Crafting riffs with a resonance beyond their years, scrappy rock trio JunkBunny made their major-label debut before they graduated high school. With a modern take on ‘90s alt-rock and soaring harmonies, their 2019 Junk Rock EP was embraced by a growing audience hungry for authenticity and anthems. In 2020, the Montgomery County, TX friends – vocalist/guitarist Mac Johnson (18), bassist/vocalist Cayden Diebold (18), and drummer Jake Douglas (18) – boldly return with Down the Rabbit Hole, a diverse and defiant new EP.
Hard-hitting drums and in-your-face guitars contrast with smooth melodies and tasty harmonies. A spirited irreverence pours from the speakers and all over the stage when JunkBunny comes around, dating back to the Texas crew’s first musical collision in grade school.
Like their heroes in Green Day or Blink-182, these childhood best friends save the “serious” for their songs, offering up huge hooks on the scale of Foo Fighters without sacrificing youthful exuberance or good-natured mischief. The group crafted whatAlternative Press described as “the perfect summer anthem” in the form of the electrifying “Another Summer Song.” The music video premiered on v13, who saluted the band’s “talent, tenacity, and relentlessness.” The track opens Down the Rabbit Hole with urgency, a worthy successor to breakout single “Sedona.”
“See You in Heaven,” which closes the new EP, is a hard-hitting song delivered with a hint of good-natured snark: “I’ll see you in heaven / but not tonight.” The bright and raw vocals sound urgent and immediate, laid over a catchy tempo that builds to a surprising climax. The driving and powerful “Wait for Days” is similarly memorable, reflecting gratitude in relationships. The massive chorus in “Wonderful” dates back to the trio’s earliest self-made CD, reforged together with pieces from other compositions into the perfect jigsaw puzzle of JunkBunny’s vibe.
JunkBunny’s origin story stretches back to the third grade when Mac and Jake jammed after school and kicked around band names at recess, before their introduction to Cayden. The trio’s first gig together was at a local talent show. They filled early sets with a diverse group of covers, from Nirvana to Rage Against The Machine. By high school, the band was an unstoppable live force, selling out shows and performing with ZZ Top, The Struts, Sammy Hagar, and Jon Bon Jovi.
The trio celebrated 17th and 18th birthdays the year they entered the studio with Howard Benson, Grammy-winning producer of landmark rock records by My Chemical Romance and P.O.D., to make their debut offering for Lava Records, home to Greta Van Fleet and Lorde. The energetic songs on Junk Rock sound both intensely personal and universal at the same time. Down the Rabbit Hole delivers on that first EP’s initial promise, cementing the band’s identity.
Audiences are invigorated by the trio’s musicianship, free-flowing songwriting flair, and ferocious stage assaults. Shows explode with sweat, flailing limbs, and fortitude. The band’s easygoing attitude offstage is a crucial element of their charisma. There’s little decadence in the dressing room, as JunkBunny is plenty happy with junk food - chips and salsa, hot wings, and Dr. Pepper.
On the eve of their ascendency to a hard-earned wider audience, JunkBunny still burns with the same fire that emboldened them as elementary school kids, falling in love with music. They remain best friends bonded together through shared interests and hunger. On record, in the clubs, at the festivals, and on the radio dial, JunkBunny is a raging blur of big hooks, bold swagger, and unbridled energy.