Punishment, AKA William Statler, formerly known as S. Funkee, has been at music for quite some time. It’s unknown to most circles of his musical origins in Minneapolis, Minnisota, prior to him departing the Midwest for the greenery of the Northwest.
I have a deep appreciation and love for this human.
We met in September 2009, a few months after I moved to Seattle from Bellingham, after he opened for YACHT when they began treading into their current cult-grunge thing. I think the only friends of mine who witnessed this path to the future were Jenny Williams and Rich Jensen. YACHT (then Jona & Claire) I don’t think were even in the building to witness this cool figure on stage with long hair and dressed in all-white clothes. I don’t remember at all what the early Punishment set sound was but I remember being into it. I was working the Hollow Earth Radio table watching the mostly empty show room of the Vera Project while a prophet spoke into a microphone and played beats that should have been danced to. We exchanged emails afterwards and bounced infrequent emails back and forth for quite some time before William Statler began his role as a pivotal individual in my life.
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Punishment seems kind of like comedy, as if that’s the entire thing- a big joke. It isn’t really one though. Imagine that you have a friend that you always hang out with (maybe your best friend) and they’re carrying around a car-load of MIDI controlled instruments soundtracking a commentary track, that is imposed over a film, that is our lives. What they’re saying is really funny but it’s because it has a lot of truth and depth to it, so is life. Punishment is what I consider to be serious but fun music. Vital, if you will.
This night at Funny Button was one of the best shows that have been there, right next to the Don’t Talk to the Cops!, Cold Lake, Police Teeth, TacocaT event. Like most shows at the Funny Button, I was wondering where the rest of musical DIY Seattle was doing missing this great evening. Everyone here seemed to know that this was the right place to be.
It should be noted that this was one of the many best Punishment shows that there have been and that we are very fortunate that the audio was salvageable and not completely shredded. Shout out to the audio recorder that crashed during this set; shout out to the alternate audio source for not being completely ruined.—Kenneth M. Piekarski