keyboard solo

Jon Huntsman: D&D Nerd Who Played Keyboards In Band Called ‘Wizard’

We have an old stoner uncle who also used to play in a “prog rock” band back in the hazy Kodachrome 1970s, so we’re not sure how unique this might be, but potential GOP presidential candidate and Obama appointee Jon Huntsman used to be in a nerd wizards-and-witchcraft band, where he played the nerdiest instrument:

In the late 1970s, Huntsman lost an election for senior class president and took it hard. He dropped out of high school, grew his hair long, and joined a rock band called Wizard.

He never got his high school diploma, and the band never got famous. He later said he thought of himself as a loser.

Well …

According to Internet-based music magazine Wikipedia, “The term was initially applied to the music of bands such as Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Soft Machine, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, reaching its peak of popularity in the mid 1970s.” So, Jon Huntsman was late to that game, too. [NPR]

About the author

Wonkette Jr., everybody! Hooray!

View all articles by Wonkette Jr.
What Others Are Reading

Hola wonkerados.

To improve site performance, we did a thing. It could be up to three minutes before your comment appears. DON'T KEEP RETRYING, OKAY?

Also, if you are a new commenter, your comment may never appear. This is probably because we hate you.


    1. BaldarTFlagass

      Given that the average age of the bloggers here places them still happily swimming around in their father's balls even 15 or 20 years after that song was released, I for one will overlook this.

      1. MittsHairHelmet

        true, but I'm their age too…

        I mean, you could argue that Simon was progressive in his use of african rhythms (and musicians) but that hardly puts him into the category of Prog Rock, especially considering the music he was making in the 70's.

          1. MittsHairHelmet

            In the shuffling madness
            Of the locomotive breath
            Runs the all time loser
            Headlong to his death

  1. Callyson

    From the NPR link:
    "With Ambassador Huntsman, I don't see a lot of straight lines," says Kirk Jowers, the director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics and a former adviser to Huntsman.
    I *thought* my gaydar was going off when I saw Huntsman's photo…

    1. elviouslyqueer

      Hmm. He does have that Lindsey Graham thing going on. And not many straight men I know have those kind of stretch marks around the lips.

    2. easynewz

      Does he mean the kind of straight lines that you cut with a credit card on a mirror? (Not that I would know anything about that, of course).

  2. Barb

    "but also embraced civil unions for gay couples."
    I'm sure he took a wide stance for this cause.

  3. EatsBabyDingos

    I'd like Huntsman better if he was a long hair stoner. As it is, I have a hard time distinguishing him from 8 ounces of milk.

        1. horsedreamer_1

          Jewel, Alaska's greatest gift to pop-culture, in the B.P. ("Before Palin") era.

        1. Lascauxcaveman

          Ahem. Thirty five plus years later, they're still rockin' it harder than ever. (I loved Gladys Knight, is she even still alive?)

      1. ShaveTheWhales

        Hocus Pocus is, like, also, too, among the hundred-or-so.

        I also liked Krokus, in small doses.

      1. TsunamiAli

        But think about a Kodachrome that has aged 40 years – it's pretty faded, depending on the processing.

        I totally get it! It is hazy! Ken, BTF's comment seconded, also. too.

        1. joobajooba

          Actually that's the deal with Kodachrome. It doesn't fade. I've got heirloom slides that are 50 years old and vivid as the new day.

          1. TsunamiAli

            You give us those nice bright colors
            You gives us those greens of summers
            Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah!

            I stand corrected.

  4. BaldarTFlagass

    Speaking of ELP, I remember reading in RS or Creem, back in the Kodachrome 1970s, that Keith Emerson had the largest organ in the world. There went my delusions of grandeur.

    1. horsedreamer_1

      That's why Hendrix couldn't join the band.

      (Seriously: that almost happened.)

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      I guess his band would have had to do the obligatory cover of "Good Vibrations" in their live sets, if that were the case.

  5. hooray4anything

    I think that's all awesome and might make me think that's cool enough to consider voting for but my guess is what with his Mormon upbringing and the fact he's made it this far in politics will probably mean he's one of the few D&D players/Prog Rock listeners who never smoked dope. Which makes him an even bigger loser than most people who were into Yes.

