Columbus, Ohio USA
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What The Rock?!
The Bumble Christmas Show Couldn't Have Gone Better
By Margaret Marten
January/February 2015 Issue
EDITOR'S NOTE: In December 2016, the What The Rock?! moved to 3039 Indianola Ave. after closing the 1194 N. High St. location. In December 2017, they closed the new Indianola Avenue sho. They no longer have a brick- and-mortar retail store.
Eddie Blau, Gene Brodeur, and Matt Wyatt – The Bumble band members. PHoto © Gus Brunsman III
The Bumble snagged a gig at What The Rock?! in the Short North on Tuesday, December 16 to share Christmas songs and the holiday spirit with an audience of shoppers, strollers, and other rock ‘n’ roll fans. The tightly packed performance included about a dozen rock ‘n’ roll Christmas-themed compositions the group pieced together and printed out for a sing-along.
Band member Matt Wyatt had approached the storeowners, Mike and Heather, in October about doing the show, wanting to resurrect the annual Christmas concert that Mors Ontologica, one of his favorite bands, had been doing at What The Rock?! before that band broke up a few years ago. The shopowners liked the idea, so Wyatt decided to follow Mors’ program to a T by designing the booklet of lyrics for audience members to sing along and enjoy as a caroling experience. “Some people got a kick out of it, said Wyatt, “some people were a little weirded out because they thought it was so much more effort than the event warranted.”
Wyatt’s band is perhaps more widely known by its previous incarnations, the Planktones and Columbus Power Squadron, which included (off and on) his brothers Mark and Chris, and current members, bassist Eddie Blau and drummer Gene Brodeur. “The last couple years we’ve had members come in and out,” explained Wyatt, including his brothers, who moved to Indiana. “When it came down to the last three of us in town, we thought it’s not that band anymore, we need a different name.” The Bumble, based on the Yeti-like creature in the claymation special “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” from the ‘60s, seemed like an appropriate tag for the group during their Christmas gigs.
The trio recently recorded a couple songs for Ken Eppstein of Nix Comics and labelled themselves the Unbearables for that one project. “In 2015, the three of us will be called the 3 Speeds,” Wyatt said. The name popped up when he thought of a band from the ‘80s, the 4 Skins, four guys with shaved heads and a hilarious double entendre. “There’s three of us and mostly fast music, said Wyatt, “so that’s how it came up really.”
Wyatt, 56, also is a published cartoonist and contributes regularly to the Short North Gazette. He says he had a knack for drawing as a kid in Groveport, Ohio, but didn’t establish himself as a professional cartoonist until he reached 40. His music career began after purchasing a guitar at a pawn shop when he was 16. His parents were not happy. “They encouraged me in the best way possible,” said Wyatt. “They hated it. I feel so blessed to be in the generation whose parents thought it was the worst music in the world, that it wasn’t even music.” Rebellion and fascination with the instrument fueled his passion. “It was such a mystical, foreign thing to us, and nothing but bad could come from it, so we wanted as much of that as we could get.”
Over the years, Wyatt has played in a half dozen bands, he said. One that got notice around Columbus in the ‘80s was Great Plains with legendary Ron House as the lead singer and songwriter. They stuck it out for nine years, put out some records, and did a little touring.
Back to The Bumble: The Christmas show at What the Rock?! couldn’t have gone better, said Wyatt. “The sound was good. We weren’t too loud for the space. I’ve had a very fun Christmas musically.”
EDITORS NOTE: Matt's related Facebook Post December 1, 2017: Many ears ago, I went into What The Rock?! at their Short North location. I went to buy some Xmas gifts and wandered into a full-blown rock show. Mors Ontologica had shoehorned themselves into the front window area (I think the drummer replaced his stool with the window ledge). They played a full Christmas set, complete with sing-along booklets. They rocked as usual, and they continued this holiday gig for several years. When they disbanded, I talked my group into replacing them as the band that played punk rock versions of Christmas carols and rock Christmas tunes. And the booklets had to stay! So we have done the show 3, maybe 4 times. This year we are including a self-penned New Year's tune. So here's to Christmas, What The Rock?!, rock, and funky in-store gigs!
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