Tyler Grant and Friends Rocked the Moon, Again
For a band that averages a show every three days in a given year, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band manages to maintain a pristine reputation for playing multi-faceted, high-energy funk on a consistent basis. When they aren’t navigating the country on their funk crusade the band connects with major players in the genre to record experimental collaboration projects, and worked out tunes to test on the road. Rolling off a series of sold out shows in their home city of Asheville, and also at New York City’s esteemed venue Bowery Ballroom, Yo Mama’s skips into Telluride tonight for a one off at the Sheridan before heading South to play future dates in Key West and The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Guitarist J.P. Miller took a quick minute to chop it up about what they have been up to lately.
How did the big shows you played at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC with Telluride favorites Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds go?
We did a two week tour with Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds. We had a sold-out show in our hometown of Asheville, N.C., and another sold-out show the following weekend in NYC at The Bowery Ballroom. They were great shows! The pairing was perfect. Real nice cats. We all met in Austin, Tex., while we were on tour with The Pimps of Joytime. Both bands immediately hit it off.
How did you meet artists Adam Strange, and what about his unique art made you tap him to do your current tour posters?
I had been listening to a band by the name of GFE since I moved to North Carolina in 1999. I saw them open for KRS-ONE and RUN DMC. Adam Strange was one of the MC's in that band. When we moved to Asheville, we linked up with the GFE crew and started collaborating. All three of the GFE MC's are on the last track "Hop in My Ride" off our debut album Now You Know. Once we started checking out Strange's art work we fell in love right away. Almost every member of Booty Band has at least one Adam Strange painting on their walls. We made a decision to start glorifying the amazing poster art that is out there. We thought it would be neat to do a series of Adam Strange poster designs, released one at a time, each month for three months.
You recently played with the legendary multi-instrumentalist Nigel Hall also. What was it like playing with him?
It was great! We are all big fans of his band Lettuce. He played very tasteful licks. We also got to jam with Adam Shmeeans of Lettuce the weekend before at Aura Music and Arts Festival in Florida. That was also a lot of fun!
You did a remix album, which is not exactly common in funk music. Where did that idea come from, and what was the creative process like in terms of selecting what to change and add?
We were really into the idea of doing a remix album, because we were all very curious about hearing our songs cut up, sampled, and morphed into completely different creations. We contacted a bunch of DJ's, emcees, and local musicians to put the word out that we were looking to get some remixes done. The response was awesome and we got a great product to add to our discography. I'm sure there will be more remixes to come, in the future. We have since received requests to get the "stems," basic separate, stripped down recordings of each instrument, of our studio work to make more remixes.
Tell us about the The Big Ol Nasty Getdown and how it came to be a project.
The Big Ol Nasty Getdown aka BONG was conceived when my business partner John Heintz and myself put together the idea of getting a bunch of musicians together from all over the place, many of whom did not know each other, putting them in a room and saying, “Let's make an album.” We got George Clinton and a bunch of the Parliament Funkadelic involved. We also had members of Galactic, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band, The Derek Trucks Band, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, Blackalicious and many others. We just got done doing the East Coast Vol. 2 session last week. which had Norwood Fisher from Fishbone, Greg Thomas from P-Funk, Ryan Martinie from Mudvayne, to name a few. The West Coast Vol. 2 sessions are tentatively scheduled for Fall in California.
Do you write and record on the road, and do you have anything new coming that we should know about?
We write a lot when we are at home, which isn't very often. We pump out new songs and quickly take them to the stage to lock them in. We often set up early at the clubs and try to rehearse while we are on the road. We want to keep things fresh and keep a good flow of new material. We also do studio editing on the road. Our drummer Lee Allen will have tracks off the new album with him on the road for this next six-week run. We are hoping to have the album ready to mix by the time we get home, so a lot of work will be getting done while we are on tour. We all stay pretty busy, but I hope to hit the slopes at least once on this tour. We have Friday off in Telluride, and I am hoping to grab a snowboard and do some riding.
Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band, Thur., Mar. 7, Sheridan Opera House, Telluride, 8 p.m., $17, sheridanoperahouse.com
Grant Farm at the Moon
The first time Grant Farm visited the Western Slope, they left a substantial impression that needed to be retested with a followup performance in Telluride. Was it a flukish night where all cylinders were firing, given the rebounding crowd energy, or were these guys the real deal? Half a year and few dozen shows later the band once again took the stage at Fly Me to the Moon Saloon, with a tribute to Tony Rice setting the mood. Laying back into standard takes on original tunes like “Engineer” off their self-titled album, and also pushing The Band’s “Cripple Creek” to new heights, were both highlights of the first set. A quick set break saw the tight venue get packed out just in time for a spectacular second set to kick off with an ode to Bob Marley, whose life was being celebrated at the annual Marley Fest in Miami at the same time.
A few bluegrass numbers later, frontman Tyler Grant began strumming the familiar intro to The Grateful Dead’s “Franklin’s Tower” on his guitar. Over 30 minutes later the guys pulled out of a jam that included smooth and peaking segues into “Slipknot” and Frank Zappa’s “San Ber’dino” before melting back into the unfinished “Franklin’s Tower.” The room lacked any wallflowers and toe tappers. Only energetically gyrating figures lost in a trance of the jam rock exploration could be seen in the underground venue. It’s rare that a band can make these particular songs their own, but the influence of a myriad of great artists on this band lends itself to their comfortably distinct sound. Sticking to that game plan was reinforced after a fast paced, rousing finish with Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm” took the show way past last call and certified Grant Farm as a new Telluride favorite.