You may know campus band Thunderjunk from one of their many performances last year, whether it was at the C-Haus, Senior Gala, or The Bop.
This year, fans will meet the band’s newest member: Jeff Puckett, vice president for development and alumni relations, who will play guitar. (He replaces Jishnu Guha, who moved out of the country earlier this summer. )
Read on to learn about Puckett’s musical tastes and why he’s excited to be a part of Thunderjunk.
Terrarium: How do you feel about joining Thunderjunk?
Puckett: I can’t tell you how excited I am. I feel honored and privileged to be a part of it.
T: Why did you want to join Thunderjunk?
P: A variety of reasons. Music is very important to me, and I’ve been a huge fan of Thunderjunk ever since they came together. This provides a really unique, cool, and exciting way to interact with a fantastic group of people. It’s a great way for me to get involved with the life of the college, but it’s ultimately about playing the music with these guys.
T: Have you played anything yet with the band?
P: We’ve only practiced six or eight songs, but they were all really fun. Since I’m more of a heavier guitar kind of guy, obviously the Led Zeppelin stuff was really exciting to play. Then they do these Bill Withers tunes like Use Me. I thought “Wow, we’re in a band, and we just played Good Times Bad Times and then Use Me. How cool is that?”
T: What’s your musical background?
P: I’ve played guitar since I was a young teenager. I am self-taught…I went to one lesson, and it was all ‘Here’s your strings, and this is how you tune them.’ I thought it would take forever, so I began to learn by ear. I did the classic high school garage band thing where we played parties and football shows, and then in college I found a group of musicians I played with more informally than formally. When I got married there was a good eight-year period where I didn’t even touch a guitar. Coming to Beloit College four years ago, and the fact my son and daughter both have significant musical interests, prompted me to play a little more. My passion for it never went away, and the more I played the more it became clear to me it’s an important part of my life. Then Thunderjunk comes along, and these guys are awesome. I love their music and their eclectic style.
T: What’s your favorite band?
P: My musical interests are more on the heavier rock, metal side with guitar-oriented bands. There’s a handful of guitarists who have influenced my style. I loved Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, George Lynch, Mark Tremonti, Paul Gilbert, but at the same time I have significant appreciation for all forms of music. I love listening to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, old Aerosmith. There’s really not a form of music I can’t appreciate and quite frankly don’t love.
T: What was it like meeting with Thunderjunk?
P: It was an incredible experience the first time I sat down with all of them. I can’t tell you how remarkably impressed I was at their eclectic interests and their lived experiences. That’s what makes them so cool. Their music is all over the board from heavy metal in the ‘70s to Black Sabbath to really contemporary stuff. They’re great musicians, and the Beloiter connection is a binding environment that’s just cool.
T: Do you have a dream song you want to perform with Thunderjunk?
P: Ron (Nikora, a fellow bandmate) actually asked me that. It stymied me them, and it does now. It might sound like I’m politically deferring it, but the fact I’m playing with them is what’s exciting…that’s the dream for me. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve done in a long, long time.
Are you a Thunderjunk fan? Get your band T-shirt for $12 from the Communications and Marketing Office, 631 College St., directly across from the World Affairs Center.