  6. baconzgood

    King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Soft Machine, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer….You just named the juke box in my own personnel hell.

    1. SayItWithWookies

      You clearly don't remember the crap that was mainstream in the 70s — The Carpenters, Bread, America, Neil Diamond — prog rock wasn't necessarily good, just better than the horrible swill that was played on the top 40 stations all the time.

        1. BaldarTFlagass

          Starland Vocal Band. Captain and Tennille. Terry Jacks. On and on and on. Makes Uriah Heep seem like not such a bad thing.

      1. PristineODummy

        I was wonderin' what-all had happened to all the BAD music I remembered from that era. Thank you for reminding me. I'll just go stab my eardrums out with a chopstick now.

      1. baconzgood

        Domo arigato Mr. Prommieo for reminding me of Styx. I'd rather have a Right Said Fred song in my head than that.

          1. DaRooster

            Blue Colored Van and Tuna Slime On My Hands are my favorites from Styx… but a lot of their stuff did come out whiny…

      2. Chet Kincaid

        Good God, I moved to the blue collar south suburbs of Chicago and started high school right when local heroes Styx were hitting it big. All the white kids were creaming their jeans over them. Since then, I have always hated American bands that sing in fake English accents.

      3. PristineODummy

        Thank you. TYVM. I know I will never sleep again and it will be YOUR fault. (See, I was relying on my aging memory to FORGET all that shit, but now that you've reminded me, it will play on an endless loop as I lie zombie-eyed staring at the ceiling all night and praying to either sleep or choke the living shit out of you, and all these performers — are they still alive?).

    2. hooray4anything

      Doesn't the idea of Emerson, Lake and Palmer doing Hail to the Chief as Huntsman get sworn in excite you in the least?

  7. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    Wow, to be as liberal and progressive as Huntsman is, just what sort of deep, dark weird sex must he be into to be a Republican? Gay?! I wish! If I were gay they'd be no problem! No, what I have is a romantic abnormality, one so unbelievable that it must be hidden from the public at all cost. You see…

  8. Monsieur_Grumpe

    Soft Machine? I used to play a song by them. It went:
    ba da da
    da da da
    dee dee dee dum dum dum
    dee dee
    da da daaaaaaa.

    Good tune.
    Not very danceable though.

    1. DashboardBuddha

      You can see that in the video for Elephant Talk – Adrian Belou is hamming it up (as well he should be) and RF is giving him the smiling, "dude, cut that shit out" look. Then he turns around and scowls at the camera man.

      Tony Leven is pretty cool on the stick in that video, btw.

      1. DerrickWildcat

        I've met Adrian Belew twice and both times he was a really nice guy. It's just amazing how easy and dead on precise he can make that crazy neck jumping playing he does. He smiles and laughs every second of the show.

      2. Chet Kincaid

        I love me some KC. Somebody chastised Wonkette Jr. upstream for quoting Paul Simon, but '80s King Crimson was on a continuum with Talking Heads, Simon, Gabriel, Bowie, not part of the bloated carcass of Prog.

    2. Chet Kincaid

      I used to feel that way too, but he has grown on me in his old age. I enjoy reading his diaries at You would never know he'd been a rock star, as he now mostly leads the life of a 60-ish, semi-well-off small-businessman living in the English countryside with his showbizzy singer/actress wife.

    3. carlgt1

      well when he's doing he's "Frippertronics" he is — I had to leave one of his intimate concerts in Philly as I got bored with all the digital delay/loop noodling that just sounds like the sort of wankery one can do in the bedroom with a few effects pedals

  9. Beowoof

    He is a Mormon, playing keyboard in a band. Is that like Huckabee backing up Ted Nugent on Cat Scratch Fever. (With those Christian lyrics, "when I make pussy purr with a stroke of my hand, they know they're getting it from me"
    The possibilities are endless then to the music Wizard played. I would think they're a Frank Zappa cover band or Mormon Tabrenacle Choir cover band.

    1. horsedreamer_1

      Liddy wants her dad to sit in with the Mars Volta the next time they tour Salt Lake City.

