Sassy Come Home
As a kid, Dave Bonson created a heavy, punk music scene in a place better known for its Hodag Country Festival. Today, he continues to create a scene, though now in the Madison area, and more grunge-influenced. Bonson took time to answer a few questions about the 5th Annual Grrrls Kick Ass Fest, happening at The Frequency on September 23rd. He also shared a peek into his latest project, the Sassy Come Home Band.
Maximum Ink: You got involved in music while growing up in Rhinelander, in Northern Wisconsin. What influenced you there?
Dave Bonson: Yeah, it started in the small town of Rhinelander, home of the Hodag. I got really into Nirvana when I was young and picked up bass. Then I moved on to guitar. However, there were few drummers in the area, and none of them really clicked with what I wanted to do. So, I picked up drumming, and fell in love with it, then eventually found some awesome people to play with in a band.
I just needed to find a place to play, but as a 15-year-old in a punk band in the middle of Wisconsin, it was tough. I decided to turn my basement into a venue, and learned how to book and run shows. It taught me how important those kind of places are for young, up and coming musicians. My biggest influences have always been Nirvana, Deerhoof, Lightning Bolt, The Cardigans, and Stephen King.
MI: Did these experiences help shape your decision to focus on music?
DB: Running a venue out of my basement was a huge influence on me. There was no music scene at the time, so myself and a few others had to create the one we wanted. I would book bands touring through the area, and the crowds were mainly just my friends. One day a bunch of people I’d never met showed up at my house for a show. Turns out, they were from Minneapolis. It blew my mind that people from a different state were driving all the way to my house in Rhinelander to come to a show I was hosting. That was a huge moment for me.
Now, my focus is the same as it was back then; I still love meeting new musicians and booking shows. I’m also all about playing in bands, too. I’ve come a long way since playing in my basement, but I still get the same feeling every time I get up on stage.
MI: So, why Madison?
DB: I originally moved to Madison because I was looking for more of a music scene. Madison has an excellent one, and I’m happy to call it my home. Darwin, and everyone else at The Frequency, really cemented my love for this city.
But, I am going to move to LA later this year. I think it is just a good next step for me, and I feel it’s something I need to try out. But, I’ll be back to Madison now and then!
MI: You just started playing with a new band. How will your move impact the group?
DB: Right now, I’m playing in a riot grrrl/grunge-influenced band called Sassy Come Home.
I’m playing with the singer/guitar player Ash Quinn, and we first started together with the band Skizzwhores. We seem to click well, musically. Angie Remmington is new, but we love playing with her, and she has become a major part of the band. Noah Green, from Villainy of Thieves, is playing guitar while we’re still in Madison; however, he is not making the move with us right now.The rest of the band is moving to LA
I also did a few tours earlier this year with a great musician from LA named Vanessa Silberman. Previously, she was in a band called Diamonds Under Fire. I LOVE playing and touring with her. She’s one of the hardest working musicians I have ever met, and touring with her was amazing. Looking forward to living closer to her, and working with her again in the near future.
MI: What is your long-term goal?
DB: Honestly, as long as I get to play drums, and work with music, I’m happy. But, I’m really proud of Grrrls Kick Ass Fest, which is in its 5th year. It is September 23rd at The Frequency. I’ve just always loved riot grrrl music ever since one of my friends introduced me to Bikini Kill, and I’ve gotten to work with some of my favorite bands because of this festival. We’re also doing it for a good cause. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Malala Fund.
Since moving to Madison, I have been able to do things I would dream about as a kid. Recently I got to work with one of my favorite bands of all time, Deerhoof, and that blew me away. Opening for Alien Ant Farm was a hilarious moment in my life, and I know I’ve been lucky to get the chance to tour every year since I was 17. I have been coast to coast and without doing what I do, I don’t think I would have ever made it out of Rhinelander. Music is a lot of hard work, but totally worth it.
MI: Is there anything about you that may surprise people?
DB: “Twister” is my favorite movie, and I always say hello to my Mom during an interview, so, “Hi Mom. I love you!”