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Iowa City’s Stickman rockin’ for a long time

BY RACHAEL LANDER | MARCH 12, 2009 7:27 AM

mp3 samples: Stickman

"That Boy Again"

"Thin White Line"

Giving back to the local music scene is what this weekend means for Iowa City band Stickman.

After band member Kylie Buddin successfully organized a reunion show last year of popular Iowa City bands from the ’80s, the group decided to hold the event again — but with a twist. This year, Stickman will headline the show again, but on a smaller scale, and the proceeds will be donated to a local nonprofit that encourages youths to explore music and art.

Stickman will play the benefit show at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., at 7 p.m. Saturday with Liberty Leg, Acoustic Guillotine, Bad Accidents, and Illinois John Fever. Tickets are $6.

The concert will raise money for United Action for Youth, 410 Iowa Ave., a place in which Sam and Stu Mullins and Buddin work and an organization that helped them start Stickman in the early ’90s.
“United Action for Youth has been a cornerstone of the Iowa City local music scene for decades,” Buddin said, and he has worked with the center for around 18 years, while Mullins has worked with it for around 20 years.

Stickman formed in 1992, when the Mullins brothers, along with a couple of friends, decided to play music together. The band has undergone a slight shift in members since then — the Mullins brothers, along with Gordy Axt and Buddin, form the band’s current lineup.

For the past two decades, the band has kept on playing for the sheer joy of rocking together.
“People always assume that when you’re 40, you’re done rocking, but I don’t think that’s true,” Buddin said.

Since their beginning, the members of Stickman have had equilibrium in their vocal-based music.
“It’s one of the few bands that I’ve ever been in that during the mixing process everybody is arguing to have his parts turned down so someone else’s can be heard,” Buddin said.

The four attribute the Stickman’s longtime success to the closeness of the group and the that they all enjoy playing its pop/rock music when they can find the time.

“We do it because we enjoy it,” Mullins said. “There’s no pressure to do it every week, because sometimes, we just don’t have the time. It’s either do that or give it up, and none of us really like the idea of giving it up because it’s too much fun.”

Both Mullins and Buddin said giving back to United Action for Youth is important to them because it’s an organization that has offered them, and the community, a place to explore music and art.
The foundation has a recording studio for young bands and offers free music lessons at its youth center. The center also offers an outlet for young people who are interested in art or writing.

“For young people, it’s one of the places where they can have a sense of community with their music,” Mullins said.

For this Saturday’s concert, the Stickman members said bands will play music genres that appeal to a wide variety of people.

“There are no two bands that are going to sound alike at this show,” Buddin said.


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