By Todd McMahon

When Dan Whitaker was 15 years old, he used to do what all kids did when they were growing up, play with the bugs in the back yard. But unlike some kids who catch fireflies and put them in the jars their mother’s use for preservatives, Dan would spray dead the junebugs that pester everyone around August.

Little did Dan know that several years later, while attending NIU, he would meet Rob Moses and they would team up with Mark Hoffman and Steve Miklasz to become one of DeKalb’s fastest growing bands, Junebug Massacre.

There, now your curiosity has been settled. “Where did you guys get the name of the band?” is a question commonly asked of the band. And with it out of the way, the focus is now on what makes Junebug Massacre tick—the musicians themselves.

Like all good college students, Rob and Dan had a lot of free time while they were living in the dorms in 1986. Rob and Dan would get together for small jam sessions and what would prove to be the ground work for Junebug Massacre.

“When I first met Dan, I knew right away he was a musician with similar aspirations as my own,” recalls Rob Moses, who plays bass for JBM.

Dan, who plays guitar and is lead vocals, then began to write some of the songs which JBM uses today. Once Dan and Rob hooked up with lead guitarist Mark Hoffman and drummer Steve “Lamo the Clown” Miklasz, each band member added their own elements to the skeleton of Dan’s songs to come up with a strong set of original music.

“Besides the chords, I add a philosophical feel to many of the lyrics,” Dan commented on his personal contribution to the bands growing success.

Mark added, “I bring in the blues feel to the riff with an influence from such guitar greats as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page.”

Though Mark has graduated from NIU, he continues to play with the band and support them in their acedemic endeavors. JBM agreed that school is first and the chance to pursue a musical career would come with time.

Some future plans of JBM include maing a recording near Christmas time, playing in the Chicago area (they played at Batteries Not Included this summer) and the eventual release of a demonstration tape or record. JBM has a home tape and band shirts to help publize the band.

The members of JBM realize that the road to success in the music industry is far from smooth and they have often found themselves at ground zero. JBM has their sights on revolutionizing music, “And being as popular as we can without comprimising our music,” Mark said.

JBM also keeps reality in perspective through such entertaining endeavors as nicknames. Steve, as was mentioned, is known as “Lamo the Clown.” Mark has been tagged “Hippie Mystic,” while Dan carries the label, “The Dabbling Acultist Visionary.” The rest of the band agreed that Rob is too bland to deserve a nickname.

Dan does have reasons for what some may consider a 60’s throwback-type nickname. He carries with him a philosophy about his music writing. He gets this philosophy from a gift given to him by his sister which he carries aroung his neck and contains various sizes and shapes of crystals.

“The crystals make the songs, I simply write what the crystals tell me,” Dan said. “These crystals help me to interpret things. Crystals have a unique shape not by accident but because nature meant them to be that way. Junebug Massacre didn’t come together by accident, we were meant to be.”

It’s this concept that adds to the bands cohesion. Rob added, “We don’t always discuss things, they just happen.”

Until that “big” breakthrough comes, JBM plans to focus on their music as an art form rather then pleasing certain types, much like heavy metal. Also, the band members said material possessions aren’t as important as the satisfaction they get from playing their music. Though the sacrifices may be big now, the rewards in the end will bring everything together for Junebug Massacre.