By Thalia Stopa
VANCOUVER — “In the words of Abraham Lincoln, ‘be excellent to each other’. And like Mickey Mouse once said, ‘Put on a costume and lose yourself.’ ” So says Chicago-based rock’n’roller Justin Champlin, aka Nobunny. The notoriously debaucherous performer puts on one hell of a show, and encourages his audience members to reciprocate his wild party animal energy…but also to be respectful.
As a fan of contradiction as well as controversy, Champlin is not shy about his own. “I’m not only a misanthropic humanitarian, but I’m a card carrying member of A.T.W.A. who eats meat and uses petrol in my engine. I’m like a hypocritical hippie, but aren’t we all,” he muses. The rabbit-masked musician and performer is a true enigma.
With Champlin’s twisted living cartoon persona, he may never achieve his dream to play a show at the White House. However, the unlikelihood only increases the appeal. As for a more apt venue: “Dismaland [ sic ] would be so sick. I saw some bands were playing there and I couldn’t help but wish that Banksy was more of a punk rocker instead of hip hopper. Oi Banksy! Let’s do this!”
The dystopian Dismaland would be a fine fit, as Champlin is no stranger to unusual venues. For the tenth anniversary of Nobunny, on Easter of 2011 he celebrated with a show at the incredibly apt Playboy Mansion. As his fifteenth approaches, he is tight-lipped about the plans in the works.
It’s been two years since Nobunny’s last album release, Secret Songs: Reflections from the Ear Mirror. Fans will have to remain patient for a while longer though—Nobunny’s sixth full-length LP is planned to be released sometime next year but a date isn’t set. “It takes a minute to make the gnarly, hard, beautiful, punk, ‘What the Fuck!?!’, soul type of monster pop album of my dreams. Yes ma’am [ sic ].” In this case, it took a seven-month hiatus from playing shows last fall and winter to focus on writing and recording new material.
Now Nobunny is back on the road and better than ever. A solo musician in the studio, he has a habit of picking up different backing bands to tour with him. This time he’s joined onstage by the Rockoons, which he claims is likely the best band he’s ever played with. “We got some major fire. Prepare to sweat!”
Nobunny performs at the Cobalt on October 19.BC, British Columbia, Cobalt, Nobunny