Published in the August 3, 2016 edition

THE BAND Funbucket featuring, from left, bassist Kook Lawry, singer Chris O'Connor, drummer Greg Dann and guitarist Mike McMahon performed a cover of Tom Petty's "You Wreck Me" during the Rotary Club's Concert on the Common last week. (Dan Tomasello Photo)

THE BAND Funbucket featuring, from left, bassist Kook Lawry, singer Chris O’Connor, drummer Greg Dann and guitarist Mike McMahon performed a cover of Tom Petty’s “You Wreck Me” during the Rotary Club’s Concert on the Common last week. (Dan Tomasello Photo)


LYNNFIELD — Main Street resident and local guitarist Charles “Kook” Lawry has been a fixture of the North Shore music scene since he first started playing music when he was 6 years old. He has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

After playing in The Brian Maes Band since the early 1990s, Lawry has launched a new project called Funbucket. Funbucket, which formed a year ago, features Lawry on bass and guitar, guitarist/bassist Mike “Mr. Bogus” McMahon, drummer Greg Dann and singer Chris O’Connor.

“It’s a great band,” said Lawry. “We have a great time playing together.”


MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST Charles “Kook” Lawry has launched a new project called Funbucket. While Lawry is primarily known in town as a guitarist, he is spending most of his time playing bass in Funbucket. (Maureen Doherty Photo)

Lawry said he has wanted to start a band with McMahon since the two musicians worked at Handsome Brothers in Somerville.

“We were doing music for hire work for a number of years and we have always wanted to play in a band together,” said Lawry.

After deciding the time has come to launch a new project, Lawry and McMahon reached out to Dann, who is the business manager and owner of the Rockport-based recording studio Rockpile Recording.

“I met Greg through Mike and we hit it off right away,” said Lawry.

Funbucket rounded out its line-up after O’Connor moved back from western Massachusetts.

“Chris nailed the first run through,” said Lawry. “He was the obvious choice for us. He is very versatile and he doesn’t try to imitate anybody.”

While Lawry is pretty much known in town as a guitarist, he spends quite bit of time handling bass duties in Funbucket. He is playing acoustic guitar during the band’s mellower set but is carrying the low end so McMahon can handle the electric guitar parts on the other half of the band’s set.

“I love it,” Lawry said about playing bass. “I love Mike’s guitar playing and I have no problem giving him guitar duties because he is so good. When we started the band, we originally thought we would have two guitar players and a bassist. But right now, we want be able to play as many venues as possible, which is why I am playing bass quite bit. I will be playing more electric at some point.”

Funbucket made its Lynnfield debut at the Rotary Club’s final Concert on the Common last week. The four-piece band played a variety of different covers including Tom Petty’s “You Wreck Me” and Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.” The band was well received by both its fans and the large crowd.

“When I am playing songs I like, I always have a smile on my face,” said Lawry.

Lawry said the band will begin working on original music soon.

“We do have some original material but we are not focusing on that right now because we are working on getting our cover basis really strong,” said Lawry. “Our goal for 2017 is to get our original material ready to go. We have some material on the back burner and we are getting ready to move it to the front.”

The Brian Maes Band

In addition to playing with Funbucket, Lawry is still playing with The Brian Maes Band. The Brian Maes Band headlined the first Concert on the Common this season.

“Brian has new music in the works that should be released around Thanksgiving,” said Lawry.

Additionally, Lawry is serving as the music director for Maes’ rock opera, The Devil and Billy Shake. According to the rock opera’s website, “Billy Shake is an American rock star of epic proportions” and is “so beloved throughout the world that the devil himself, known as Dr. Spark, brings Billy to Hell to entertain him and his followers.”

Maes and George D. Simpson co-wrote The Devil and Billy Shake. Lawry said Maes stars as Billy Shake while his wife, MaryBeth Maes, stars as Princess Shrill. This year, New Hampshire-based blues singer Nick David will play the part of Dr. Spark.

“His strong vocal style and intense look will bring a lot to the role,” Lawry about David.

In addition to musical performances by Lawry, the Maes and David, the rock opera will feature performances by Tim Archibald, “Old” Tony DePietro, Rachele DiFava, Terri O’Soro, Danny McCarthy, Erik D’Orlando and Simpson.

Lawry said the rock opera is scheduled to be performed at the Lynn Auditorium on Oct. 29.

“It’s going really well,” said Lawry. “We have been developing some songs and getting some interest in New York City. Brian comes to me whenever he needs a second opinion.”

‘72 grad of LHS

Lawry said his family moved to Lynnfield in 1956. He attended the Center School, Summer Street School, Lynnfield Junior High School and graduated from Lynnfield High School in 1972. During a 2012 interview with the Villager, Lawry said he was inspired to become a guitarist after watching singer-songwriter Ricky Nelson perform at the former Pleasure Island amusement park in Wakefield. He said Nelson’s guitar player, James Burton, blew him away.

“I didn’t want to be Ricky Nelson,” said Lawry. “I wanted to be a lead guitar player.”

In addition to playing with Funbucket, The Brian Maes Band and working on The Devil and Billy Shake, Lawry has been teaching guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and vocals to the next generation of Lynnfield musicians for the past 15 years. During last week’s Funbucket show on the Common, one of Lawry’s students, Katy Morelli, joined the band on stage for a few songs.

“Watching students like Katy step up to the plate and knock it out of the park is why I love teaching music,” said Lawry.

Lawry personally thanked Concert Committee Chairman Bob Priestley for all of his work in making this year’s concert series a success.

“Bob works very hard to put on a good show for everybody in town,” said Lawry.