[Editor's note: This guest column previews GUNK's retirement party Thursday, July 26, 9 p.m., at the Waiting Room Lounge. The 18+ party features music by Kobrakyle, $pencelove, VJ Dinan and special guests. Tickets are $5 or free for 21+ before 10:30 p.m. More info here.]
by DJ Kobrakyle
If you live in Omaha and like to dance, chances are you went to a GUNK dance party at the Waiting Room at least once in the last four years. As one of its founders, it's safe to say that GUNK has been a huge part of my life. Everyone knows that stupid saying, "all good things must come to an end." Well, you can chalk GUNK up amongst this year's retirees.
GUNK was born on the Fourth of July, 2008. It all started rolling when I met Spencer Munson, aka $pencelove while he was working at the Spindle record store in Lincoln. I had been searching for an ally to start up some sort of dance party with and after exchanging a few sentences with Spence, I knew something epic could arise out our collaboration. As we left the shop, I turned to the mutual friend that introduced us and said, "I feel like I just met my brother." After a few months of playing some shows and building our crowd, Spence and I added the third member of the GUNK team, our VJ, Chris Dinan. He added an important visual element to the party and helped us to step up our game. Our mission was simple: dress up in silly outfits; play some music to make people get stupid crazy on the dancefloor (and on the stage); and most importantly, have a blast doing it.
It's no secret that we borrowed a formula that had been proven successful. There was a gap in the Omaha dance party scene. That other party that starts with a G had been on hiatus for months and the kids wanted to dance. So yeah, we played music, had themes and encouraged our patrons to wear costumes. And I figured we'd fill a role for a while and have some fun. Little did I know that this party would last four years, would allow me to open for some of my favorite artists (Spank Rock! Dave Nada!), and would introduce me to some lifelong friends (y'all know who you are).
Here are my favorite GUNK themes and memories:
SUPERGUNK — Spandex? Check. Faux snakeskin cape? Check. Copious amounts of alcohol consumed in order to wear them in public and run up and down the streets of Benson? Check. Also, the night I met VJ Dinan.
GOLDEN GUNK — We've always loved to rock our gold dookie chains. I feel like this was our first really successful turnout. And like many GUNK nights, this one was augmented by a really memorable after party.
GUNK GOES BLACK & YELLOW — Anyone who came to this one knows that this was the apex of GUNK attendance. All in all, we estimate that about 1,000 people showed up … at a venue that only holds about 300. The line stretched out the door and around the block. It was stressful, it was overwhelming, it was worth it.
SPANK ROCK & WIN WIN — When we started booking guests for GUNK, Spank Rock was at the top of my shortlist. A couple years later, a great opportunity fell into our lap. Not only did I get to open for him, I bought a bottle of Patron and shared it with everyone in the bar, including the man himself and Ke$ha. Such a weird/awesome night, especially the part when Ke$ha got kicked out of the after party. Check out VJ Dinan's video if you were silly enough to skip this one.
MURRAY XMAS — The best theme for a Christmas party ever? You bet your sweet ass. I might dress up as Bill Murray every year on Christmas, whether I'm DJing or not.
GUNK's ZOMBIE PROM — I honestly think that everyone that came out to this one came in costume. So many undead in formal wear, so much fake blood. My apologies again to the Waiting Room staff for the mess on the floor after this rager.
BADUNKAGUNK — Did we really stop the music at the peak of the night to have a booty contest? Uh huh. No regrets. No shame. And big ups to Natron 88 for playing an all vinyl booty bass set.
We'll be celebrating GUNK's retirement on Thursday, July 26 at The Waiting Room. Why hang it up? We could keep going on and on and on. But at this point, I want GUNK to go out like Michael Jordan, while we are still relevant, while we still feel like champions. We have some major wins under our belt and I feel extremely grateful for every single one. To everyone that came out to dance: Thank you. GUNK loves you. And so do I.
Kobrakyle Richardson is a DJ and concert promoter from Omaha.