In Music

Bands pull together to help Nuna recover

J.J. McAuliffe, owner of McAuliffe's Pub in Racine, was witness to one of the most amazing sights at Summerfest this year.

On June 30, the local band Nuna arrived on the Lazer 103 Rock Stage. The trio's fans always expect an energetic show whenever they play at one of their numerous performances at the many benefits they are invited to or their wild and exciting shows around town. However, little did the audience know of the circumstances that resulted in vocalist and guitarist Nuna Minch to be wheeled on the stage on a wheelchair.

On the band's Web site, McAuliffe, who own's McAuliffe's Pub in Racine, wrote of the show, "I can honestly say that I do not know of many bands that would have gone on with this gig! In my years of playing and booking music, I can honestly say I have never seen something quite like it ... Nuna did not bitch about his situation, he was joking with the crowd and giving his all."

For Minch, it was quite a different feeling altogether.

"Even though it was really good to play Summerfest, I felt awkward being out there in a wheelchair," he recalls, "I wasn't used to being in that predicament. I didn't know how I was going to be able to do it."

The events of the past year for Minch would be hard on anyone. Last year, he slipped and fell at his work, which resulted in a herniated disc in his back. "At first, I thought it was just a muscle pull, so I didn't make a big stink about it," he says. The injury resulted in the guitarist going under the knife in December to repair the injury.

Waiting for his workman's compensation to kick in became a bureaucratic nightmare. While waiting for his checks to come in, bills were going unpaid and bill collectors were causing his phone to ring off the hook.

Then just as Minch was starting to see some light at the end of this dark tunnel, a car accident took out the front end of his car as he was pulling out of a parking lot, just two days before the gig at Summerfest.

He took the stage in a triumphant performance, but despite all this, his workman's compensation and insurance funds are all being held up in a sea of red tape. His medical and daily living expenses are piling up with no income coming in because Minch has not been allowed back to work in over a month.

Some organizers learned of Minch's dire situation, and have extended a helping hand as a way to repay him for all the many benefit shows the band has so graciously attended.

Minch becomes overwhelmed whenever he thinks about the kindness that has been extended to him, "It's really nice that in Milwaukee we have bands that help out other bands. I've done so many benefits myself and I can relate now."

Minch won't be performing at these shows, but is looking forward to attending. That doesn't mean Nuna the band is taking a break. The group's latest album is nearly complete, an acoustic solo by Minch is in the works, and their upcoming shows will go on, despite Minch's feeling about playing in a wheelchair.

"(The injury) puts a damper on performing," he says, "I feel kind of awkward because I'm not capable of standing while playing. Wearing a guitar over my neck is uncomfortable and my hands start going numb whenever I play guitar."

With the musicians of Milwaukee behind him, Minch will continue to give his all.

There will be two benefit concerts for local musician Nuna Minch with the first this Sunday, Aug. 22 at the Rock Shop in West Allis. Another, at a date to be announced later, will be hosted by McAuliffe's Pub, 3700 Meachem Rd., in Racine. Nuna's Web site is nunamusic.com.

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