Archive for Monday, June 20, 2011


River City Jules: Making of the dad band

June 20, 2011


My grandmother told me years ago that every man will experience a midlife crisis during which he will either bring home a new car or a new woman. Clearly she did not see the following coming…

Fresh off Father’s Day Weekend, it is my pleasure to introduce my new favorite dad band, Thundercat. This fab four of paternal proportions can be heard every Thursday night in our basement, possibly also in the back yard, and definitely in the living room. I sat down with the band during a recent rehearsal, and, rather than begging them to let me sing this time, I grabbed a pen and chronicled their journey.

River City Jules: Tell me again how you got here.

D.D. Dunlap, aka “3D” (vocals/rhythm guitar): You said they could come over.

RCJ: No, about your road to rock stardom.

3D: This band was born of fatherhood angst.

Lew (drums/vocals): Wearing a tie every day and using my “inside voice” began to wear on me. A man can only do that for so long before he finds himself screaming in his loudest Dee Snider voice, “I want to rock!”

Henry (vocals/bass): I heard that cry. At first I thought it was one of my five kids, but then I remembered they were home with a babysitter. I looked around, and there was Lew, sitting by himself at grade school Parent Night, wondering if anyone could feel his pain. I walked over, put my hand on his shoulder and replied, “Me too, dude. Me too.”

Lew: Henry saved my life that night.

3D: I saw Henry patting Lew’s shoulder and decided to keep my distance until I heard them mention Def Leppard.

Henry: We were lamenting the passing of our carefree youth when 3D suddenly poked his head in and told us he had always wanted to play guitar for a Van Halen cover band. Only with easier songs.

Lew: And that’s when Thundercat was born.

RCJ: Tell me about those early days.

3D: We had a collective vision of rocking out wearing glamorous wigs while girls danced. Everything else was secondary.

Lew: We spent a few months rehearsing and played for a friend’s birthday party. Girls danced, we were happy, but Henry wanted more.

Henry: I felt we lacked one key player.

3D: One with actual talent.

Lew: We were nothing but beggars, dogs without bones, but then, like Aerosmith’s “Angel,” Ivan walked into the basement — and into our lives.

Ivan (lead guitar/vocals/talent): I was new to town, and 3D promised I could play in a rock band. He also promised you would never serve us brown M&M;’s.

RCJ: You have three wigs, four wives and 12 kids between you and two gigs under your belt. What’s next for Thundercat?

3D: We’ve got the CASA fundraiser next month…

Lew: … but we’re good on wives…

Henry: … and kids…

Ivan: … and wigs.

— Julie Dunlap can be reached at


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