As co-founder of The Spunkies, an "art band and more," Jim Hudak always looks forward to their occasional reunions. An upcoming Spunkies gathering looks to be extra special. This coming July 14th and 15th, at a secret location in Southern Oregon, Jim will rejoin the Spunkies and a few members of their greater musical family for two days of playing, composing, and recording music. The setting will be a rural retreat along the beautiful Applegate River near Grants Pass. Guitarist-Pianist-Vocalist Hudak, (known in The Spunkies as Bland Chok), will be joined by fellow founding members Fingers (Jim Schlauch) on keyboards and vocals, and Zubito Huascar, (Will Sullivan) on vocals and percussion. The three long time friends co-invented "The Spunkies" band and brand on August 9, 1981, and all three contribute extensively to the band's original compositions. "We've made countless recordings over the years," Hudak said recently. "For 90% of our get togethers, I'd have a high quality reel to reel or cassette tape recorder running, capturing the music. That's especially important with this band, since the nature of what we do makes it impossible to play the songs the same way twice. The recordings have allowed us to capture and preserve music that's one of a kind, and would otherwise be lost as quickly as it gets created." Indeed, with deep and mostly positive lyrical messages spewed out by Huascar in stream of consciousness fashion, recordings were the only way The Spunkies could prove to people that they actually play music. Hudak is the only full-time professional musician in the band, and they've performed publicly as a group only once in 26 years, at his wedding reception in Nashville in 1997. "Since we so rarely perform, it would be hard to get anyone to believe that we actually write and play music," Hudak explains. "But the hundreds of recordings I've made of the band over the years authenticate what includes an impressive body of work. Not all of our stuff is great, and some of it is garbage. But when you put all of our best songs, lyrics, and musical highlights together, there's a lot of good material there. A treasure trove of absolutely inimitable music." In this era of digital recording and the Internet, suddenly a worldwide audience of 7.5 billion people could have access to Spunkies music. Though the Spunkies have been slow to convert their analog recordings into the digital domain, Hudak's recent completion of a two-year degree program in Recording Arts may be just the ticket for this unusual musical aggregation to gain new exposure. He just put together 30-minutes worth of digitized Spunkies music on CD, the first time the band's ever had their music preserved in that medium. Hudak hopes to have more of their recordings digitized and available on-line in the coming months and years. "The thing is, no one else does what we do. That's important in and of itself. We're proud of the fact that our lead singer and primary lyrical content creator, Zubito, can't carry a tune, yet he's got a presence and charismatic delivery that's oddly compelling. He's a bit like Jim Morrison, a poet and a shamanistic type of character. There's a lot to be learned from Zubito's imagery, philosophy and perspective." "Fingers, meanwhile, is a brilliantly talented musician," continues Hudak. "Just an outstanding pianist and a good singer and writer. Me, I just try to be the catalyst, the glue that more or less holds us together. The Spunkies have proven to be an enduring concept and experiment, and every time we get together, new creative output results. It's quite astonishing, really." Joining the original Spunkies this weekend will be Marc Gonzalez on bass, guitar, and vocals, and Rick Parkinson on vocals and percussion. Additional musical guests may be present as well. Check back soon for a report on a weekend bound to generate lots of excitement and musical energy. The Spunkies: a unique musical collective that cannot be denied.

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