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

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.


browneyedgirl said...

It's awesome that you've been given some new and exciting musical opportunities... you're so talented and new things keep it interesting. Rodney, Pat, Mark, Jackie, and Jon... I don't know if you realize this, but the Funions got me through one of the toughest times I've ever experienced in my personal life. If it weren't for my "brothers", I don't know if I'd have come out on the other side in one piece. Gotta say it... THANK YOU. For everything. Til the next world parking lot tour... I love you all and I'll miss you.

Walter said...

Wow. Some parts of my universe have stopped spinning. I'll get over this, but things will be different. Thanks (to all of you) for some of the most fun I have ever had in just listening (because you know I can't dance).