Roughneck Grace Band Photo 2013
the band

It's like this: Rainbow sherbet with floral notes of glitter and hops... Walking through the woods at night, knowing that a wealth of beauty is in the past, while the best lies in wait, silver light along the edge. Stupid and perfect and gorgeous and broken... tender and rumpled and true. All the things you never said but we knew anyway... A simultaneous sideways glance, a tiny effortless gesture, an openness when risk seems overwhelming and momentum is irresistible. Time and hope and family and love. And a strong measure of grace... Music pulls us along in its wake, which is 'xactly where we want to be.

We would like to thank Wisconsin author Michael Perry for his conceptualization of "roughneck grace," and for his gracious response when we contacted him about adopting these words as our band name. In an interview with the Wisconsin State Journal published on 8/6/12, he said,

"The idea of roughneck grace speaks to the idea of having to accept some imperfections in others if we're also going to benefit from their goodness. If you want a person who always says the right thing or is all happy and shiny, then I guess you're going to have to look a good long while. Man, I don't have the answers and I don't ever claim to, but it's disheartening when you'll hear someone say one thing and because of that everyone assumes they think a certain way on everything. In another book, maybe in "Coop," I wrote about my brother who lost a young child. My brother's a logger and a farmer. At the funeral, I remember watching the line of men who were not dressed so fashionably, may have had outdated hairstyles, big belt buckles, maybe had bumper stickers on their trucks that said things that I didn't agree with - they came with open hearts. They were there to help my brother. You could see them grieving. That's what I'm trying to get at. I try to look for that because I hope folks will give me the same sort of slack. Ultimately, the only hope a knucklehead like me has is to be judged on the balance of my actions."

Learn more about Michael Perry, his books and his band at
Susan Mathies Photo

Susan Mathies - vocals, mandolin, songwriter

Growing up in a musical family, Susan remembers many singalongs around the piano, harmonizing with eight tracks of "Oklahoma" and "Starland Vocal Band", and listening for hours to albums by Blood Sweat & Tears, Peter Paul & Mary, James Taylor, Carole King, and Simon & Garfunkel with her face pressed up tightly against the scratchy woven speaker on the old console record player. She started singing and writing songs as a child, and performed in weddings and college dorm hallways as a teen and young adult. She can't remember a day of her life that didn't include singing and experimenting with words and rhythm. In the late 90s, she joined her first band, Macon Dew, followed by calicoDrifters and The Morsels. Roughneck Grace provides an opportunity to meld her rootsy past with her love of rock music... pretty heady stuff. She dreams of taking the show on the road for a couple months per year, balanced by plenty of fresh air, dog walks, and immersion in nature, sweetness, and all that is good and beautiful. Favorite artists include Gillian Welch, The Steel Wheels, Vincent Van Gogh, The Black Keys, Iron & Wine, Erykah Badu, Gustav Klimt, The Civil Wars, ZZ Ward, Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac, Lord Byron, Regina Spektor, Jeffrey Foucault, Marc Broussard, Andrew Ripp, and Neko Case.

Jeff Funk Photo

Jeff Funk - bass, vocals

Jeff Funk first picked up the bass when he realized he was the worst guitar player in his middle school band "Lazor" which was a freakin' metal band in Jefferson, WI, with rock drummer god Scott Schroedel. ( Jeff was also the president of the AV Club in high school, and as a result, rarely attended classes. He played Frank Frickin Butler in Annie Get Your Gun, and is currently working as an extra and executive producer in independent films. He is a professor of Thinkology, and a pub owner ( Unicorns!


Eric R. Dummer Photo

Eric R. Dummer - drums, percussion, vocals

Eric developed a love for the drums as a small child, often listening to the teenage neighbor kid play his drums along to 70's hard rock records. He first picked up the sticks in sixth grade, and continued on through high school (band, lessons, and endless hours woodshedding in the basement), developing an appreciation for a multitude of drummers and styles. Rock, however, was what spoke to his heart, hands, and feet. Early influences included Keith Moon, Charlie Watts, Stewart Copeland, and John Bonham. A move to Madison in the mid-eighties submerged Eric in the magic elixir of alternative rock - The Replacements, Talking Heads, REM, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Hüsker Dü, The Cult, The Smithereens, Soul Asylum, etc. - that forever changed his musical tastes. He began performing with such forgettable Madison bands as Nice Hair, the Bobo Dolls, and The Big Body of Venus Lacy. Upon graduation from the University of Wisconsin, Eric hooked up with soon-to-be Madison legends Marques Bovre and the Evil Twins (1990), with whom he would occupy the drum chair until 2003. He also split time playing drums and recording with Doll for two different stints during the late 90's, and early 00's. In 2005, Eric joined old acquaintances (including Roughneck Grace bassist Jeff Funk) in garage band Tin Foil Helmet. Then came the 'why not' moment in late 2011 - why not try forming a new roots rock band of very talented friends who also happen to be fabulous human beings? Why not, indeed. Voila. Roughneck Grace.

