All that you are about to read is completely true. Names have not been changed to protect anyones identity or self esteem.
To say Tony Bohnenkamp and Jerry Lorenson are star-crossed dueling piano partners would be the understatement of
our generation. Don’t believe me? Well then sit tight reader, warm up your Keurig, and get ready to have your mind
blown as you read—“The Ballad of Pianopalooza.”
At just 4 years of age, a classmate jerked Tony’s swim trunks down to his ankles at the Auralia City Pool in front of
EVERYONE. In an eerily similar event, when Jerry was 4 years old, his mother accidentally HIT HIM WITH THE CAR in a
grocery store parking lot. Determined to overcome early adversity, these lone wolves began to awaken their inner
piano-beast with lessons from kind, elderly piano teachers that wore very strong perfume.
Fast forward to adolescence—at 15, while front row for The Smashing Pumpkins, lead singer Billy Corgan spit on Jerry
during the show. For Jerry, this was transformative. He emerged from the concert anointed and reborn—like one half of
a full Phoenix. Meanwhile—at The Outfield/Starship concert the summer before his freshman year, Tony recalls “the
lights went up, and The Outfield started playing. I felt like I was floating above the crowd, and The Outfield was playing
a private-but-not-in-a-weird-way show just for me.”
These early encounters with rock & roll royalty put Tony and Jerry on a collision course trajectory—destined to crash into
each other like a cosmic Dave Matthews song 20 years in the making. Fate would finally unite them when Jerry moved
to Des Moines and needed a place to stay. A thundering voice in his head told Tony to offer him a spare room— and they
haven’t looked back since.
They have forged an unbreakable friendship built on fundamental elements like MarioKart and cigarettes. Although
each has had success as solo artists and with other bands, Jerry sums it up nicely saying “I just pray each day that Tony
and I die at the exact same time, like the end of The Notebook.”
So do yourself a favor. Hold your loved ones close, and go see Pianopalooza every chance you get.
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