One of the Twin Cities’ most ubiquitous and ebullient musicians, John Munson of Semisonic and New Standards fame suffered a stroke late last week but is already on the rebound and pledging more music before the end of year.
“I am, I reckon — as do my caregivers at the U — a very lucky guy,” Munson wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday revealing his precarious predicament.
The Minneapolis-based bassist and singer, 53, said he was raking leaves in his yard during last week’s glorious fall weather when he collapsed to the ground suddenly and was rushed to Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center.
The stroke was considered mild, and after a few days in the hospital he sounds hopeful for a full recovery.
“I feel great now,” he said. “I felt great prior to hitting the deck. There were moments in between I did not feel great.”
Munson said he was sharing his story to urge others to be aware of the symptoms of a stroke, since hasty treatment is often crucial to recovery:
“If you see someone suddenly acting strangely, off balance, slurring, or the like, before you level your finger and say, “Lay off the sauce, Mister Munson!” consider asking a simple question like, “Smile for me, please,” or “Where are we?”... The window to fix a stroke is small, but there are remedies that can make a large difference. Be a hero to someone. This stuff happens at the speed of life, which can get very fast, even though you wouldn’t know it lately.”
All too fittingly, he noted that 2020 started ominously for him with another trip to an ER for a severe kidney stone on New Year’s Day. He still had a fruitful year musically, though, despite the shutdown from the pandemic.
In September, Munson and his two Semisonic bandmates finally released their first batch of new songs in 19 years, the extra-timely EP “You’re Not Alone.” He and kindred spirit Dylan Hicks also released an enlightening and entertaining album this fall under the moniker Munson-Hicks Party Supplies.
And there’s still more to come. Munson referred to a third 2020 album in Tuesday’s Facebook post.
He’s referring to a new holiday record by the New Standards, Munson’s merry jazz-pop trio with Suburbs frontman Chan Poling and ace vibraphonist Steve Roehm. They’re “racing toward the finish line” to get it out by mid-December, manager Becky Hoffman said. It’s a substitute of sorts for their popular holiday concerts at the State Theatre, which have of course been canceled this year due to the coronavirus. Full details will be unveiled soon.
Between the album and the other news here, let’s count on next year’s New Standards holiday shows being loaded with extra-glad tidings.