In Between Naps With Nobunny
On a warm November day I rode my bike through down town Tucson; past children dressed as ghouls, men and women with signs of loved ones lost, and many people confusingly dressed a la steampunk.
Once I pulled up in front of Batch, explained to Justin Champlin, aka Nobunny, that I wasn’t just an overly friendly stranger, and my friend, muse and fellow KAMP DJ Emily arrived, we all sat down to discuss romance, the desert, and punk rock.
Catalina: Since Tucson is celebrating Day of the Dead and you have an album titled Raw Romance, tell us one dead person whom you’d like to share an evening of raw romance with.
Nobunny: Okay, this is recorded right? I’ll try not to ramble too much….
Catalina and Emily (in unison): Ramble away!
Nb: Dead person who I’d like to raw romance?
E: Dead or alive! Like resurrected or straight up necrophilia?
Nb: I just caught on that someone I think likes dead people by listening to their lyrics and it kind of hit me and I was like “Wait a minute!” this is not like one or two songs….
Nb: No, but yeah good call. No, I felt like it was someone modern, like a friend of mine or something…
C: Ariel Pink?
Nb: No..damn. Hmm..dead people I want to do it with..
C: We said raw romance, you say do it with.
E: It could be a nice candlelit dinner.
Nb: I’ll just keep it cheesy and say my friend Tony, cause he died over a year ago and I miss him. That’s not really that exciting but yeah, Tony.
E: You just played at Night of the Living Fest, but you’ve played it before. How did this years NOLF differ from your previous years?
Nb: There was no police this year. I don’t think there was any nudity this year because it was all ages this year, but it was all ages last year but I wasn’t aware of that at the time.
C: Yeah Seth Bogart’s niece and nephew were at NOLF. [note: they are young children]
Nb: I know! And they wanted to show their butts and dance and they asked him if that was okay and he told them that they might get arrested but you know...you do what you gotta do. NOLF this year was way more fun, I guess you know…because there were no police. It felt a lot more chill, it was in Tucson, the other one was in Old Tucson, like the western studios thing, which was cool but a little weird. I wasn’t so comfortable there from the get-go with altercations with security, which later became police and security, but I look back on it and laugh. It was really fun in hindsight, we got good pictures. There was a security report that I hope never goes public because it’s really embarrassing for not only myself but for other people, not to mention not completely accurate but it is pretty juicy and funny.
E: Let’s go into the public records!
C: You started out in Tucson, what’s your favorite thing to do when you’re back in town?
Nb: Hmmm, I like to go out into the desert, truth be told. When I first lived here I lived out in the desert, about 45 minutes west or so down Speedway over the mountains. I still like to go out there even though there’s nothing out there, but it’s really quiet and creepy and it brings me back to my special place where I started Nobunny. I feel like I don’t know Tucson as much because it has changed so much but I still like it. I like that it’s still…dare I say the F- word....?
C: We might have to censor that. Even though you lived pretty far out aways, were you really into the music scene in Tucson when you lived here?
Nb: I was very, very, very, very, very into the music scene here. It was very small, from what I saw as far as punk rock and rock n roll. It was pretty much all right here where we are sitting. I’ve played more shows in this building right here than anywhere probably ever, even before Nobunny.
[Pointing next to Batch] This place was Vaudeville, and then across the street there was a place called Double Zero, and then Grill, there was a 24-hour diner on this corner that was like the hub of all trouble in Tucson. You could smoke in there and stuff. When I was here there were basically three people holding down the Tucson scene. Myself, someone named Malarky and a guy named Mark Beef. I’ve given myself too much credit by saying that the three of us were the only ones holding it down but anyways we all had birthdays that were three days in a row and one of us is very small, I would say I’m just about the most average normal boring looking person, and Mark Beef is a very big man. We were the three stooges, always in the front row pretty much at every single show, and usually the only three people at many, many, many, many, many shows.
E: Speaking of front row, we were at the show last night and it was getting pretty rowdy…touchy. Is there something you’re not okay with fans doing?
Nb: Umm, that was a little much, yeah. If that shit didn’t happen at the last fest where there was a little trouble during our set, and since this is a festival with not a long set and there’s a schedule, I probably would have taken the time to try and politely explain that maybe don’t…grab someone too much? I’m not gonna lie, every once in a while sure it’s nice if some cute girl is touching me in my underwear but sometimes it’s really annoying and too much and painful to be honest. It gets rude and not being so romantic to just like borderline sexual assault. If you just start grabbing a stranger’s genitals…well you’re not supposed to do that. That’s the problem with Donald Trump.
C: So Nobunny does have boundaries?
Nb: Surely! Absolutely! Yeah.
C: I’m not sure who Nobunny exactly is?
Nb: Sensitive, 90’s kind of gal, ya know? Kurt Cobain. Kathleen Hanna. Last night someone did like straight up just slap, uhh, under slap my…you know.
E: Security can sometimes be dicks but at times I wish there was some regulation because…
Nb: Yeah security is a weird thing especially since in general our crowds get pretty wild and people are moshing and grabbing each other and jumping off the stage and stuff, and I’m all for a good time. Rock n roll, it’s gonna get a little rowdy, but generally it shouldn’t have to be too bad. No one should get hurt or feel terribly invaded. Sometimes there is someone there being that person, and just being too much, and it sucks to have to be the person to tell them that as a performer, since I’m supposed to be entertaining, so that’s why I appreciate security. But sometimes security is too tough and you know, not really into the music and just there pissed off at their job, and that’s not cool either. I do actually really like security, which I feel is very un-punk rock of me, but I just want people to be generally safe.
C: Right! So, run us through a typical Sunday for Justin.
Nb: Hmm, here we are, Sunday. Well, I guess in general I’m an early bird, I wake up really early. I tend to go to bed really late. I’ll take a nap, maybe two during the day, little siestas. Yeah I nap a lot…
E: What are your favorite and least favorite things about touring?
Nb: Favorite? I feel like this might be too obvious but seeing new places, meeting new people, and also, real talk, just being able to sort of run away from responsibility and you know, no one really expects me to be doing anything very serious or responsible. People are just expecting me to get drunk and have fun and jump around, be crazy and entertain, so that’s good. It’s also really hard because I don’t like living in a group, I’m somewhat of a loner even though I like people. I do have a very nice group of people though. Finding a place to stay is rough, because spending money on hotels is kind of expensive, although I love hotels so much I would live in a hotel.
C: I’d marry a hotel!
E: I’d have a night of raw romance with a hotel!
Nb: If I could I’d get the whole floor, the one above and below. Just a quiet place to sleep, I love sleeping. If anything’s clear that can be the title of the interview.
C: I really loved Pookie’s (one of the bunnies in Nobunny) moves last night, who’s your favorite bunny?
Nb: No I can’t choose between them…
E: From any bunny!
Nb: Oh, well Bugs is pretty good, classic. I like Bunny Carlos, the drummer from Cheap Trick. I like most bunnies to be honest. Which is part of how I decided on the name Nobunny, you know bunnies are good, they are generally appealing, kind of cute..
C: There are a lot in the desert.
Nb: There’s a lot, when I started I saw a lot of the big bunnies flying through the desert.
C: Is it a pun off of nobody?
Nb: The real story is just sort of because I was broke and living in the desert and I was coming to Tucson and performing on the streets as the No Money Bunny, cause it rhymed. I would put up a sign that said please feed the No Money Bunny, which didn’t work at all. I don’t think I made a single penny ever. People were actually rather hostile for the most part except for underneath the 4th Ave underpass. I played all over and would put up flyers and no one would come because it was outdoors and weird and