  10. Tommmcattt

    That list leaves out possibly the lamest and most terrible prog rock sound making organization in the history of bad music: The Allen Parsons Project

    I have it on good authority that listening to "Eye In The Sky" over and over again will eventually melt your brain and cause you to vote Republican.

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      I think the same thing happens with the Electric Light Orchestra, except all those string instruments makes your ear and nostril hair fall out… Hey, I'm off to iTunes!!!

    2. ThundercatHo

      They are my husband's fave and although we will not vote (R) that shit gives me a migraine. Never realized that my brain was actually melting. Thanks for the pro tip.

    3. ShaveTheWhales

      This mini-thread provides cognitive dissonance for me. OT1H, I refuse to believe that there ever was an entity called the "Allen Parsons Project". OTOH, there were bits of ELO that I quite liked, even beyond the marching cellists. I consider ELO an interesting experiment that didn't work out, as opposed to brain-dissolving mediocrity.

  11. SorosBot

    The fact that he played a wizard in the 70s is hardcore; they were the days of the original AD&D, and they really eared that Advanced; the rules were much more complicated than modern editions, but particularly for wizards, especially with the material components, plus they needed a lot more XP per level than the other classes and were nearly useless and very easy to kill for the first few levels.

    1. Grief_Lessons

      They didn't have enough hit points. 1d4 per level for the first six, and they could only use a dagger.

      My main recollection of those original AD&D books, though, was that a suspicious number of the featured monsters and adventurers had shapely, exposed female breasts.

      1. SorosBot

        We had the old ones in my high school library, and always loved the breasts; though we played the then-current 2nd Edition, which always kept the nipples covered in their fantasy T&A.

        1. Grief_Lessons

          Did you have Unearthed Arcana, the book that added "Comeliness" as a character attribute? You could now grade those nipples on a scale of 3-18.

          1. SorosBot

            Nah, just the basic Player's Handbook, DM's Guide and Monstrous Manual (the one with many boobies).

      1. SorosBot

        Well I know there's one big currebt porn star whose porn name is April O'Neil, so I'm gonna say yes.

  12. Biel_ze_Bubba

    "Progressive Republican" is even more out-of-date than "D&D nerd". The guy sounds interesting, but not in a have-a-beer-with way, or even in a vote-for way.

  13. Badonkadonkette

    Are you telling me that the Republican white knight is a guy without a high school diploma who pulled the grandpappy of all I'm-taking-my-ball-and-going-home moves when he didn't win the most meaningless popularity contest of his LIFE?

    You know, on second thought, that makes sense. Never mind.

    1. horsedreamer_1

      He went back for a GED, then on to a (good) college — well, U. of Utah, followed by a transfer to Penn.

  14. easynewz

    Really don't mind if you sit this one out.
    My words but a whisper – your deafness a SHOUT.
    I may make you feel but I can't make you think.
    Your sperm's in the gutter – your love's in the sink.
    So you ride yourselves over the fields and
    you make all your animal deals and
    your wise men don't know how it feels to be thick as a brick.

    1. DashboardBuddha

      Well, do you ever get the feeling that the story's
      too damn real and in the present tense?
      Or that everybody's on the stage, and it seems like
      you're the only person sitting in the audience?

    1. ShaveTheWhales

      Well, mostly, so do I, maybe, except Floyd? Tull? KC?

      What is this Internet Music Source Wikipedia of which you (well, not you) speak?

  15. Grief_Lessons

    Prog Rock is the leitmotif of the last two posts on Wonkette: Google Image Rebecca Mansour and try not to think of a fat Geddy Lee.

  16. ManchuCandidate

    "20D savings roll from Teabagger Trolls!"
    /dice clatter/
    "You've been cast into the pit of Low Taxes where the Bachmann Siren and Succubus Sarah will eat you alive as Ogres and Teabaggers on Hoverrounds fap to your demise."
    "Oh man, I hate GOP D&D!!"

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      Though I am of the proper age, for some reason D&D is one (of the few) nerd trains that left the station without me.

