Chances are if you were to pick up a CD and see a Ramones looking cover with a guy wearing a bunny mask dressed like Joey Ramone, you would put it back down and continue with life. In the case of solo act Nobunny, I almost did the very same thing. In fact I have had the CD for a few weeks now and could not for the life of me force myself into playing it; that is until today. Today was like any other day except I finally put Love Visions into my CD player and what I got out of it was a complete surprise.
What is Nobunny you ask? Nobunny is a man of sorts, a jokester performer who is more of a modern day GG Allen. A gimmick act who sounds a lot like a mix between the Dead Milkmen and the Ramones, all while sporting a bunny mask. His live shows are for the less timid mostly because the masked Nobunny loses his pants during performances after drowning himself in booze and sings into a microphone that looks like a carrot. The result of his actions, on top of his music, however have won over an elaborate array of fans. This is Nobunny’s first CD release thanks to 1234 Go Records.
Not much is publicly known about the man behind the mask or the band that backs him up. The only known fact about Nobunny is that he is from Tucson. From there it is said that he was living in a trailer with no utilities and came to realize he wanted to be an Animal Elvis impersonator to help pay the bills. Soon thereafter Nobunny was writing his own material and booked his first show in Chicago on Easter Sunday in 2001. The set was in fact dedicated to Joey Ramone, who had actually died that day.
Nobunny has been known for his shenanigans while touring. He once booked two shows on the same day, at the same time, and had a fill in for the show he did not perform. Sometimes he doesn’t even show up to the venue at all leaving fans with a not so funny feeling. Nobunny even mentioned receiving a gift while on stage at Cleveland’s Tower 2012, but you will have to read the interview to find out that gift. You would not think that someone who acted like this would have fans, but the truth is a lot of folk like him and have paid outrageous amounts of money to acquire his Love Visions record on Ebay.
With knowing what Nobunny is all about I finally checked out Love Visions. As soon as “Nobunny Starts” played I could not decide what I liked about it except that it was a direct rip off of a classic song from the past that I can not for the life of me grasp the title. I only imagine Junior Senior while listening to it and realize it is only a gimmick.
The second “I Know I Know” started I realize I was hooked. I am reminded of classic punk rock from the 70s like Iggy & The Stooges. “Mess Me Up” started mixing that said 70’s punk with good, garage rock fun for a great sing along of sorts. I loved the guitar and simple drums and the baritone “Bo bo bo bo” at the end.
“I Am A Girlfriend” is a clear imitation of The Ramones and I loved it as well as the following “Tina Goes To Work”. Perhaps one of the more memorable songs “Chuck Berry Holiday” had me thinking at times of the Rolling Stones in the earlier years. The song was a continuing surprise to my ears as I moved through. “Boneyard” was a track that stood out above the rest with a drum machine sounding beat backing up some easy going distorted guitars. It almost sounds like a White Stripes b-side with a twist.
Ending the CD is the DIY sounding “Not That Good”. I sure hope the song was not how he felt about his debut because I would have to disagree. I enjoyed the simple punk rock entertainment throughout. The CD is not solid by any means and the songs are short and sweet, possibly aiding in the appeal to the act.
Having not heard of Nobunny before and reading a very short bio on him I was not expecting much of anything when I initially put the disc in. I was guessing what I was about to hear was going to be either too artsy for a simple guy like me to understand or just downright ugly. I was wrong. I was dead wrong.
Indie rock, punk rock, and even a little garage rock, it’s all there in Love Visions. Even if the guy wears a mask that is sure to scare the hell out of small children he should not be underestimated and will be heard. His live performances are to be left determined as I have not had the opportunity to see Nobunny in the flesh yet but I did notice on his MySpace page that he will be playing at the SXSW this spring in Austin, TX.
Catch him live if you dare as I have heard good and bad things about him. The bad outweighs the good of course mostly because by the time Nobunny has finished he is hammered and pants-less which may not be appealing to all viewers. The good thing is that regardless how he presents his act, solo or with a touring band, he is there to entertain, bunny mask and all.
Here are a couple of videos I found of Nobunny… Try not to be too scared.