Champaign/Urbana Music Scene and the Rise and Fall of Der Lugomen

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Last weekend Nonagon took a little mini-tour to play a gig at the Iron Post in Urbana, Illinois. The town was buried, ball-deep in snow and was completely dead. All the old haunts have been sterilized, commercialized and bland-o-fied. From what we hear, gone are the days of Cham-bana’s vibrant music scene. Sure, there are still some good bands down there, Triple Whip for example, and I hear the Poster Children are still alive, but the spark is gone.

All this said, our show was a blast, and we were very thankful to the people who brave the weather to come out that night. But cruisin’ around the town brought back many reminiscences of gigs of years past. For me it was my college-years band, Der Lugomen. We only played out three times, but each show was an event to behold.

Der Lugomen was comprised of Robert Gomez (hey, that’s me), John Burgess, Thom Burbrink (who now goes by the professional moniker of Frank T. Burbrink, PhD.), and an Alesis 16-B drum machine. Our music was much influenced by Big Black and The Jesus Lizard, basically that late 80s early 90s Illinois indy sound.

At the time we all lived in the same apartment and seemed to have endless hours available to us for dicking around and writing songs. We would have full-volume practice sessions in our 3rd floor apartment unit, and the neighbors never seemed to complain (at least not to our faces). All of our work cumulated in the release of 2 tapes full of songs. The first was a patchy hodge podge of songs entitled, “No Rules Barred.” The second was our magnum opus, “Honky Lips.”

I have put together a DVD of footage from our last show. Here’s a clip from it that I posted on YouTube.

Der Lugomen only performed out three times. This show, at Treno’s pizzeria in Urbana, was our first non-house party show and our last show ever. We basically played our songs while Thom sang, threw garbage and terrorized the folks near the front.

For those of you with good eyesight, you may be able to see Jay Ryan taking my shoes off. After us, Jumpknuckle played (featuring John of Nonagon), then Snapcase, and finally Hot Glue Gun. The local bands were all great. Snapcase was awful. Retarded NYC punk–they actually had guys on stage who would accentuate song changes by punching in the air. We theorized that they would have to pull the tour van over every couple of hours so that they could all take punch breaks at the side of the road.

If you are interested in obtaining some Der Lugomen music send me a note and maybe we can work something out.

More Videos from my VHS Archives

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I’m beginning to slowly make my way through my old VHS tapes in search of interesting video to post and have found a couple. First we have a short clip from Ben Stiller’s old MTV show. The MTV show was pretty funny, much better than the Fox incarnation that came along later. He really has the mannerism of Shatner down, but Stiller can’t do the voice at all. That’s basically the problem with most of Stiller’s sketch comedy. He can write good sketches but doesn’t have the impersonation skills (that Zoolander voice was freakin’ awful) that define most of the recent American sketch comedy greats like Mike Meyers. Anyhow, enjoy this high point in his career:

UPDATE: The above video was removed from YouTube due to a copyright violation, but thanks to a glitch in YouTube’s API you can still view it embedded here!

Next we have the legendary performance of 3-D (Douglas Denevio… Denebio[?]) lip syncing to Paul Hardcastle’s 19. I believe he won that season’s competition–I hope he spent his $25,000 wisely. Anyhow, the numbers tell the story 30-30-30. We can only dream that we could as cool as Doug: