear head or a classical music lover, the sax lures you in and makes you want to jump every single time. JB has provided guidance and kept me level-headed during tough times.

The Funions are not dead. Just resting. I know we will back. I promised a friend we'd be playing at her wedding next summer and will honor that promise, if she will still have the band play.

On to other things, not better things.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

I called a foul on Rick Mahorn

Just back from a wild and whacky trip to Northern Michigan, Metro Detroit, and all points between. Above is a photo of me, famous Detroit Pistons Bad Boy Rick Mahorn and Macker Maniac Tom Cole. I called a foul on Mr. Mahorn. More on that later.

We left Friday afternoon for Traverse City and everything that could go wrong did. It started with terrible traffic around Springfield. The classic "Let's block off an entire lane of interstate highway for no reason" snarled things for about half an hour.

Traffic was bad on I-80/94 so we decided to cut around through Kankakee. It was all good until it started raining sideways, and we couldn't see two feet in front of. We get to the sprawling metropolis of Momence, and there's a freight train backing up traffic for miles.

We ditch the line and head north up Ill. 1 and after bullheadedly refusing to get a map, I finally stop. Permission granted to Shey Fey for shooting me at this point ... anyway we go through Merrillville and of course hit every red light in the history of the world.

We get around Chicago and north of Grand Rapids and by now it's late, really late, as in, we are more than two hours behind schedule. Then it starts raining sideways again near Cadillac.

We went through Buckley at about 2:30 a.m. Not many people can say that. Shey Fey says, "Is there anything north of this place? WHERE THE HECK ARE WE?"

So of course after several wrong turns we finally find the hotel in Traverse City, and there's some sort of nightclub in the hotel and several wedding rehearsal parties and drunk people milling around all over the place. The gal at the counter says, "Oh, your room is above the lounge and the band plays until 2 a.m. tomorrow, sorry about that."

I was too tired to care. The next thing I remember I was parking next to the tournament site about three hours later with no idea where or who I was. Going through three time zones and getting lost in Indiana twice does that to you.

Gus was awesome on Saturday with classic Northern Michigan weather, cool and misty in the morning, sunny and breezy in the afternoon, more mist later in the day. Small tournament but really nice people, highlighted by Rick Mahorn appearing as a guest of major sponsor Great Wolf Lodge.

Mahorn was a member of the infamous Detroit Pistons Bad Boys teams of the late 80s and early 90s, and has the NBA championship rings to prove it. That was a long time ago, because Big Rick doesn't move as well anymore. In fact, Rick doesn't move at all.

We had his team play on Dream Court Saturday and Tom Cole did play by play and at one point I though maybe Mr. Mahorn was going to strangle poor Tom when he said, "Isiah can't help you now Rick. JORDAN RULES! JORDAN RULES!"

Then I call a foul on Mr. Mahorn and he glared at me but fortunately I can still run.

All in good fun, I assure you.

Shey Fey said the band kept her awake for a while Saturday night but after about 9 p.m. I don't remember anything.

Sunday was cool and breezy and misty again, and unfortunately it rained hard near the end of the afternoon, but we got done and lived to tell about it.

Great trip east to Pontiac and Auburn Hills to see family. I am very proud of Kaylee Sullivan!

On the way home last night Shey Fey again interjected sanity and we stayed in Michigan City, in a new hotel by the new Culver's. HUGE. Don't tell anybody in Quincy.

Thanks to Sarah for watching the dogs, Bella and Lucy were overjoyed to see us and were very well cared for.

No more Michigan adventures. Well, at least not until August ....

Friday, June 04, 2010

Another one bites the dust

Stunning revelation here about a local blogger who is not a local but used to be a local.

Heading to Traverse City today to work for Gus. LOOONNNGGGG drive.

Next week I will have some major news about music stuff.