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Punk Rock Comes BACK to the UP

The Second Reunion - 2005

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A Regulars reunion show is always a special occasion. Our first reunion in the summer of 2003 was the first time we had played together as The Regulars in 15 years. Two years later, we did it again, this time marking the 20-year anniversary of the bandís formation.

Itís funny to think back to those days in the spring of 1985. In the beginning, we lacked some of the basic equipment needed to rehearse and had to resort to using hockey sticks and curtain rods with duct tape as mic stands and a home stereo tuner as a PA. The drum set was a teetering hodge-podge of various pieces. At one point, one of the rack toms was held to the bass drum with the belt from a Star Wars bathrobe! Anyone remember the Fat Albert junkyard band? We were the real deal.

What we lacked in proper gear, we more than made up for in spirit and inspiration. From the very beginning, the idea was to play the punk/power pop/garage rock that gave us our musical sustenance in the otherwise barren musical landscape that was Marquette, Michigan in the Eighties. Some of the initial songs that we learned back then - The Monkeesí Letís Dance On, the Dead Kennedysí Letís Lynch the Landlord and the Ramonesí Blitzkrieg Bop remain staples in our set today.

Our live debut occurred at the 1985 Senior Party. We were the first band to play that day on a makeshift stage of plywood in some open field somewhere out in the boonies. We opened for some local rock guitar God that actually provided a full-on live PA system. No hockey sticks or cassette recorder mics that night!

While we waited to go on, guys that we could easily imagine wanting to kick our asses because of how we looked were asking us whether weíd be playing some Alice Cooper, AC/DC or Skynyrd. Our response was a nervous chuckle and a quick name-dropping of The Who, which was the closest thing to 70s hard rock we did at the time, and even that it was an obscure song from the first Who album that they, no doubt, had never heard before.

Needless to say, we were all a little nervous and quickly took advantage of the multiple kegs of beer that were on hand, partly to help summon up the courage to face our intimidating audience and partly to numb ourselves in the event that our asses would, in fact, get kicked that night.

Like some kind of bad omen, the sky became dark with impending rain clouds when we hit the stage sometime in the early evening. We played like a band on a mission that had something to prove, barreling through our set of punk rock with a fuck-you-if-you-donít-like-it intensity as the inevitable requests for Cooper, Zeppelin and, of course, Skynyrd, were shouted out between songs. We finished up our set just as the first sprinkles of rain began to come down.

The response afterwards was, for the most part, positive, although always prefaced with, "I donít really get into your kind of music, but you guys rocked!" We had played our first gig to the scariest audience we would ever face and won them over. Maybe they didnít rush out afterwards and by a Sex Pistols album, but they didnít beat us up either!

Over the next two years, The Regulars continued to play anywhere we could get a gig and began to cultivate an audience that actually did get into our kind of music. We also became somewhat of a professional act with some decent mics and stands and, eventually, a drum set that wouldnít topple over mid-song.

Fast forward twenty years to 2005.

The Regulars still kick out the same punk/indie/power pop we played back in the day, but now we have better gear (we now record our gigs on a laptop directly from the soundboard instead of the cassette recorder sitting somewhere out front) and a cool website with a mailing list to promote the bandís history and activities. The days of the physical cut-and-paste flyer designs have been replaced with the far more pro digital cut-and-paste design capabilities of Photoshop.

While most of our music hasnít changed significantly, the musicianship itself is far more accomplished than it was twenty years ago. Since The Regulars initial demise in 1987, each of us has continued to pursue a variety of musical ambitions. Doing The Regulars thing now 21st-Century-Redux is like coming around full-circle, back to where it all began. And it feels great.

Thanks to all our supporters, past and present. It was another great gig this time around for the band and hopefully for those who were there to check it out and hang out with us.

At some point during the show someone yelled out the obligatory "Free Bird!" request. Itís nice to know some things just donít change.

Who knows, maybe in another twenty years we may actually attempt to honor such a request. Donít hold your breath, though.

See you all next time.

- Fritz, Tim, Jer & John (a.k.a The Regulars)

UPFront Flyer 2005