    2. KeepFnThatChicken

      I rolled a one, and fumbled. And I'm carrying a +3 Appropriations Bill. What will that do to me?

    3. PabaBritannica

      I'm getting the rights to GOP D&D.

      I'm building a Conservative Warrior Elephant named Teflon Ron with +15 charisma and defense and +4 intelligence.

  17. BarackMyWorld

    Wait…a presidential candidate with a G.E.D.? I know he later graduated college and was a missionary in Taiwan…but a G.E.D.?

    1. zhubajie

      So how did he get to be ambassador to Japan? Usually don't you have to contribute megabucks to someone's presidential campaign?

  18. Grief_Lessons

    Keep making fun of Jon Huntsman and you may be visited by a level 16 elvish paladin with strength 18 and a +6 vorpal sword. Who's laughing then?

      1. Grief_Lessons

        You know, I thought that, but "elvish paladin" just rolled off the tongue, and I figured the chances of getting called on it were pretty small…

    1. zhubajie

      I have a 6' 5" Manchu acquaintance who does broadsword martial arts when he's not driving a bus; he's offered to kill my enemies for me, so I fear nothing.

  19. fuflans

    shouldn't Rush be part of that list?

    i ask this because someone near and dear to me loves Rush and i will use this information to mock him.

    1. PabaBritannica

      As if Rush needs anything more than the fact that they have songs about Objectivist Philosophy to mock them. Might as well have been a band called "John Galt and the Moochers".

      1. hagajim

        Just cause they have songs about it doesn't mean they believe it…unlike the teatards.

  20. PabaBritannica

    He had a Dungeon Master's guide
    He had a 12 sided die
    He had Kitty Pryde…and Nightcrawler too
    Waiting there for him, yes he did
    In the Garage…

  21. WriteyWriterton

    "We have an old stoner uncle…"

    More likely a great-uncle, given how young this Wonkette candidate seems to be. (Not a criticism, just a raw inference. I hate teh Youngs, now that I'm an Old.
    And their music…don't get me started!)

    And D&D – did nothing for me, ever. I remember how there were disappearances at MSU relating to D&D games played or conceptually extended, I think, in steam tunnels.

    Not self-of-steam tunnels, mind, the real thing. Carry on.

    1. ShaveTheWhales

      I remember the Michigan State steam tunnel stories. Of course, I was already old.

  22. PabaBritannica

    Man, screw D&D, I want a candidate inspired by my preferred tabletop RPG boardgame, Arkham Horror, inspired by the works of HP Lovecraft.

    Why be president when you can be High Priest of the Old Ones?

  23. horsedreamer_1

    This is not the kind of Wizardry that will get the Bob Jones University student-body atwitter.

  24. NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    High school senior class president defeat.
    life was so tough in the Huntsman family

    besides, the name is Jon, not John
    and Glenn Beck luvs them to death

  25. BZ1

    … great, another high schooler at the reins, like Wiscie's Walker, Arizonia's Brewer and Alask's Lou Sarah… never believed the nonsense of going to a gazillion junior colleges…

  26. axmxz

    If he dropped out of high school after losing an election for class president, what's he going to drop out of when he loses the election for real president? I'm thinking a whole sheet of acid and a suicide note misquoting Tim Leary.

  27. Negropolis

    He never got his high school diploma, and the band never got famous. He later said he thought of himself as a loser.

    I can assure him if there is any doubt left in his mind that he wasn't the only one who thought that, or the only one who still thinks that.

    I'm reading later that he got his GED, but can you even imagine the things a Democrat with this high of a political profile would have to go through if he didn't ever graduate high school on time? And this guy is being considered for the highest office in the land without even a lick of irony by the media.

    The more I hear about this guy, the more I'm convinced that he's perfect for the modern GOP.

  28. Negropolis

    What would Mormonism have to say about something like D&D, because I know what Evengelical Christendom has to say about wizards, warlocks, and the like. Hell, you can get excommunicated for reading Harry Potter.

  29. Chet Kincaid

    The article doesn't say Huntsman played D&D. I mention this because I don't want to have to read erroneous D&D jokes in all your comments from here to eternity.

Comments are closed.