Local Current Blog

A whole new world: Three-fourths of the Goondas reform as Flasher

Josh Miller performs with the Goondas in the Current's studios. Photo by Nate Ryan/MPR.

Three past members of Minneapolis’s most notorious raucous live band of recent years, the Goondas, have recently reunited in a new band, Flasher. It seems Jackson Atkins (guitar), Andy Meuwissen (bass), and Josh Miller (drums) are looking to get back to what they do best: playing rock and roll. 

The Goondas were known not only for their unrestrained blues-infused, garage rock sound, but also for their flamboyant and often deranged stage antics. Throughout their five years as a band they played First Ave’s Best New Bands of 2010 show, made the top five on City Pages’ Pick to Click 2010 list, were voted the Best Live Band in Minneapolis by City Pages in 2011, and twice performed in The Current studios.  The band broke up last December after playing their final show in First Avenue’s Mainroom.

When I asked Atkins, Meuwissen, and Miller what drove them to start this new band, Atkins said, “basically, it’s really boring not playing rock and roll.” Both Miller and Meuwissen agreed, with Josh adding they “needed to—for sanity.” They also mentioned the fact that it just seemed like a natural thing to do, being that they were all friends and had been since their high school days back in Chanhassen.

The band members made clear that they’re not trying to revive the Goondas. “The Goondas were the Goondas,” said Meuwissen, “and you can’t remake that sound without the four. It’s a whole new world for us.”

“We have to treat it like starting over, completely,” Miller added. 

They admitted they would be carrying over some their experience from their time in the Goondas and the song writing was slightly similar, but “it’s different because it’s different,” Atkins claimed.

I had the chance to see the guys play their first gig as Flasher—at Lee’s Liquor Lounge in September. While it was clear they were still very much a rock band, there were distinct aspect of blues and county creeping into the set as well. It seems their sound will take on a different feel once they really get settled with it. “I guess we might fit under a garage band feel,” Atkins said.

Miller had an all-encompassing way of explaining Flasher’s new sound: “It’s all rock and roll, you know.”    

Remembering their debut at Lee’s, the overall consensus among the members of Flasher was that it made for a combined buzz of elation and nerves—but mostly nerves. “It felt really good playing,” said Miller. “I couldn’t tell how it was for anyone else, but I enjoyed myself.”

“I don’t know man,” said Atkins, “you have that drum set around you. I’m up there like…naked.”

Meuwissen added that he needed to “get back into shape—show shape, that is.”

“I want to tour,” said Miller, his bandmates agreeing.

“The important thing is to have fun doing it,” said Atkins. “It’s going to be a long winter.” They hope to release an album and have been writing new songs, but they said it was pretty early in the game to know for sure whether an album would be forthcoming.

89.3 The Current, Vita.mn, and NWP Presents:
Flasher Minneseries at the Nomad Pub takes place each Thursday in January. On January 8, 2015 Flasher are joined by
Driftwood Pyre, Red Daughters. Local Show host David Campbell will also be in attendance. Doors at 9 p.m., 21+; no cover.

Lillian Speakman is a student at Hamline University. She’s a columnist for Hamline’s newspaper The Oracle and a DJ for HU Radio.