Thursday, August 6, 2009

Junebug about positive music

Nick Wosika wasn’t too keen on joining Junebug at first.

“It’s not the best rock band name,” he said.

Due to his love of music, however, the bass player eventually got over his complex.

“Now it’s for better or for worse,” Wosika said.

Drawing on many influences from numerous genres including psychedelic, funk, grunge, classic rock, reggae and country, high school friends Anthony Bergman, Tony Kollman and Dustin Marks formed Junebug 12 years ago in Jamestown, ND.

How the band settled on its name is a little more interesting, though.

“We were just kids, tinking around in a basement trying to think of a band name,” Kollman said. “We couldn’t come up with much — just silly names high school kids might think up.”

Bergman thought of an episode of “Full House” he had seen, where a gangster was named Junebug.

Kollman and Marks weren’t quite sure. They thought it was kind of “puff” sounding.

“About a half hour later, I said, ‘Junebug is kind of growing on me,’” Kollman said. “Anthony said, ‘On second thought, I don’t like it.’”

But, at the end of the night, the three decided to go with the name until they thought of something better.

They never did.

While Junebug was just playing for fun in Jamestown, the three later moved to Aberdeen, SD.

“Four years ago, we decided to see what we could do with it if we actually tried,” Kollman said. “So, we started putting shows together in South Dakota and just had fun with it.”

But, the trio decided they wanted to take it a step further and move to a city with a stronger music scene.

After making the move to Minneapolis, Wosika joined the band, and there has been no looking back.

Now, the four-piece band will be showcasing their love for music at Murphy’s in Arnolds Park on Friday, Aug. 14 and Saturday, Aug. 15.

“Expect high energy and expect to have a good time,” Kollman said. “We are all about having fun and being positive. People will have a great time. It should be a pretty high energy show.”

The Isles:
Joining Junebug at Murphy’s Aug. 14-15 will be fellow Minneapolis-based band The Isles.

Drawing on a group of individuals that all come from different musical backgrounds and experiences, The Isles was formed on a jam session whim and has skyrocketed into a Midwest success story.

“It’s been a blast,” said band member Todd Douglas.

While Douglas said each of The Isles’ songs has a different feel — from G Love to Dave Matthews to Incubus — the band’s overall sound could be classified as a cross between alternative rock and hip hop.

So, what should patrons of Murphy’s expect from The Isles?

“Something a little different in each song,” Douglas said. “Some might be reggae, some might be funk, some might be rock and some might be hip hop.”

And, Douglas expects all in attendance to be ready to have a very enjoyable outing.

“Be ready to dance and party,” he said. “We’re definitely a party band.”

The Bands:
Anthony Bergman, guitar; lead vocals
Tony Kollman, drums; backing vocals
Dustin Marks, guitar; backing vocals
Nick Wosika, bass

The Isles:
Chris Butts, rhyme and motion
Todd Douglas, guitar and vocals
Anna Wosika, vocals
Travis Lorentson, bass
Nimo the Hooligan, turn tables and samples
DJ Rickerd, drums

At a Glance:
What: Junebug and The Isles
Where: Murphy’s, 129 W. Broadway St., Arnolds Park
When: 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14 and Saturday, Aug. 15
Contact: (712) 332-6111
Online: or

This article appeared in the August 8, 2009 edition of DISCOVER! Magazine.

Busy band heads back home

It’s a homecoming of sorts for Pictures of Then.

Nearly two years ago, the self-described classic British rock band infused with a touch of indie flair, was formed by Joe Gamble, Joe Call and Casey Call, all natives of the Iowa Great Lakes.

A year ago, the three moved to Minneapolis, added keyboardist Tim Greenwood, and began heavily promoting their unique sound.

“Once we got up here, we really came to fruition,” Gamble said. “It’s been no looking back since.”

Originally, the Lakes natives thought it would be easy to occasionally make the three-and-a-half hour jaunt back home. But, Pictures of Then’s popularity has made that a little difficult.

“We’ve been doing over 100 shows a year, so whenever we do go home, we don’t want to go anywhere,” Gamble said. “We end up just hanging out in Minneapolis a lot.”

But, the band will be making a repeat appearance at the Green Wave Music Festival on Sunday, Aug. 16, at Kenue Park in Okoboji.

“It’s cool, because it’s kind of like a homecoming for us,” Gamble said. “It gives us a great excuse to go home, hang around Okoboji and visit our families for a few days.”

What’s more, the members of Pictures of Then are very supportive of the Green Wave message.

