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Trunks of Juniper

Debonair Flair

Donald Hudon - Lead Vox, Background Vox, Keys and Synth Mylar - Lead Background Vox and Programming Lane Flanlon - Guitars, Strings and Background Vox Burnt Salvation - Interpretive Dance and Background Vox Trunks of Juniper was the brainchild of Donald Hudon, a one-time prodigy xylophonist who was born and raised in Zanesville, Ohio. Having studied under the tutelage of elite musicians at Interlochen, he eventually went on to turn his back on classical theory, ultimately finding relative success as a studio synth and keyboard player. Between the late 70's and early 90's, Hudon appeared on dozens of synth-pop albums, including a handful of modest hits that charted on the Billboard 200. Beyond the confines of the recording booth, however, his musicianship remained virtually unknown, and the music business began to betray him. By late 1991, the landscape of pop-rock music had experienced drastic alterations, as the advent of commercial rap lingered on the doorstep of grunge. Hudon found his skilled fingers in lesser demand than ever before, precipitating his eventual move back to the Midwest, where he went to work as - among other things - a dues-paying member of the local pipe fitters union. His secession from the music scene was short-lived, however, when - in the autumn of 1992 - it's rumored he was inspired by a chance encounter in which he picnicked with a member of Kraftwerk, who encouraged him to follow the trail blazed by several session-playing contemporaries who had gone on to achieve mainstream stardom. Thus, Hudon finally followed his impetus to scratch a long-lingering itch to not only play in, but to front his very own band. During the fall/winter of 1993-94, Hudon famously holed himself up in Murmansk, Russia, alongside the talented and inspirational group of artists who would ultimately become his band mates. The result was Trunks of Juniper and their unfinished 1994 demo/cover album "Debonair Flair," on which Hudon paid tribute to many of the musicians and artists with whom he'd always hoped - but never had the opportunity - to collaborate during his career. Hudon served as the conductor, so to speak, concocting a panoply of medleys (a dozen in all), tickling the "ivories", and providing baritone lead vocals and falsetto harmonies. Alongside Hudon was Lars "Mylar" Mueller, a German-born producer and sometime-singer, who brought a distinctly unique perspective and style - described by Mylar as "androgenoid" - that is apparent in his programming and performance. Former session player Lane Flanlon - Hudon's equal if not superior as a musician - was a natural choice to round out the instrumental section. An accomplished songwriter and serviceable singer, Flanlon played numerous stringed instruments and brought a special knack for arranging harmonies. Lastly, opera singer-turned-performance artist Burnt Salvation was brought in to contribute primal dance elements, as well as backing vocals of his own on numerous tracks. Hudon referred to "Debonair Flair" as a love letter to the "greatest heroes" any kid from Zanesville could ever ask for, and his hope, ironically, was to use the album as a blueprint for a super-collaboration that would save pop-music from extinction. Sadly, before the album could be finished and it's lofty aspirations realized, both Trunks of Juniper and "Debonair Flair" met with an untimely demise. It was the spring of 1994, and Donald Hudon was dead – having perished in a tragic boating accident. He was only 35. Not surprisingly, the surviving members of the band decided to shelve Trunks of Juniper immediately, and collectively agreed to bury the project with Hudon - both figuratively and literally. As a result, the demo tapes were ordered transferred from the Murmansk recording studio to the funeral home in Zanesville, to be incinerated alongside Hudon (who was cremated). Also incinerated was a series of promotional music videos that had been shot and edited during the recording session, as well, in the hopes of sparking studio interest. They were never released to the public, and went to the grave with Hudon. So you can imagine the shock and chagrin of Mylar, Flanlon, and Salvation when - in early 2008 - several of those music videos surfaced on the internet. Investigation led to an engineer at the Murmansk studio, who - only weeks earlier - had discovered the entire Trunks of Juniper catalogue boxed and locked away in the studio vault. While official records state otherwise, it quickly became apparent that the materials were never shipped to and destroyed in Zanesville (and there has been no definitive information released indicating what actually was). And while the Trunks of Juniper video leak initially drew the ire of Mylar, Flanlon and Salvation (the videos were eventually removed from the web, pending litigation), unexpected, excessive, exuberant viewer response has suddenly given Trunks of Juniper new life. Much like the mythical phoenix, Donald Hudon has risen from the ashes. The songs and videos playing on this page are the unfiltered, unpolished, unmastered versions of the twelve songs that were to appear on Trunks of Juniper’s debut album, the incomplete opus “Debonair Flair.” They are merely hints at what Trunks of Juniper and Debonair Flair "could have been," though they would have been nothing at all were it not for Donald Hudon. Although it’s an accident that they still exist, it’s certainly no accident that they are finally receiving the attention and affection Hudon always knew they deserved. These songs and videos are being shared with fans in honor of - and as a tribute to - the late musical maestro. They represent hope for popular music, and serve as a "thank you" to all who’ve inspired - and who’ve been inspired by - this project.