Jeremy Van Mill Photo

Jeremy Van Mill - guitar, vocals

Jeremy grew up in New Hartford, Iowa, and began playing guitar when he was 14. He started out on bass to accompany his older brother on guitar, but he couldn't resist picking up the guitar himself. He spent hours experimenting with his sound, and listening to Jimi Hendrix, Radiohead, and Weezer. In high school, he took a few lessons with Jeff Burak, then he started sitting in with a band called Urban Legend in Waverly, Iowa, and developed some foundational skills. He was also in The Cosmonauts with a few high school friends, which lasted for a couple years. In 2011, he relocated to Lake Mills, WI and began playing with Anna Wang And The Oh Boys in Madison, which is how he and Jeff Funk met each other. He is also the lead guitarist in Catch Kid in Madison. Current influences include The Kills, The Devil Makes Three, Band Of Skulls, The White Stripes, Radiohead, My Morning Jacket, The Strokes, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Old Crow Medicine Show, Mississippi John Hurt, Reggie Watts, and every Christmas song ever recorded.



Upcoming Shows




check back soon for show news!



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past shows


Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Sills   |   Roughneck Grace   |   Still Tide

Funk's Pub
Fitchburg, WI


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Monday, August 25, 2014


The Sills

Roughneck Grace


High Noon Saloon

Madison, WI

This event is 21 and over / $5 cover


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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Opening for
Kyle Henderson

Funk's Pub
Fitchburg, WI


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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Roughneck Grace CD Release Party
with The Crane Wives

Funk's Pub
Fitchburg, WI





(recent posts from our facebook page)

Roughneck Grace: Inside the Fall

Our debut CD, released in 2013.


Track listing:
RivuletsDon't Love MeHold Fast • Man Down
Deeper Grave • Listen • Don't Close Your Eyes • Away

Bold titles can be heard in this sample audio... enjoy!



© 2013 Susan Mathies
Arc of lightning falling to the ground
Open eyes and almost touch the sound
Of your sweet voice as you tumble
Through the storm clouds, through the trees
Little further on and I believe
Clearing up ahead, you wait for me
Carry kindness on the inside
Feel the thunder pull us in
Let the rain wash down in rivulets
Watch it rush right round your beautiful neck    
Feel the indigo steal into your soul
Let it happen
All the water soaking in
Twilight velvet on your skin
Rain infused within the moment
Within tomorrow and all our days 

Don't Love Me

© 2013 Susan Mathies
Don't love me, you don't love me like you used to
You just turn away and act like we've never met
Don't care to, you don't care to recognize me
Too late I understand the way I thought things were

Oh lately I've been hanging around your pocket
Wondering why I stay around
Don't love me, you shouldn't love me like you used to
Let's both turn away and act like we've never met
Don't care to, I no longer care to recognize you

Now that I understand the way you thought things were

Hold Fast

© 2013 Susan Mathies
You break out the angels
You break out the skies
You break out the vision
Stretching out forever in your eyes
Ride into the crescent
Ride into black space
Ride until the dawning
Rippling circle sun across your face 

Hold up now, hold on now
Hold fast
Hold up now, hold on now
Oh you gotta hold fast
Wait beneath the cedars
Wait beneath your kiss
Wait until it matters
When sunlit words fall cleanly from your lips

Man Down

© 2013 Susan Mathies
Fall like black water, too terrified to quit
Fall like black water, you can't stop and you won't give in
No you'll never give in   (terrified to quit)
Fall like black water, you're too terrified to quit
Bangin' through the backwoods, got a devil inside
Bangin through the backwoods, you got low down trouble in mind
Too much trouble in mind   (terrified to quit)
Bangin' through the backwoods, newborn devil inside
You got a man down, time to cut loose
You got a man down, joy crush away them weary blues
Wash away them weary blues  
Got yourself a man down, cut him loose and mess around 
Man down, man down
Man down, ohhhhhh
Ooooooo    (terrified to quit)
Got yourself a man down, cut him loose and mess around

Deeper Grave

© 2013 Susan Mathies
Take back all the poems that you wrote me
Take back all the flowers that I saved
Take back all the random little memories
Dig a deeper grave, dig a deeper grave   
Trample down the flat out desperation
Trample down the easing of the day
Trample down belief in your assumptions
Dig a deeper grave, dig a deeper grave
Lord if I would fall
Lord if I would fall
Lord if I would fall
Just try to say you never saw it coming
Just try to say you never saw it straight
Just try to say you never saw me leaving
Dig a deeper grave, dig a deeper grave 
Roll the stone and
Break my bones and
Dare to pretend that it never ever happened


© 2013 Susan Mathies

Seem fine on the outside, inside I'm down
Seem fine on the outside, inside I'm down
You're telling me lies, lies
Wondering why, why
Why I listen
You say you'll remember but you never come through
You say you'll remember but you never can do
You're telling me lies, lies
Wondering why, why
Why I listen
Setback to go back, ohh              
The head says yes but the heart says no-oh-oh
Oh no no no...
All lies, lies
Wondering why, why
Why I listen

