Sex, drugs and pancakes

Ryan deBiase

Jessie Burr, left, and Kent State students Richard Meara, front, and Neal Campbell make up the band Unicron. Campbell calls his band’s music, “copulation rock.” PHOTO COURTESY OF UNICRON

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Unicron is a Kent-based funk band that embraces the absurd side of music. The band’s brand of rock is aggressive and free flowing, and the members don’t take themselves too seriously, opting to have fun, instead.

Unicron is comprised of guitarist Neal Campbell, a sophomore classical guitar major, drummer Richard Meara, a senior political science major, and bassist Jessie Burr.


Playingwith Dr. Teeeth

Where? Club Khameleon

When? Tonight at 10 p.m.

How much? $5

The band is named for a character from Transformers: The Movie.

Campbell described Unicron as “the planet-sized transformer that destroys everything in its path and eats planets.”

With song titles such as “Mr. Fister,” “Midol,” and “Charleton Heston’s Colon Needs Structure,” it is apparent Unicron leans toward the ridiculous. Their songs are of a jazzy nature, but get very loud once they get into a jam.

This free-wheeling manner of making music is why the band enjoys performing live. Meara said their influences include Zappa and the Mars Volta – groups known for their wild stage shows.

“Experimental, that’s the key word,” Campbell said.

Recently, they began moving toward a more structured approach to writing songs.

“(Unicron) started off as a band that was just about having a lot of fun – the jam band thing,” Campbell said. “Just getting up with nothing planned, complete improvisation. Now we’ve turned a bit more toward structure. We have a lot of songs that have structured parts with some jamming and improvisational parts.”

Almost all of Unicron’s songs are instrumental. The few songs that do have lyrics are not very deep. Still, Campbell said they do not make meaningless music.

“I find a lot of meaning in our music,” he said, “but it just seems to happen naturally; we have a good flow.”

Lyrical depth aside, Unicron performs with a high level of intensity. On top of screaming vocals and guitar tricks, the band also promotes cheap gimmicks for further entertainment.

“Unicron likes to delve into the theatrical side of music,” Meara said. “We’ll just do stuff out of the ordinary, like hold a dance contest or porn raffle.”

Meara said their show tonight at Club Khameleon will feature a raffle of old Playboys and free pancakes, “included in the price of admission.”

The song titles could be offensive if Unicron took itself more seriously.

Instead, band members distract and entertain their audience with free porn and hotcakes.

When it comes to promoting the band, Unicron does not slack in its quest for the absurd. For the last year, the band has been posting fliers all over campus. The fliers feature the likes of, among others, Tony the Tiger, the Dhali Llama and George W. Bush, all pushing the band’s upcoming shows.

“The advertising campaign is a big draw. It really gets people interested,” Campbell said.

For a performance in the Rathskeller last semester, the band printed out a flier with a group of topless women on bicycles.

“(The) Naked Chicks Riding Bikes CD Release Party” was a success, Meara said.

Unicron’s promotional scheme is just a reflection of the band itself: Outwardly meaningless, but surprisingly fun.

“We love rock and roll. And pancakes,” Campbell said.

Contact ALL correspondent Ryan deBiase at [email protected].