“What’s neat about Green Wave is that it’s clearly about the music, but at the same time, it’s promoting something larger than that. And, what’s really neat is that it’s not happening in Minneapolis, Madison or Chicago, it’s happening in Okoboji. I don’t think people really understand how neat that is. There are a lot of progressive cities that carry the green message, yet Okoboji is a small town, and it’s doing one of the coolest activist activities I’ve seen as far as getting the word out. That’s really neat.”

The Band:
Casey Call, vocals and guitar
Joe Call, drums
Joe Gamble, guitar
Tim Greenwood, keyboard and background vocals

Wicked Sea:
Check out Picture of Then’s latest album, “And the Wicked Sea,” before the band’s performance at the Green Wave Music Festival.
The album, which dropped on Tuesday, is available for purchase on iTunes or on

Minneapolis based Pictures of Then may have just released their latest album, but that isn’t the only thing the band is excited about.
“Recently, we’ve just been licensed on five or six different MTV shows,” said guitarist Joe Gamble.
Gamble expects the songs to be played this fall once the new television line-up is aired.

1-2:30 p.m. Damon Dotson
3-4:30 p.m. Driftwood Fire
5-6:30 p.m. Lonesome Traveler
7-8:30 p.m. Pictures of Then

At a Glance:
What: Green Wave Music Festival
Where: Kenue Park, 2251 County Home Rd., Okoboji
When: Noon-8:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16
Cost: Tickets, $5; parking, $10
Contact: (712) 331-1493

This article appeared in the August 8, 2009 edition of DISCOVER! Magazine.

Sioux Speedway welcomes legend

Ken Schrader has made a living out of driving in circles.

That doesn’t mean the 54-year-old gets dizzy, though.

No, for Schrader, going ’round in circles is basically second nature.

Especially considering his 20 years of successes in the NASCAR elite series.

Schrader got his start burning rubber at the young age of 3, when his father, Bill, tied a cable from his go-kart to a post in the backyard of their Missouri home. Schrader would drive around and around in circles until his go-kart would run out of gas and he would ask his dad to fill it back up so he could continue.

“I guess you could say that I’ve been dizzy ever since,” Schrader said. “I really don’t think it is an exaggeration when I say that racing is all I’ve ever known. I’ve been racing since I could walk, and it is really all I have ever wanted to do. To be honest, I would race everyday if I had the opportunity.”

After numerous top place finishes in the Nextel Cup Series, the Craftsman Truck Series, the NASCAR Grand National West Division, the NASCAR Auto Zone Elite Southwest Series and the ARCA Series, racing everyday is almost exactly what Schrader has continued to do — especially at small race tracks around the United States.

And, on Thursday, Aug. 13, the racer will be showcasing his talent in his No. 9 Modified at Sioux Speedway in Sioux Center.

Deemed Ken Schrader Night, the semi-retired NASCAR legend will start off the evening with a meet and greet.

“Fans will be able to come down and get an autograph from Ken,” said Sioux Speedway race director Darlo Mulder. “It will be open to the first 350 people that buy a ticket.”

Schrader will then race in the Modified division, but Mulder said the night will still feature Hobby Stock, B-Modified and Stock Car races.

Following the races, Mulder said those fans who weren’t present at the meet and greet can mingle with the racer in the pits — an opportunity Mulder himself will no doubt be taking advantage of.

“I’ve always been a big Kenny Schrader fan, and I’m really excited to meet him,” Mulder said. “I’m just excited to have someone that big in Sioux Center. Hopefully it will draw a big crowd and everyone else will appreciate the opportunity, too.”

“I want to spend my time racing. It’s not only my job, but it’s also my hobby. I love the time that I get to spend behind the wheel, and as long as I can, I’m going to race whenever I get the chance.”
Ken Schrader

Unique Races:
As Sioux Speedway only holds four races each season, race director Darlo Mulder tries to make each event original.
“We try to find something unique to make every night different,” he said.
Although the speedway has never featured a NASCAR legend like Ken Schrader, Mulder is quite excited for the opportunity to host such a distinguished racer.
“Usually, when tracks have a big event like this, the ticket price is pretty high, but we’re not doing that,” Mulder said. “We’re charging the normal ticket price, and that’s quite a good deal to watch someone like him race.”
What’s more, all of the proceeds from the night go towards the Sioux County Fair.

Sioux Speedway is located on the Sioux County Fairgrounds, one mile east of Hwy. 75 on Seventh Street N.E. in Sioux Center.

At a Glance:
What: Ken Schrader Night
Where: Sioux Speedway, one mile east of Hwy. 75 on Seventh Street N.E., Sioux Center
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13
Cost: $9 for adults; $5 for ages 9-12; ages 8 and under are free; $25 pit pass
Contact: (712) 441-1705
Online: or

This article appeared in the August 8, 2009 edition of DISCOVER! Magazine