Migraines play anniversary show at Muse
Migraines marking 30 years on punk scene on Sept. 10
On a random weekend in the early 2000s, I was downtown at 412 Club, like most of Fort Wayne, getting ready to enjoy a night of karaoke. An older, petite woman stepped on stage, grabbed the mic, and readied for her cue. By the looks of it we were in for doozy of a song, maybe a downer by Patsy Cline or something.
Then, boom! Out of left field the sounds of Rob Zombie filled the room and this sweet little lady was ripping into “Dragula.” Say what?
“Who is that lady?” I asked my buddy. He told me it’s the mother of the karaoke host, Shawn Browning. Wait, you mean the Shawn Browning, a.k.a. Eddie Migraine from The Migraines? Sure enough it was, and apparently the musicianship runs in the blood as just a few years prior, her son’s band The Migraines were a household name in town, and with good reason.
The punk outfit will celebrate their 30th anniversary with a show Saturday, Sept. 10, at The Muse on Main with Nifty Skullet and Filth & Majesty.
Forming a following
Cut from the cloth of The Ramones, these punk rockers carried the torch for icons such as The Queers, Screaching Weasel, The Vindictives, Sloppy Seconds, and more. Their music was loud and snotty, with obnoxious vocals, big shouting choruses, downpicked guitar ala Johnny Ramone, and very juvenile lyrics, often off-color and sophomoric.
With songs like “I Wanna Kill Elvis,” “Daddy Wears Mommy’s Things,” “I’ll Be Glad When You’re Gone,” and “Venus Sex Friend“ off their 1994 debut Shut Up!!, you probably didn’t want to bring these guys home to meet your parents.
“When we started back in ’91, there weren’t many punk bands in Fort Wayne,” Browning said. “The next thing you know, the scene started to evolve and there was us, Tri State Killing Spree, The Shortcuts, The Beautys, and Low Life. We had many fun nights playing The Sunset Hall, Redwood Hall, Columbia Street West, etc.”
They even had a pretty hefty following out on the road as well.
“One time we were pulling into an out-of-town gig, and we saw a huge line of people lined up on the street, and I jokingly said to the guys they were here to see us,” Browning said. “As we got closer, it became apparent they were in fact here to see us. We could barely get out of the van with all the people and some even helped carry our gear, it was a Beatles-type moment.”
Unfortunately, the roller coaster ride came to a halt in 1999 when things with the band sort of fizzled out and the band went separate ways.
However, it didn’t take long for Browning to get the itch again, and it was time to give it another whirl.
This time around, it would be different as The Migraines were to become a Christian rock band as Browning had rededicated his faith in Jesus. Thus, the philosophy and musical direction of the band changed.
With new members and a more rock sound, the band forged on under The Migraines moniker.
As you would expect, the old punk fans were caught off-guard a bit, but the music still had the same passion.
Plus, a song like “I Killed Punk Rock” off their 2001 release Return to the Rock probably didn’t help matters.
Come to find out, the song had been around for years and just happened to get added to one of the later records, so no need to take offense, punk fans.
Getting band back together
No matter what fans thought at the time, they should be thankful that they were getting anything, since no one truly knew the status of the group when they disbanded for a bit.
Additionally, The Migraines went on to record another album, Endangered Species, that had a guest appearance by Robert Sweet of Stryper fame.
During their duration, they may have been punk rock’s most indomitable pinball, perpetually bouncing between punk rock and Christian rock, but they have made the most of it despite lineup changes.
The band has had numerous albums, was featured on compilation discs, won a couple Whammy awards, saw lineup changes, and performed at the legendary CBGB in New York, Sloppypalooza Festival in Indianapolis, and Edge Fest at Memorial Coliseum.
Although the band doesn’t get out much these days, they still get together and jam every few years.
“It’s all about getting together,” Browning said. “We are lifelong friends, love playing music, so it’s good to still get together now and again to jam.”
Good news for us, the next time they do get together won’t be in a garage but in front of fans and to celebrating their 30th anniversary to boot.
The classic lineup of Eddie Migraine, Jimmy Migraine, Gee Gee Migraine, and Chucky Migraine will once again hit the stage and dig deep into the punk catalog, as well as perform a couple of the recent rock numbers.
“We are going to be loud, fast, and tight as we ever were,” Browning said. “Who knows? We might do this in another five years or until someone breaks a hip. Ha!”