Don't Close Your Eyes

© 2013 Susan Mathies

There is frost in the air and rocks on the trail
It won't matter much when it's all gone to hell
There's nothing else wrong if you don't want to see it
There are mountains aflame and trees crashing down
The demons are loose and love is underground
There are hard times and pain and everyone sees it
But you keep your eyes down, don't look ahead
If you don't want to know, you're better off dead
Don't turn around, you just might see the trainwreck
Time's burning out, the smoke's closing in
When one battle ends, another begins
It's all over now unless we stand up shouting
Don't close your eyes
There is dust on the sun and the rivers run dry
A black hole sneaks in and swallows the sky
And the gluttons grow strong but nobody sees them
The rhetoric is strong and the media dines
On the lives of the wretched, sinners and swine
A revolution is on but who's gonna see it 


© 2013 Susan Mathies 

Run down fading light and kiss its brow
Bring the world to its knees
You were all you had to give
You were all I'd need
And it's all peculiar
It's all particularly strange
When will you tell me
What you came to say
And it's all familiar
It's all unerringly the same
Oh when are you going away
Will you go away
Lose your hatchet on the battleground
Leave the dead where they lie
Wrecking ball will show you how
To crush a heart like mine

Electronic Press Kit



High Resolution Images

For use in press or online, please credit photographer as listed. Click to enlarge.

Roughneck Grace Official Photo Roughneck Grace Official Photo

Roughneck Grace, 2013
(l-r) Jeremy Van Mill, Jeff Funk,
Eric R. Dummer, Susan Mathies
photo by Jenny Funk

Roughneck Grace, 2013
(l-r) Jeremy Van Mill, Eric R. Dummer,
Susan Mathies, Jeff Funk
photo by Dan Schilling

Roughneck Grace Official Photo Roughneck Grace Official Photo

Roughneck Grace, 2013
(l-r) Susan Mathies, Jeff Funk,
Eric R. Dummer, Jeremy Van Mill
photo by Jenny Funk

Roughneck Grace, 2013
(l-r) Jeremy Van Mill, Susan Mathies,
Eric R. Dummer, Jeff Funk
photo by Jenny Funk



Logo for Web or Print

(Right click or CTRL+click to download files)


White on Transparent Background   Black on Transparent Background
roughneck grace logo - black png   roughneck grace logo - black png
PDF vector graphic   PDF vector graphic
Transparent png   Transparent png


Band Line Up

Susan Mathies — Vocals, Mandolin

Eric R. Dummer — Drums, Percussion,Vocals

Jeff Funk — Bass,Vocals

Jeremy Van Mill — Guitar



Band Bio

Roughneck Grace is a four-piece roots rock band from the Madison, Wisconsin area, consisting of Susan Mathies (vocals, mandolin), Eric R. Dummer (drums, percussion, vocals), Jeff Funk (bass, vocals), and Jeremy Van Mill (guitar). All four members have been active in the Madison music scene for years, with ties to bands as varied as Calico Drifters, Marques Bovre and the Evil Twins, Anna Wang and the Oh Boys!, Doll, Tin Foil Helmet, Snowball's Chance, and Catch Kid.

In January of 2012, Roughneck Grace got together for the first time. Longtime friends Susan and Eric immediately sought out Jeff, with hopes of simply having fun writing, arranging, performing, and recording some cool original music. It became apparent very quickly that the 'fun' part of the equation would not be a problem. Susan brought several of her songs to share with the boys, and over the next several months the band began crafting them into their general form.


Later in 2012, the band decided to add a guitar to the concoction and auditioned Jeremy to see if there might be some chemistry. With Jeremy on board, the overall sound and song structures began to expand and evolve rapidly. A few covers were added to the set, a few low-profile gigs were played, and the band decided it was time to do a little recording.

2013 brought the band to Paradyme Studios in Madison. Producer Jake Johnson was the band's first and only choice, as Eric, Jeff, and Jeremy had numerous positive recording experiences with him in the past. Over the next few months, they recorded eight original songs for their debut project. The result is a snapshot of a band in the studio together for the first time, hitting their groove hard and enjoying every last second of it. 'Roughneck Grace: Inside the Fall' was released in late 2013. The band is planning on performing live on a regular basis in the very near future.



Sample Tracks

Click play to listen to sample tracks from
Inside the Fall, 2013

Available at CD Baby



Contact Information

Please for booking, c/o Susan Mathies

Visit the Roughneck Grace facebook page.



Set Up & Equipment

Roughneck Grace Setup 2014.pdf


Photo Gallery


Looking for press images? See our EPK.

Roughneck Grace

Roughneck Grace, 2014
(l-r) Jeremy Van Mill, Susan Mathies,
Eric R. Dummer, Jeff Funk








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