Time Capsule: Wesley Bunch of Suburban Living on "Club Kids" - WXPN
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Photo by John Vettese

When Wesley Bunch moved to Philly to start a new chapter of his old band, Suburban Living, there were some things he left back in Virginia Beach, where he’d conceptualized the band three years prior. At the time, he had two releases under the Suburban Living name—one, a five-track EP called Cooper’s Dream, and another A/B side LP, 2013’s Always Eyes.

“There was a C-side of that LP,” he admits, “A digital download, a bonus track that’s literally not even on the album art of the pressing.”

He never listened to it, totally forgot about it until his new drummer, Mike Cammarata, brought it up during an early practice. “We were kind of at the point where we were working on new stuff but that wasn’t fully developed and I didn’t have any demos to present to the band to practice,” he says about the night. “And then Mike was like, ‘Yo, what about that song ‘Club Kids?’ I was listening to that 7” online and I like that song.’ And I was like, are you fucking kidding me? No, we are not doing that.”

But they did. And contrary to Wesley’s opinion—which was that it sounded entirely out of character for Suburban Living 2.0—it worked with the new lineup, specifically Mike’s drums.

In this new feature for The Key, we’re asking artists to revisit songs they may have forgotten: pieces they wrote, released, and packed away—until now. Each month, we’ll pick one band who will pick one song and tell us the story behind where they were and what they were thinking when they wrote it.

This month I asked my friend and DJ partner Wesley Bunch to kick it off, and we talked about a lesser-known track of his called “Club Kids” off of 2013’s Always Eyes. Read all about it below.

The Key: Tell me about “Club Kids,” what year was it? What was the inspiration?

WB: It was 2013, and I was really into Michael Alig, and the whole 1980’s club scene.

TK: I don’t know who Michael Alig is.

WB: He was this guy who kind of pioneered banding together all of these weirdo teenagers…these kids that were different and at the time they didn’t know how to express themselves. He would throw all of these crazy parties in New York in the ‘80s, back when New York was a shit hole. To make a long story short, a lot of drugs were involved and he, like, maybe murdered someone… you know who I’m talking about?

TK: Party Monster! Macaulay Culkin!

WB: Yeah, Macaulay Culkin! And I was watching a lot of that movie—so I was like, “Oh, maybe I’ll try to write a song about this.” At the time, I was in Virginia putting out a 7” on my friend’s record label called Dialog Records, and I wanted to take a different approach to it, so that song has a lot of live drums. It’s not dreamy at all, it’s not Suburban Living.

TK: Did you ever played it live?

WB: No. Never. I tried to practice it with my old band in Virginia once and it kind of bombed, then I was like, thinking it didn’t really fit into a set anyway—it sounds way too different than everything else. So I recorded it with live drums, which was different for me [at the time]. For most of my old stuff I was using drum machines. Anyway, it wound up being literally a C-side of that 7”, Always Eyes.

TK: What’s a C-side?

WB: I consider it a C-side when it’s only a digital download, like a bonus track. It’s not even on the album art of the 7” that we pressed. And I totally forgot about it, because it was such a short lived thing. I never really write songs about shit like Michael Alig. It was goofy, and it had really goofy lyrics where I tried to put myself in the shoes of, you know, a 1980’s misunderstood 20-something that was way too dramatic. The words are completely ridiculous.

TK: Give me a verse.

WB: One would maybe misconstrue the song as a love song, because it’s like “Why lie, it only hurts you, to feel the way I feel.” And that’s just me being trying to be dramatic, like, “You don’t understand me! Don’t even try!”

TK: “I’m wearing mascara, dad!”

WB: Yeah, exactly, “I’m going to jump on my bed if I want to, and I’m going to wear makeup!”

TK: If you played it with your current band tomorrow, would you change anything, or keep it as is?

WB: As is. It would be really weird [to change it]. I’ve never met anyone who’s done anything like that. I feel like once you finish something, a piece of art like that, even if it becomes something like “Club Kids” where it’s this lost, forgotten thing, it’s still set in stone. I would never want to change the way it was—that’s like your kid, let your kid be your kid.

TK: Even if it grows up to go to jail for throwing too many parties and convicted murder?

WB: Yeah [laughs]. It’s still ridiculous that I even wrote a song about that. Like I said, I never really write songs about pop culture.

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