Band profiles: Craig McClelland

Our Man in Wisconsin!

First in the series of WHO ARE THESE GUYS?!


In 1987 a garage full of music students at the University of New Mexico were drinking beer and laughing with mighty ambivalence at heavy metal music.  So mighty, yet so stupid, rockin’ yet sophomoric… irresistible. Spinal Tap.  Yeah.  But what about creating a band that makes fun of it but still really rocks?  What if they threw in every last drop of musicianship each of them possessed, and added a heavy dose of theatricality and silliness.  Craig was there that night with John Bartlit, Daniel Ward, Doug Nottingham.
“I COULD QUIT THIS BAND LIKE…(finger snap) THAT!” Craig still says.  Last time we were together in Phoenix and Craig recited this line we laughed so hard the coffee came out of his nose.

Craig moved the furthest away, so I was late in becoming acquainted with him, but his kind and open nature has helped make up for lost time.  I believe he is the heart of the band.  If we were to cast The Wizard of Oz out of the band he would surely be the Tin Man.

Craig plays bass for Skumbaag, Vespus and the Sukey Jump band when ever we can get him.  We have also persuaded him to get his tuba out of the closet for us. He is also the keeper of the Skumbaag Website.  (Check this baby out!)

Kegg McNabb and Tiberious Knobbs

The guys have long maintained discreet band identities, and in Skumbaag Craig is known as “Keg McNabb”.  His Vespus moniker is “Bombo Metamucil, the regular bass player”.  Skumbaag has always worn some snappy outfits, and Craig had the dubious honor of wearing the Banana Suit.

Vintage furry banana era Skumbaag

There was a famous incident at the Golden West night club in Albuquerque (long since burned down) where a drunk went gun crazy outside the storefront bar.  Bullets flying, the band hit the deck.  Bellies to the sticky floor, Craig said to the rest, “I dont wanna die in a banana suit!”.

We’re glad you didn’t!

Craig  is still a full-time musician, and still plays regularly (!) in Door County.  His steady gig is with the American Folklore Theatre, where he plays under the stars and remembers what he loves about Wisconsin 2 times a week.

It was only this past year when the Sukey Jump Band had shows in Phoenix which overlapped some gigs Craig Doug and Daniel were playing together that I began to know Craig better.  The Sukey Jump band tends to be rather amorphous- taking in available musicians whenever and where ever possible, but always able to play any time, any where with any one.  After integrating Craig in on bass and tuba it is hard to go back.  I don’t look forward to the day we roll out of Sturgeon Bay and leave behind our “regular bass player”.


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