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Three Beats: A tape from the band that spawned Vee Dee, Daily Void, and Nobunny

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PUNK | A tape from the band that spawned Vee Dee, Daily Void, and Nobunny

In 1995, three disaffected teenagers living in the suburbs of the North Shore—Justin Champlin, Chris Erickson, and Dan Lang—started a band inspired by the Ramones, the Gories, and Teengenerate. That summer they recorded ten songs in the basement of Erickson's mother's house in Deerfield, using a two-track and one microphone, which they'd covered with a cardboard box to muffle the excessive noise. They played out once, at a south-side punk show, and then broke up.

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The name of the band was the Fuckin' Boneshakers, and earlier this month Florida label Certified PR released that 16-year-old basement tape on vinyl as MCMXCV Masterbation Sessions. This might seem like an inexplicable decision, unless you know that the Boneshakers' three members went on to develop twisted interpretations of garage punk in bands that are or were scene mainstays in Chicago (and in some cases far beyond).

Lang, the bassist, played in the Brides and is still in Vee Dee. Erickson, the guitarist, was in the Functional Blackouts and Daily Void. Champlin, the drummer, has since been a member of bands like the Sneaky Pinks (who covered the Fuckin' Boneshakers' delightfully stupid stomper "Kill Kill Kill") and the Okmoniks, and he's earned a devoted international fan base as Nobunny.

When I sit down with Erickson and Lang for pizza, beer, and reminiscing at the Boiler Room in Logan Square, ironically enough 90s pop punk is playing in an endless loop. Champlin, who now lives in Oakland, is in town preparing for a Canadian tour, but he gets hung up looking for drums to borrow and doesn't make it.

"It was great meeting Justin and Chris when I did," Lang says, "as we started liking the same bands—bands I still listen to—and I was learning a lot.

"But we were pretty bad," he adds, laughing as he points to Erickson, "especially with this guy playing guitar."

"Dan used to yell at me about tempo," Erickson says. "I couldn't really keep time."

"If he didn't write the song, he couldn't play it," Lang says.

The Fuckin' Boneshakers' recordings, if not exactly "seminal," are an interesting and entertaining source document—a raw, rollicking 15 and a half minutes of adolescent braying, with song titles like "I Wanna Puke," "Pussycat Burglers," and "Hey Girl You Make Me So Sick." Subtle it ain't, but you can hear the roots of the musical madness these three would later perpetrate. —Brian Costello

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