Bunny ballin’

Pub date January 28, 2009
SectionMusicSectionMusic Features

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Nobunny loves you — that much is clear by the end of the first track on his debut, Love Visions. But where did the masked maven of caffeinated garage-punk come from? I met with the leather-jacketed, now Bay Area-based "half-rabbit, half-jackalope, half-human" at an Oakland bar, angling for two rabbit-earfuls of explanation. It’s hard not to be curious: the aforementioned Visions, released last year by 1-2-3-4 Go! and Bubbledumb, motorbiked outta left field to become 2008’s most delightful lo-fi slab of clambake party jams. Even heavy-hitter Jay Reatard recently designated it as his new favorite record "to jump around in [his] underwear and eat pizza in bed to!"

Eight years ago, Nobunny was conceived as "The No-Money Bunny" near the mountains west of Tucson, where, after having cleaned up a hard drug habit, the soon-to-be bunny-eared dude thought he ought to become "a rabbit Elvis impersonator … no joke!" He followed a peculiar familial precedent for masked musicianship — mom with the Moos Brothers and the Blues Chickens, dad donned punk garb in the Blues Burgers, and Nobunny himself prefers to remain anonymous — and busked on Tucson’s avenues before his first paid gig: an April 2001 show at Chicago’s Fireside Bowl on Easter Sunday. As it turned out, it was also the day Joey Ramone died — a strangely appropriate DOB for a project that would pick up the Ramones’ pink punk shoelaces and tie them to what Nobunny calls a "no boundaries, all id" ‘tude.

After early gigs opening for Blowfly and the Black Lips ("There was no competition for the cool slots in Tucson," Nobunny says), the live performance bug has since had him by his oft-visible balls. "Anything from a tape deck to a nine-piece band" backs him up as he cranks out tunes with a rousing, familiar-feeling bubblegum jubilance. He admittedly enjoys "Frankenstein-ing" together fragments of songs he loves, but make no mistake: such sugary album cuts as "I Am a Girlfriend" and "Church Mouse" are the keyboard-drum grind of Nobunny and nobody else!

Since the LP’s release, he has put out a 7-inch single, "Give It to Me"/"Motorhead With Me" (HoZac, 2008), and when we spoke he alluded to several new releases on the way, including an new album. "Not a single review of the other album could apply to the next one," which he said will be "all acoustic," powered by handclaps, beer bottles, and stomped-on phone books. For a good time, look up Nobunny’s line — it’s probably scrawled on a bathroom wall somewhere.


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