Playing this summer: Funky Butt Brass Band
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 13, 2011 - PROFILE: No, the Funky Butt Brass Band didn't take a wrong turn during a second line parade on Tchopitoulas in the Big Easy and somehow end up 700 miles up river. These six musicians - members of bands such as Gumbohead, Musica Slesa and the Feed - are all area residents who decided to bring a taste of the New Orleans brass band vibe they all loved to St. Louis in 2008.
Since then, Funky Butt Brass Band has performed at numerous festivals and events, as well as venues such as Jazz at the Bistro and the Broadway Oyster Bar. The band released its debut recording, ''Cut the Body Loose'' in 2009 -- and as you'll read in comments by guitarist Tim Halpin, another CD is on the way. Check out the Funky Butt Brass Band's mix of New Orleans brass band funk, Chicago blues, riffs on Motown - as well as original music - this Tuesday, June 14 at a free concert in Fanetti Park.
HOME: We all live in and around St. Louis now, some in the city, some on the south side, and our drummer Ron lives on the VERY south side, down in Jefferson County.
BEGINNING: Drummer Ron Sikes and Guitarist Tim Halpin also play in Gumbohead, and were on their way home from a gig in Chicago, listening to some New Orleans brass band music. One of them (neither can remember which) said, "Nobody's really playing music like this in St. Louis. Someone should put a band together." And it was all downhill from there.
INSTRUMENTS: Six pieces: Matt Brinkmann, sousaphone; Aaron Chandler, trombone, vocals; Tim Halpin, guitar, vocals; Adam Hucke, trumpet, vocals; Ben Reece, sax, vocals; Ron Sikes, drums. And our soundman, Charlie Spaulding, makes sure it all sounds reasonably coherent out front.
HOBBIES: Visiting New Orleans (Jazzfest, French Quarter Fest or anytime), drinking Bud Light Lime, tossing a football before shows, bringing funky brass music to the people.
LAST CONCERT ATTENDED: We recently opened for Big Sam's Funky Nation, one of the funkiest bands ever to come out of New Orleans, at the Broadway Oyster Bar. We try to hit the BOB (also one of our favorite places to play, and eat) whenever there's a good band there. We also caught Sean Jones with his quintet at Jazz at the Bistro. He sat in with us last time we played the Bistro, when he was passing through town with the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. Great trumpet player, and a really nice guy.
LATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: Putting the finishing touches on our second CD, "You Can Trust The Funky Butt Brass Band." It's a mix of some classic New Orleans brass tunes, some ultra-funky originals and a couple of definite surprises. We're very proud of the way it's shaping up -- we think people are going to like it.
WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO: We love the New Orleans brass band tradition, the kind of stuff Dirty Dozen and Rebirth have been doing for years. But we wanted to build on that -- to put our own unique St. Louis spin on it. So far it seems to be working.
QUOTE: "We need the funk -- Gotta have the funk." -- George Clinton & P-Funk
Check out www.funkybuttbrassband.com for more info and the band's complete schedule.
Fanetti Park Concert Series
The Fanetti Park series is now in its second year, and is sponsored by the Carondolet Community Betterment Federation. The organization also presents a Sunday concert series in Carondolet Park that runs through August, as well as Monday concerts in South St. Louis Park in June, and at Bellerive Park in July.
Fanetti Park is at Michigan and Ivory Avenues in south St. Louis -- just north of the Ivory Theater. Take I-55 to the Loughborough exit, go east on Loughborough and south on Michigan to get to the park. Concerts begin at 7 p.m. and go until 9 p.m. Lawn chairs are advised, and you may bring coolers. Food is also available at nearby restaurants such as Riverside Cafe and the Ivory Coast Bistro. Additional concerts in the series feature Farshide Etniko on July 12 and Ship of Fools on Aug. 9.
Terry Perkins is a freelance writer who has long covered the St. Louis music scene.