Wonk (the band)

Wonk (the band)

 Columbus, Ohio, USA

Boom, Horns, Accordion, Synth, Melodica. This cacophony means either: 1) the circus has gone up in flames, or 2) Wonk (the band) has come to town. If that weren’t enough - Wonk’s unique sound supports powerhouse songwriting brimming with hooks and ponderings in whimsically quirky intellectual pop.


Call me Ishmael. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s engage in a description of the sounds of Wonk (the band). The great philosopher, Elvis Costello, once said, “writing about music is like dancing about architecture,” and due to the abundance of influences present in the music of Wonk, this song and dance routine has turned into an act resembling Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.” With that backdrop in place, readers are advised to proceed with caution.

Wonk is a band that needs to be experienced rather than heard. Bringing together apocalyptic broodings with observationalism more common in a stand-up routine than in the pop song form, Wonk’s subject matter is a collage of many different styles of writing. Taking the lead from artists such as Jason Mraz and the Barenaked Ladies, Wonk integrates quasi-spoken word sections into songs at a spitfire pace. These have become staples of their live show, as they are used interchangeably with philosophical and humorous intent. Below the surface of the pop veneer, Rees Finley’s lyrics explore absurdist themes reflecting the moral implications of his privileged upbringing.

Unlike many washed out rock stars, Finley does not feign that his life has been filled with trials and tribulations on an economic plain, but instead honestly addresses the guilt associated with the middle American lifestyle - a theme to which many can relate.

Wonk’s shows are schizophrenic, switching genres as frequently as they switch instruments (also frequent). They can turn on a dime from ragtime to reggae - Wonk vomits ethnic influences like a bad hangover, though they seem to have a special place in their hearts for Afro-Cuban rhythms, a common thread between many of their songs. In doing so, Wonk takes oddly familiar musical vocabulary and transforms it into melodies that fit in just as nicely between Miley Cyrus and Hillary Duff as they do between Radiohead’s “Kid A” and Arcade Fire’s “Funeral.” Not bad for a bunch of suburban white guys.

Wonk is unlike many Indie bands who think the best performer is the one who performs the least. Wonk concerts are more like a musical orgy than a somber church meeting. The audience becomes engrossed by the act, as the line between the stand-up routine and the fantastical invasion of the body snatchers becomes increasingly blurred. As the evening wears on, Finley’s absurdist campaign takes hold, and the audience no longer cares to distinguish between reality and fantasy and instead is one with the music. In between songs, Finley jokes with the audience, occasionally morphing into a different character - influenced by Peter Gabriel-era Genesis. Finley’s flamboyant and theatrical stage presence, combined with his sometimes surreal spoken song introductions, evokes P.T. Barnum lathering up a crowd with a bottle of snake oil.

Having released their first EP in February 2010, Wonk (the band) is a force to be reckoned with. With the music industry flatlining Wonk makes it possible to abandon the separation between Indie and Pop. And since you’ve already read this far, you just lost the game. Teehee.


My World

Written By: Rees Finley

I drag my feet across the pavement
The sweet release from my enslavement
The prison of my bedroom walls
And mother nature’s taunting calls
it’s like a restless memory
Of once familiar apathy
That guided my one-sided interests
As my childhood dreams were misled

You know that it’s a lonely world
it’s a lonely world, but it’s my world

No one knows my name
and who’s to blame?
“not me” I soon exclaim
It’s frightening and riveting
as I am part of everything
So easily forgotten and easily forgiven
I’m driven by my will to see
Oh ethereal philosophy
that guides fledgling curiosity

And It’s Snowing
And I’m Freezing
Always going so fast
But the knowing’s
worth affliction and my
conviction against restriction will last

Zombies Hate Hip Hop

Written By: Rees Finley

I took a golf cart
Down to the bridge
And drove it through

And I
I took that golf cart
Crashed it in the lake
Thinking about you

i’ll take anything that you have and break it in two that’s what i’d like to do
You can take any heart that i have break it too it’s up to you
Zombie’s Hate Hip Hop

I want a penny
to throw in the fountain
And make some wishes

want a mattress
to throw in the lake
So you can sleep with the fishes

I’ll take my jeep
down to the lake
in the middle of the night

And When
When I am scared
I’ll blast gangsta rap
so the zombies won’t bite

I’m a rich kid and I like Hip Hop
I like busta rhymes and i dig tupac
Can’t get enough of them urban beats
So i play it real loud as i cruise the streets
I drive a hummer i go real fast
I’m a real good kid and i never cut class
I buy all my clothes at abercrombie
I’m not a prep i just don’t like zombies

World to Save

Written By: Rees Finley

Empty Faces Empty mind Ready or Not come to find information overload waiting for the busy tone. Time goes tick tick. you go quick quick no mistakes no breaks you still make it. you still make it. hard enough

I say hey little girl don’t you feel depraved
You got to tell the world you ain’t no one’s slave
I can give you a whirl and let you misbehave
What’s the weight of the world when you’ve got the world to save.

Hurry up to win the race, always getting first place
trophy cabinet full of gold don’t you think it’s getting old
You’re not keeping score but you know there’s more to this life yeah you understand


Written By: Rees Finley

Melissa is a waitress in an applebees downtown
She don’t care about the wages cause she knows she ain’t gonna get out
Yesterday she turned 22 but her friends are all 65
they’ve been working at that applebees for the last twenty years of their lives

Melissa’s got a boyfriend but he never seems to call
He works out of town in Dayton cleaning bathrooms in a shopping mall
the two of them were sweethearts they always put their trust in love
but sometimes life hurts love, yeah sometimes life hurts love

Why can’t we help but love?
(can’t control the course of my life when I can’t control the choice of my love)
Why can’t we help but love?
(can’t control the course of my life when I can’t control the choice of my love)

Melissa likes her music, she listens to the local groups
She goes to Skully’s every tuesday night for the music and the booze
She sings along to the indie bands when they play them on the radio
and sometimes that is love, yeah sometimes that is love

Why can’t we help but love?
(can’t control the course of my life when I can’t control the choice of my love)
Why can’t we help but love?
(can’t control the course of my life when I can’t control the choice of my love)

She can’t run away
She can’t change her past
She can’t leave today
But she can’t make it last

Melissa’s got no reason to hang on to what she’s got
She thinks she’s living in a fairy tale in the center of the plot
But she don’t care about the future, time and her were never friends
and sometimes that is love, yeah sometimes that is love

Why can’t we help but love?
(can’t control the course of my life when I can’t control the choice of my love)
Why can’t we help but love?
(can’t control the course of my life when I can’t control the choice of my love)


Greatest Hits E.P. - Released February 13, 2010
available on Itunes

Limited Release CD
Live at Scarlet and Grey Cafe Released August 2009

My World in airplay on 104.3 fm

"Origami" featured in BARE Literary Arts Publication 2008-2009

Set List

Bells, The
Giant Squid
Half Awake
How Long
I’m not Brutal I’m just honest
Keep Lying to Me
Mary Johanna
My World
Solsbury Hill (Peter Gabriel Cover)
Straight, No Chaser
Stuck in a Phase
Way You Want It, The
What Do We Want?
World to Save
You Don’t Need My Love
Zombies hate Hip Hop