On Reserve: The Double Life of Tunabunny

Our law school community is made up of more than just professors and students. Many people we pass everyday in Hirsch Hall or in the Law Library keep not only the law school functioning but the people that work and study here functioning as well. The baristas at Jittery Joes do just that. In episode 2 of our law library podcast On Reserve we spoke with barista and author Scott Creney. Both Scott and Jesse (also a barista at our law school and making music as Antlered Auntlord) are members of local band Tunabunny along with Bridget and Mary Jane. Creney shared with us in the Music & Law episode about how he and Jesse landed jobs here, the origins of their band, the state of music today, what its like collaborating with band members including wife Bridget and visual artist Brian Gordon on their fifth album’s songs and artwork.

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Tunabunny is Scott Creney, Jesse Stinnard, Brigette Adair Herron and Mary Jane Hassell

On Working at the Law School: 

“Jess worked at the five points Jittery Joes for years. I actually worked at the east side Jittery Joes before I left to go work at Hendershots. Jesse liked the law school for the same reasons I did. You had a rush and then you had a lot of slow time, especially in the afternoons. You know you can read a book, you can work on stuff, I wrote half of a book and a TV series when I was working at the law school in the afternoons regularly, and so I got Jesse on board through that.”

On Tunabunny’s Origins and Members:

“First of all when I got in the band it all happened by accident. Bridget played a little bit, I played a little bit. Mary Jane started coming over… songs kind of developed and then we played a show. It kind of just took off… There’s four of us yeah, and I should emphasize that Jesse and I play the minorist creative roles in the band. Bridget and Mary Jane sing and usually play guitar. We just finished our fifth album. Around album four we started switching up instruments a little bit cause when you start playing music the fun is to be surprised. And around album three we became a very competent rock band… and that’s kind of boring, that’s not how we want to make music. So if you want an adventure you play something you don’t know how to do or you start messing around with electronics and that kind of thing. I play bass and Jesse plays drums. Now Jesse does the recording and Jesse’s a brilliant engineer, producer and mixer.”

 

On Songwriting with Bridget:

“When I moved to Athens even though I played music in my teens and early twenties I moved here to be a writer, I didn’t even have a musical instrument. I played Bridget’s high school bass for the first three years of the band. So for me it was like a hobby, and for them it was like a band. And so I didn’t want to write songs… but for this album there were like four songs to finish and Mary Jane had a writer’s block. And so Bridget asked me for help and it actually went really really well. Like it was a really easy collaboration. We have the title and some of the melodies and we drove up to Tanger Outlets and we got coffee and we were going to sit in the lounge and be inspired by the beauty and ugliness all around us, and just sit there until we got it finished. It was the last song on the album and we had it done in like 15 minutes. It was great, it’s ‘Nevermind the Cobblestones’.”

 

On the Album Cover for PCP Presents Alice In Wonderland Jr:

a3585802664_16“In the case of our album art it’s mostly vintage stuff, and I’ll tell you about the artist who did it, his name is Brian Gordon. He lives in Massachusetts… we were best friends when I was in Junior High. I left Massachusetts when I was 13… many years later through the magic of social media, probably the only good thing about Facebook, he contacted me. And at that point Tunabunny was touring a lot and we came up through Boston… he came to the show and it was like you know 15 years hadn’t mattered. And he had an art show at the middle east restaurant in Cambridge Massachusetts. He invited us after the show to go look at his art and his art was beautiful. It was this really intricate collage art. And we just thought like wow that would be a great album cover. You know when you’re doing a double album its really fractured and kind of all over the place and this has a lot of different styles. Like that’s a good album cover for that, you know, it just synced up really well. I gave him the music to listen to and Bridget responded with some of the themes that were going on in the record for her that she wrote about. As someone who listened to the songs over and over again… once I had the cover, like the whole cover in my hand and I listened to it, it was a completely different experience, a deeper experience… That’s what every artist wants.”

On Magic January:

“We jammed it out as a band. Bridget had a little riff and we played it through slow and then we played it through fast and kind of liked it both ways… and Bridget wrote words for the slow part and Mary Jane wrote words for the fast part. It works really well and they didn’t collaborate on it at all and then they recorded it separately, but it works really well as a sort of story you know. The first half, the slower part, is in the second person, ‘you’. And then the other one is in the ‘she; you know, and it sounds like they’re telling stories from two different perspectives.”

On the State of Music:

“You know you hit the internet age of music and suddenly you can access all this music. Like when I was a kid if you wanted to hear Neu you just had to hope you met someone who owned it or find it one day and pay money for it. And now you have like the whole universe at your fingertips. You have these bands coming along that sound like they’ve only ever heard one record. They just sound like one thing. That’s really dishonest to me because you don’t just listen to one thing.  And the reason they do that is a niche marketing thing because you know the old days when you can make a living as a band – it’s harder and harder to make a living as a band – so you figure I can sell 20,000 of those to people that just buy something that sounds like that. But we’ve always been trying to make music that incorporates all the things we like.”

Listen to our entire interview with Scott Creney on iTunes or YouTube.

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