Illustrator-musician Evan Bujold is 'a different kind of performer'

Evan Bujold, alumnus and creator of comic “Late Earth,” expresses himself on the page and during Funk ‘N Waffles open mic nights.

In a black, cross-hatched world where red-headed, librarian-archers guard ancient temples and villainous creatures have elongated beaks, a boy emerges as the keeper of sanity: Attaboy!

Evan Bujold is the creator of the character Attaboy, who appears in his illustrated comic “Late Earth.” Inspired by egoism and the cultural apocalypse, "Late Earth" unfolds Bujold’s view of mainstream media as a socially-constructed device, he explained.

Photo: Hailey Clark
Funk ‘N Waffles has become a musical home for the Late Earth musicians.

“Consider the advent of garbage in mainstream music and culture,” Bujold said. “It’s like ‘be stupid, get drunk, get money.’ All of that, to me, is so contrived, and there’s no differentiation between artists when they say that.”

Bujold’s statement is characterized as a boy wearing rabbit ears and ski goggles in the second dimension, but a real-life rendition of Attaboy may be out there.

Or right at Funk ‘N Waffles.

Attaboy is Bujold’s alter ego, who wears the same rabbit ears and ski goggles, and performs alternative-punk music at Funk ‘N Waffles' open mic nights. These performances occur weekly on Tuesday and Wednesday nights at 8 p.m.

Bujold’s involvement with Funk ‘N Waffles' open mic nights began while he was an illustration graduate student at Syracuse University. Just two months ago, Bujold was hired as venue supervisor by the restaurant’s music director, Charley Orlando.

Running sound, box office and graphic work for both the university and downtown Funk ‘N Waffles locations are some of the duties Bujold carries out. Orlando said he values Bujold’s motivation.

“He is a very organized and hard-working person. He is very easy to get along with and is a thinker and doer," he said.

Bujold facilitates the entire music flow at Funk ‘N Waffles while also providing his own entertainment. He performs with his group, also called Late Earth (inspired by the comic), with bandmates Natalie LoRusso and Jake Marshall at Funk ‘N Waffles and other venues.

LoRusso, an SU graduate student in library and information science, and Marshall, a resident of Syracuse, both met Bujold at a Funk 'N Waffles open mic night back in 2011. After hearing Bujold play his original song “Headcase,” Marshall said he approached him about his music style.

“He’s a really confident lyricist and he’s very good at improv,” Marshall said, “I know if I come up with something that’s a little out there he can put something to it that will work.”

Raised in a rock 'n' roll household, Bujold listened to music icons, such as Creedence Clearwater Revival, Blue Öyster Cult, Chicago, AC/DC, Boston, Queen and Led Zeppelin.

In high school, Bujold’s taste in music switched to punk-alternative, listening to “life is tough” bands like The Offspring, Sum 41 and Blink 182. These groups are what Bujold said inspired him to become musically inclined.

“It was just before my 10th-grade year," Bujold recalled. "I was working as a dishwasher and I bought my first Fender Strat and Marshall amp. And I said, ‘I’m gonna learn.’”

This teach-as-you-go attitude translates to the creative process of Late Earth. Marshall and Bujold often trade as vocalist or lead guitar and LoRusso accompanies as bass. All three write lyrics.

Late Earth bases its lyrics on current world tensions and societal infractions, similar to Bujold’s comic.

“We sing about the end of the world or the state of the world,” Bujold said.

In a recent song, “Feignanimal,” LoRusso and Bujold lyricize student debt, a debilitating counterpart of the collegiate experience:

Deceived in elementary evidence is this cluttered cubby with no promise for went a life well worn for its golden fleece to be shorn said academic animals aren't born.

Using farming as a metaphor for student loan debt is both conceptually and syntactically different from what is often heard on the radio today.

The band is playing at different venues during the month of October, with their first gig Oct. 19 at The Vault, located at 451 S. Warren St. Late Earth’s Facebook page lists the rest of their upcoming performances.

Funk ‘N Waffles has become a musical home for the Late Earth musicians. It’s where they met, where they perform and where they will keep coming back to after other musical endeavors.

Just as “Late Earth” inspires the band’s name and statement, vice versa also applies. For the red-headed archer whose job is not only a librarian, but also a temple guardian, there also may be a live rendition of this character somewhere on SU’s campus.

Flashing back to when it all started, where LoRusso said she saw the short, odd man wearing rabbit ears and goggles, and she said she knew he was “gonna make it big.”

“It was different, but there was always talent to back it up. It wasn't just weird and quirky for the sake of being weird and quirky,” LoRusso said. “[He] was a different kind of performer.”

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