64 Tuna And The Art of Diarrhea Puns

64 Tuna are (from left) lead guitarist Ollie, drummer Levi and Taro on the Bass Guitar

As I turn into the driveway of a quaint suburban home in Lower Rattlesnake, I notice three silhouetted figures looking out from a window inside. I grab my guitar case and make my way up to the front door, as I reach for the handle the door swings open and three young boys stare back at me.

The shortest of the three walks up to me and extends his hand, “Hello, I’m Ollie,” he says cheerfully, gazing with his large brown eyes.

“Nice to meet you,” I say. The sound of my Australian accent causes Levi, the youngest of the three, to burst with laughter and excitement.

“That’s my little brother Levi,” Ollie interrupts. “He plays the drums and this is Taro who plays Bass.”

Taro temporarily stops from scratching his short blond hair and shakes my hand in a shy manner. Meanwhile Levi runs at full speed around the corner to the kitchen to notify his mom, Danielle, of my presence.

Together, these three boys form 64 Tuna, a local punk band made up of brothers Levi and Ollie and good friend Taro who age from 8 to 11 years old.

“I thought of the name 64 Tuna because I don’t like the number 64 and I’m a vegetarian so I don’t eat tuna,” says Ollie, the oldest of the three .

“It was either 64 Tuna or Squirly Bird,” says the youngest Levi, who has managed to run to the kitchen and back in the space of about three seconds.

All three are wearing jeans and skate shoes – a standard uniform for punk bands of any age or generation. Ollie’s shoulder length hair is hidden underneath his favourite striped beanie; an item of clothing that his mother Danielle claims he would wear in the shower if he he could.

I’m quickly ushered down the stairs into the “jam room”, a large basement that has been transformed into a second lounge room and bedrooms for Ollie and Levi.

Their dad Jake used to practice with his band here. The rumble and vibrations of the downstairs room used to rise up to the the rooms above, where young Levi and Ollie slept as babies. Danielle attributes Ollie and Levi’s passion of music to her husband’s practice sessions.

“They would sleep literally above this room while Jake practiced, and now they are both into music,” she laughs.

Ollie and Taro pick up their guitars and begin tuning. Meanwhile Levi is already sitting at his drum kit and cannot resist giving me a short introduction to his fondness for thrashing about a drum solo in a manic fashion.

“Stop it Levi!” says Ollie sternly.

Levi looks up through the towering drum cymbals and gives off a cheeky smile.

“Do you like diarrhoea?” Ollie asks.

I’m somewhat amazed at the casualness of the question, like he’d just asked me if I like star wars or x-box.

“I…I can’t say that I’m a fan of it, no,” I stutter.

“Well if you don’t like diarrhoea then you will LOVE this,” Ollie says excitedly and begins to count in the song.

The lyrics are taken from a joke book Ollie recently received, many of the jokes are puns about diarrhoea, inspiring all three band members to make up their own versions.

“If you’re running from the police and you feel hot grease, it’s diarrhoea,”  Ollie sings.

***

I first saw 64 Tuna while at a birthday party at a friend’s house about a month ago. As I stood in the backyard on a sunny Autumn’s afternoon I notice a short scruffy kid wearing a home-made “64 Tuna” t-shirt carrying an large snare drum into the nearby shed.

I curiously watched the child adjusting the height of his high hat cymbal. My friend Chris notices and is quick to point out that a band is going to be playing here today.

“There not just any band, they’re kids… around 10 or so years old” he says.

I think nothing of it, assuming that it’s just going to be a bunch of hyperactive children playing around and making an annoying racket so that their parents did’t have to worry about them.

A distorted guitar starts to play furiously followed by an almost deafening screeching noise; I prepare for the worse, and begin to scope out a location that’s as far away from the shed as possible.

But to my surprise my fears were unwarranted; the guitar is actually in tune and playing a progression of power chords while the drums keep a steady beat. I tentatively make my way over to the shed where a crowd of onlookers have gathered. I notice the once empty and dark room has turned into a mini-sized music venue, complete with a mini-sized band.

Neon laser lights swirl around the room in bright green patterns as three boys in matching shirts and sunglasses play their scaled down instruments to a crowd of toddlers and young parents.

The growling distortion of the lead guitar is blasted from the Marshall stack amplifier at the back of the room, which is a good six inches taller than its owner. Meanwhile Ollie begins singing a song about the big issues in life…like being grounded.

“I don’t wanna be couped up in my room all day I want to be free,
I wanna be like the other kids and play football in the yard.”

***

Despite being together for only a little over a year, 64 Tuna has already managed to play a number of shows around the Missoula area, including opening for their dad and granddad’s bands at the Boys and Girls club for a show dubbed Three Generations of Rock.

“We had people out on the street for that gig,” says Ollie. “There was our band, my dad’s band ‘the crooks’ and granddad’s band ‘the runs’, it was awesome.”

After they finish playing Diarrhoea its now time for me to learn a song. I remove the danelecto guitar that I won on ebay, eager to see how it sounds when played with a band or the first time.

Ollie begins to show me the chords used in the song Come On; which is about little brother Levi’s habit for taking too long to get ready for school.

As with all ‘true’ punk music, the guitar work is simple and I manage to scrape by with only a few minor mistakes.

I learn a few more songs and manage to get the hang of it all. If only I were ten years younger I’d be perfect for this band.

Danielle calls down the stairs notifying the boys that dinner is nearly ready, we play one more song and finish it with high fives all around. I ask Ollie if he thinks I’m good enough to be in the band.

“If we need an extra guitar player, we’ll let you know,” he says. “Or maybe when we tour Australia, then we’ll give you a call,” he says with an air of confidence.

 

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: