Jen makes her new home in the valley of the sun. New to Arizona, she was a welcomed singer into the “The Hot Birds and the Chili Sauce” ten piece ensemble with the best of the R&B funk players on the PHX scene.
Now in 2012 the 16 year veteran of the jamband music scene and a 2003 American Music award winner will start the final editing for the new film project.
Jen is moving forward with Lotus Soundworks first music documentary. Vocal lessons on skype, E book autobiography of her music career and sneak peak video of the Festival documentary filmed by Jen’s production company Lotus SoundWorks.
Stay tuned for dates, all star jams and DBB reunion shows!
Keep the Funk alive!
Jen Durkin - Lead Vocals
Deep Banana Blackout
Live In The Thousand Islands
The Bomb Squad
Bomb Squad ll
Rip It Up July 4th 2004 Rocks Off NYC The Bomb Squad
Rhythm Devils Concert Experience October 2006 Tour
REGGAE MEETS FUNK
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Sunday, May 9, 2010 Reggae Meets Funk Reggae Meets Funk By Mike Lauterborn © 2010. All Rights ...Sunday, May 9, 2010
Reggae Meets Funk
Reggae Meets Funk
By Mike Lauterborn
© 2010. All Rights Reserved.
Stamford, CT -- One part reggae. One part funk. Mix together in a phat joint. Add a generous dash of music lovers. Stir vigorously. Serves many.
These were the ingredients of a hot steaming stew called “Reggae Meets Funk”, a groove-inducing musical buffet spooned out last month at the Route 22 Restaurant and Bar in Stamford, CT by Messrs. Mystic Bowie and Jen Durkin.
Bowie, a veteran professional born Fitzroy Alexander Campbell in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, ladled the reggae. Durkin, with a 15-year career as a lead vocalist in groups like The Bomb Squad and Deep Banana Blackout, brought the funk. It was a badass combo and the two alternated their beats and unique styles, more than satisfying the hunger of the enthusiastic crowd that had come to see them.
“Mystic is always open to influences… pop, rock, funk,” Bowie’s new manager Maxine Stowe noted when asked how this sumptuous meal of music had been inspired. “And Jen has a huge base in CT. With the region’s rich music scene, this was the perfect setting for this mix.” Route 22’s music booker, Jason Jones, was also instrumental in bringing the act here. He contacted Bowie and Bowie brought in Durkin, with whom he had tag-teamed in the past.
Bowie and Durkin, standing center stage amongst their six-piece band, certainly seemed to complement each other. Bowie bopped and bounced in his tight yellow tee, braids and camo pants cinched at the waist while Jen effected a Janis Joplin-esque cool vibe in black shades, flowing cotton top and white pants, but also held a Jamaican-inspired percussion instrument. “This place is amazing. We can get some serious acrobatics going!” Durkin gushed.
The space was indeed made to accommodate their music – a little funky, a lot laid back. An industrial ceiling of sheet metal to reflect their beats. Air ducts like dutchie pipes. Brick walls with old gas station signs, license plates and even a working traffic light. Staff in black Route 22 t-shirts. Even a disco ball center ceiling shooting out little pinpoints all over the room.
Billed as “America’s Favorite Pit Stop”, Route 22 boasts two locations: the Stamford locale and Armonk, NY. The latter is the original location and began life as a gas station built back in the late 20s. Founder Lance Root, a restaurant/club veteran who ran Hard Rock Cafes and opened the Harley Davidson Café among other credits, developed the vision playing off the gas station theme and his surname. He credits his booker Jones with helping bring the concept to life with hot acts like Bowie and Durkin.
“We’re mixing it up, doing some old, some new,” Bowie informed the full house about the duo’s song set, as he and Durkin alternated between jams like “Nevah Kiss & Tell” and “Rasta Man Call” from Bowie’s latest CD “Nevah Kiss and Tell” (dedicated to his “mama” Beryl Smith Jones), rifts like “Take Me Back” and “Higher”, and classics such as “I Can See Clearly Now” and “The Tide is High”.
The crowd – black, white, male, female, baseball caps, beanies, even a cowboy hat in the pack – ate it all up, weaving, bending and swaying, bathed in gel lights. When Bowie started chanting, “Music is my drug of choice!”, a line from his new song “Drug of Choice”, the gathering exploded, singing along with him and fist pumping in the air. Bowie was their reggae god and they were his disciples, if only for the evening.
“Lord have mercy!” Durkin had to call out, marveling at the frenzy the duo had created, a frothy brew and “the best of both worlds” as she aptly put it describing the reggae/funk collaboration.
The most diminutive member of the congregation was a Bowie relation. “My biggest fan is here, my nephew Little Benny, “ the singer announced, bringing the lad up on stage and handing him a cowbell and drumstick to knock out an accompanying beat. The room devoured this and when he’d completed his gig, Benny received uproarious applause and Bowie’s praise, “More cowbell! You’re hired!”
Benny was not the only family member of Bowie’s in the house. Thirteen-year-old son Jason, from Bowie’s first marriage, was seated with Stowe at a dedicated booth adjacent to the dance floor. Jason mentioned a brother and sister, who live in Florida. Second wife Shannon was also on hand, busily conducting sales of Bowie’s CD, organizing literature and speaking with press.
Stowe, who actually co-manages Bowie along with Jay Stollman, hopes to take Bowie’s career “vertical”. A niece of Clement Dodd who founded Studio One (Jamaica Recording), one of Jamaica’s leading record labels, Stowe spoke of Bowie’s philanthropic efforts. These centered around the Mystic Bowie Cultural Center, a 5-acre facility established in Jamaica to offer free music, sports and drama lessons – educational resources in effect to help underprivileged youth. Bowie is constantly raising funds and shipping school supplies, clothing and musical instruments to the island-based facility Stowe informed.
As the group’s percussionist launched into a solo, saying, “I wait all day to break it down, to do this!”, the crowd went wild, pure joy broadcast on their faces, all funked up and feelin’ irie. The intensity built as heads were engaged and bobbed, arms waved and “the wall of sound” (the band’s guitarists) kicked in.
“Are you feeling good? Are you feeling good?” Bowie taunted. Then, “Are you ready to shake?” as he began crooning Calypso-style “Everybody Shake”.
It was a sweet helping of dessert rounding out this feast of funk and reggae roast. Appetites were sated, palates stimulated and revelers infused with tasty beats. A five-star rating had been well-earned.
Jen Durkin Equinox
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Jen Durkin is the quintessential singer and performer… captivating a packed room at the Paradise Roc...Jen Durkin is the quintessential singer and performer… captivating a packed room at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston with the release of her new cd entitled “Equinox” which she co wrote with keyboardist Matthew Detroy. Boston Girl Guide had the pleasure of covering this show. When you see Jen Durkin step onto the stage you become spellbound… as she approaches the microphone you can anticipate that something musically great is about to happen.
She hits her first notes and the ride begins… all power … she blasts the audience off with her knockout singing and stage performance. Durkin takes it home with the funk; she lays it down like a holy roller… she leaves you crawlin like a senseless fool intoxicated by her muse. She does no wrong on the stage except give the devil his due.
“Equinox” has Jen Durkin emerging from her chrysalis into new territory mixing it up with her classic funk sound and taking it one step further, blending in sophisticated tones of jazz and soul… Jen is no ordinary butterfly … when she sings you feel ‘found’ as in every ‘amazing grace’ her music delivers and leaves you feeling much higher on your descent than when you first arrived. “Equinox” is not only a must listen… it’s a must have…. Members of ‘Deep Banana Blackout’ contribute their musical genius on this new release as well.
New Unions and Reunions: Equinox and Deep Banana Blackout @ The Paradise 3/22/09
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The juxtaposition was obvious: one band playing their first show ever, the other band a gang of vete...The juxtaposition was obvious: one band playing their first show ever, the other band a gang of veterans playing their fourth rare reunion show in a row. The commonality was equally evident: one band fronted by the inimitable vocalist Jen Durkin, the other band fronted by the inimitable vocalist Jen Durkin. Equinox and Deep Banana Blackout provided a unique and appealing look at how one singer can carry two different bands in one night.
Equinox is Durkin’s newest project, featuring a pared-down band compared to DBB and a more melodious approach to her style. The instrumentation relative to DBB provided immediate insight into the sonic differences: upright bass instead of electric, one horn instead of a section, jazz kit instead of rock kit. I wouldn’t go so far as to call Equinox mellow, though. The upbeat rhythms and positive melodies brought more bounce energy rather than lounge energy to the room, and even gave Durkin a few opportunities to work her hips. The lyrics to the songs were insightful and reflective, certainly more the stuff of someone who has led a full life of adventure and has two children as opposed to DBB’s in-your-face-with-the-funk lyrics. Durkin spoke of her children at a couple of points when explaining songs’ origins.
If you really want a cliche musical genre bundle to describe their sound, let’s go with “hippie balladeers sniffing neo-soul with a side order of indie rock.” I would love to see Equinox on a gorgeous day at a festival around sunset. That’s the part of your festival day where you’re relaxed and taking in some good bands, conserving energy before you rage all night. Equinox fits the role perfectly, and that is a total compliment.
Next up was Deep Banana Blackout, and I have to admit, DBB was a fantastic nostalgia show for me. My crew used to rock with them all the time in the late 90s, but I probably hadn’t seen or listened to them since 2001. I half expected to see Andy Stahl running around with Gamelan Productions flyers promoting Berkfest featuring Jiggle the Handle and Percy Hill. (Mad props if you’re down with any aspect of the previous sentence.) I think every band that ever broke up should try to play a few shows a year just for kicks, assuming none of the members have died.
But let’s give credit where it is due. Deep Banana Blackout still brings the funk hard and will put the boot down on anyone who thinks otherwise. This is not the Blues Brothers getting the band back together just to pay some bills. Jen can still belt, guitarist Fuzz can still thrash, and everyone else answers the bell when called upon to show off for a moment or two. The opening song, “Getchy’all In the Mood,” left no question as to when the party was starting. I also immensely enjoyed a large and in charge rendition of “Take the Time” as well as an instrumental cover of Dizzy Gillespie’s classic “Caravan.” Throw in a dancing banana in the front row and you’ve got yourself a 100% legit DBB show, doesn’t matter what year it is.
Overall, Durkin’s voice is worth the price of admission regardless of who is backing her up. She really is one of the few musicians I would trust to open for themselves and deliver two great products in one night. A fluid and funk-filled night of Durkin workin’ will always present the possibility that maybe we’ll groove all night.
Rhythm Devils (Grateful Dead side project) has released DVD
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Certainly one of the more intriguing Grateful Dead offshoot projects is the Rhythm Devils. Led by lo...Certainly one of the more intriguing Grateful Dead offshoot projects is the Rhythm Devils. Led by long-time Dead drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, the duo enlisted Phish bassist Mike Gordon into their ranks in 2006 (rounding out the line-up are also guitarist Steve Kimock, percussionist Sikiru Adepoju and former Deep Banana Blackout vocalist Jen Durkin), and recently issued their first-ever DVD, 'Concert Experience.'
Directed by Jeff Glixman and Jim Gentile, 'Concert Experience' is a two-DVD set (and 24 page hardcover book) - disc one features concert footage from Chicago, Illinois, and Sayerville, New Jersey recorded in October 2006, featuring all original compositions with lyrics by Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter.
Each song is represented visually with graphics, images, and effects that complement the music - a collection of 'video vignettes,' if you will. Disc two features behind the scenes interviews, soundcheck footage, and excerpts from various live concerts.
Starting in the mid-to-late 1970s, and continuing until the Grateful Dead's last concert in 1995, most Grateful Dead concerts featured an extended segment during the second set of improvisational drumming and percussion by Hart and Kreutzmann who took over the stage as a duo (with occasional guests). This segment was variously known to fans as "Rhythm Devils," "Drums," or conversationally as "The Drums." It was usually followed in post-1979 concerts by another extended improvisation by the rest of the band, usually without the drummers, which was known as "Space."
The "Rhythm Devils" segment of a Grateful Dead concert almost always segued out of a full-band song, and the "Space" segment almost invariably would segue into the beginnings of another full-band song as the drummers resumed their thrones with the rest of the band.
This first run of 'Concert Experience' DVDs comes with a free download card for one credit, and the audio is available on fizzkicks.com/rhythmdevils. Via this link you can stream full audio, and download the track you want. The rest of the album is available for download, as well.
Describing the concert experience as a "72 minute magic carpet ride through time and space," Glixman mixed the performance in 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound at the StarCity Recording Studios in Bethlehem, PA. Now fans will be able to soak up the full 'Concert Experience' of the Rhythm Devils, in the comfort of their own homes.
"It is an experience," says Hart about 'Concert Experience.' "Hopefully it will take you to some kind of a place that will create some kind of good, and you will do some good things with the energy that you would get from being part of that experience. When I look at it, I smile; it makes me feel good and it is uplifting. That is what I would hope you take from it."
"Comes the Dawn"*
"Fountains of Wood"*
"See You Again"*
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT:
Jen Durkin to Join the Rhythm Devils
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The Rhythm Devils have just confirmed that Jen Durkin will join the group on their upcoming trek in ...The Rhythm Devils have just confirmed that Jen Durkin will join the group on their upcoming trek in October. Jen aka Pipes will lead the group through new originals such as 'Fountains of Wood' and 'The Center' as well as the Grateful Dead songbook. The Rhythm Devils which consist of Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Mike Gordon, and Steve Kimock have also launched a new website - rhythmdevils.net - where fans can find mp3's of the new songs and a version of "The Other One" from the August run with Mike Gordon on vocals.
Their fall run kicks off in Harrisburg on October 17.
See rhythmdevils.net for more details and tour info
Keep On Moving
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By Brita Belli February 23, 2006 "There are not many female singers who come with equal parts c...By Brita Belli February 23, 2006
"There are not many female singers who come with equal parts charisma, style and chill-inducing vocals"
American Music Award Winner
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BOMB SQUAD: Unsigned Band Brings Their Party To The World By Steve Ciabattoni With their self-...BOMB SQUAD: Unsigned Band Brings Their Party To The World
By Steve Ciabattoni
With their self-styled "Sophistafunk," The Bomb Squad ignites crowds on their way to claiming the third annual "The American Music Awards(R) Presents The Coca-Cola New Music Award."
Talk about your big moments. As if it weren't enough that The Bomb Squad performed live in front of the biggest names in the business (not to mention millions of television viewers worldwide) on the 31st Annual American Music Awards on Nov. 16th, but the funky New York band got an extra thrill based on how the acts were scheduled to perform that night. In effect, Metallica became their opening act. Even AMA host Jimmy Kimmel joked that it'd be a tall order for an unsigned band to follow one of the biggest acts on the planet, but nothing seemed to faze The Bomb Squad as they pumped out their soulful song "Ready To Ride." Put The Bomb Squad in front of any crowd, big or small, and they'll find a way to please it.
Droppin' Bombs of Joy: The Bomb Squad Reflects on Its Rise to Prominence
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by Bill Clifford So you say you want to be a rock and roll star? This may be a tired cliché to ...
by Bill Clifford
So you say you want to be a rock and roll star? This may be a tired cliché to be sure, but it's a fitting introduction for an American Music Award-winning funk band. The nine-piece ensemble called The Bomb Squad came together on stage at New York's Irving Plaza in 2001. Guitarist Ian McHugh (AKA Q of the band EMCQ) asked singer Jen Durkin, who had previously held down vocal duties for fellow funk powerhouse Deep Banana Blackout, to fill in for Javier Colon, who was on the road singing with the Derek Trucks band at the time. The rest, as they say, is history.
Along with seven other full-time members, McHugh and Durkin lead one of the most original, soulful, and deeply funky bands to have come out of the Northeast's improvisational music community. In 2003, after releasing just one CD, The Bomb Squad was chosen by a combination of online voters and industry veterans to receive the third annual Coca-Cola New Music Award. Musictoday journalist Bill Clifford caught up with Ian and Jen before a sold-out homecoming gig in New Haven, Connecticut.
Musictoday: It seems odd that a band so deeply rooted in such a non-traditional genre would even be interested in an award such as the AMA. Which member of your band submitted your music in the first place?
Jen Durkin: We didn't. Our fan and friend Lencia Payne had been working for CMJ as a volunteer for several years, and she sent in a two-song demo and the press kit that we had. She was a gigantic impetus for us to go and get involved with the contest.
Ian McHugh: We didn't officially make the top three when we went out to LA. We didn't come in the top three. We flew home the next day defeated, thinking, "Well, okay, at least we went out there, we had a good time, met some people." And we had a call about two weeks later saying that there was a little complication with the way the contest went down, and that we were actually in the top three.
Mt: What "complication" filtered you into the top three of the award after initially not making the cut?
IM: We were actually never told what happened. About two weeks after losing in the final ten in LA, we got a call from Dick Clark's office saying that one of the other acts had been forced to withdraw from the contest. They wouldn't say why, they only told us that we were going to be able to compete in the final three in New York City a couple weeks later. It began to feel like we were destined to win it all, because it was like we were playing the championship game with home field advantage.
Mt: Once you were chosen as the winner, what was the prize you took home? Did you get instruments, studio time, money? And what have you done with the prize?
IM: They flew us out [to LA], put us up in a hotel across from the Whiskey A-Go-Go, and led us down the red carpet. Besides that, we won a whole hell of a lot of Bomb Squad exposure. They said like 40 million people tuned in to the AMA's in the U.S. Our performance aired internationally, as well. And we knew that because, in the weeks following, we were selling hundreds of CDs each day from online sells. The orders were coming in from across the board — Australia, France, Germany, Korea, England, Denmark, and all over the United States. So many people asked us in the days following the awards: "did you get signed yet?" or "did anything happen yet?" It's like, you're missing the point here. Of course something happened: we performed in front of millions of people in one sitting. Not to mention the fact that we interviewed on almost every major market radio station that was broadcasting live out of the Shrine Auditorium for the AMA's. Before then, we didn't have a manager; we were totally self-made. In the months following, we spoke with almost every label, management company, and crooked attorney the music industry has to offer, and we were offered some deals, but we chose to stay independent until the right deal came along. Sometimes, the industry tries to push you into being something that you're not. What we do, and how we do it, is everything to who we are. We aren't going to change our whole vibe just for a few bucks or some record deal that would probably never pan out. We were patient and waited for the right situations to present themselves. Now, we have a manager that worked closely with Paul McCartney, a lawyer that also represents Megadeth and Billy Joel, and a producer that has worked with everyone from Madonna to the Rolling Stones and Britney Spears, but we only choose to work with these people because they liked where we were coming from. Instead of trying to mold us in to some pop-punk-emo-rock flavor-of-the-day whatever band, they were more interested in taking what we were and diving deeper into those roots. In summary, I think worldwide exposure to new fans and the opportunity to build an increasingly strong management family is what we got out of the New Music Award.
JD: Especially the radio. The day in between our tech rehearsal and the actual shooting, we spent the entire day getting interviewed by radio stations all over the county — probably about twenty-five — both rock and hip hop stations. We met really, really great DJs and got to play our music live on the air and talk about it with people from New Orleans, Chicago…and all in the same room! And that experience was…that was thousands and thousands of dollars worth of radio promotions right there that we got to do in one afternoon, so that was a big plus.
Mt: You've talked about yourself as an independent band. Can an independent band survive in today's marketplace without a major label and corporate distribution?
JD: You know, when you figure that we've gone to the trouble to completely produce the record on our own dime, we deserve to make half. If somebody's going to make it available and promote it, okay, you deserve the other half of the pie, because those two things can't really work without each other. And I think publishing is a thing that they've got to get on top of, as far as keeping track of the digital plays and what's getting downloaded and stuff like that. That, I think, will become a new source of revenue, if it's handled properly. I think there has never been an easier or better time for independent artists to promote themselves and to use the Internet and the digital downloads for exposure that they could never get before this. Some people see it as the end of an era, but the old way of doing things — spending a million dollars on a record — it just doesn't make sense anymore when you can do it so much easier and cheaper, so people can start making money on the back end right away.
On November 24, 2004, the band released its second CD, Bomb Squad II. While this new recording retains the band's elemental funk roots, it expands into individual band members' influences. Cuts such as "Rip It Up" and "Starbanger," both co-written by Durkin, come across with a heavier, rocking sound, while "El Stinko" and "Do Whatcha Gotta" delve into Latin funk. Even though "Maybe" and "NYC Song" take on quite a pop flare, tracks like "Big Hot Money Spot" and "Rise" leave no doubt that The Bomb Squad is a funk band at heart. Furthermore, II has the polished edge of a band maturing in the studio together, the result of working with a professional producer such as Jimmy Bralower.
Mt: What role did Jimmy play in the recording of Bomb Squad II for each of you individually, as well as for the band as a whole?
IM: A great music producer is kind of like a musician's counselor in the studio. His attitude and enthusiasm should create a spark in the room. I knew Jimmy was a great match the first time I spoke with him. He has such thoughtful ideas and really understood where we were coming from. He asks all the right questions in pre-production and knows how to get the answers on the record. It was an exciting process. First, he broke the songs down to their most simple form (acoustic guitar and vocals), and we worked on the bare bones. Then, he sat down with the rhythm section (guitar, bass, drums, and keys) and talked about grooves — pocket — and made sure the drums were really driving the song the way he wanted. Next up, he sprinkled in the horns, and, at the end, we added the vocals back on top again. It was a great method that brought the most out of the song. Jimmy is all about catching a vibe on record. Most importantly, he understands personalities and is sensitive to each member's creative force. He is a nice guy, but commands respect and drives you to be the best.
JD: He was very encouraging. Believe me, I get sort of down on myself the more I sing something, and the more I…I want to sing it again cause it wasn't good. "I could do better! I could do that all night." So he was just very encouraging like, "No, no. That was really…" You know, "I'm sure you could do better, but hey, that was great!" And sometimes you need somebody like that. To make you not sit there and do it a million times, because sometimes you do it to death, and it's not as good. Sometimes, the first take is the one. And its funny 'cause we'd go back and we'd listen to some of the first takes and go, "Ah yeah, it was a little fresh there." And he was right, so he was a tremendous help in that sense.
Mt: How did you come up with the band name?
IM: I was brainstorming for a little while about a new name. After a few weeks and a ton of ideas, Bomb Squad was at the top of the list. I kept saying, "Well, I like Bomb Squad better than this or that." Then, the night we played Irving Plaza, our first gig with Jen, I decided that we'd try the changeover from EMCQ to The Bomb Squad. Jen really took to it and started saying things between songs like, "droppin' the bombs of funk," etc. Then, after 9/11, a lot of people questioned us using that name. The bottom line is that the Bomb Squad are good guys, clutch performers who put their butts on the line to save the day. It's really not unlike using the band name the Police. We definitely aren't trying to conjure up any bad vibes whatsoever. I like names that sort of put an image in your mind without hearing the music. You hear the words Bomb Squad and right away you think "bad-ass." Our music is hard hitting. You want a band name that people will remember. Bomb Squad is certainly hard to forget. It's simple, to the point. There are nine of us on stage; we're definitely a SQUAD. And the songs are the Bombs, but in a good sense of the word, like a homerun or touchdown.
Mt: Whose idea was it to call the CD BSQD II (especially since there is not a BSQD I), as opposed to using Big Hot Money Spot, as it was first thought to have been called?
IM: Actually, Jen came up with the title BHMS, and she and I had been speaking for some time, really since the first album came out, about calling the second record Big Hot Money Spot. In fact, I ended up writing a song based around the idea. It's the lead track on the album. The management of the band suggested that we call it something more general and broad, something more appropriate for a wide audience. I decided that II would be cool, not only because I'm a Zep fan, but also because it signifies that there was a first album and that there will be more to come!
Mt: Which of the songs on this new release are you (as a singer) the most proud of and why?
JD: I really like to sing "Starbanger," which is kind of about somebody who is living his or her life ultimately just to be a star, or at least act like one. [laughter] You know, it's a funny kind of song. Of course, it's totally not a serious song at all, but at the end of it, I threw some real metal screams into it that I'm really especially proud of. And "Rip It Up," of course. It's a historical party song. It's like the penultimate end-of-the-night song, and again more metal screaming, what I like to talk about as total harmonic distortion. You know, that's my vocal effect that I just have organically and it's not digital. [laughs] And I like to use it on "Supernatural," too, which is kind of a little more jazzy funk… [snaps fingers and hums a funk beat] And it's got a little more R&B funk pocket. You know? And we have a rocker, like a rockin' tune called "Come By Here," which is basically what "Cumbayah" means, and it's kind of based on the whole…it's kind of like a prayer, but it's like rock metal church prayer. [laughter] Can you tell I kind of like gospel and metal? I like the idea of, like, mixing gospel and metal, 'cause I love Living Colour. Got to meet those guys last year, wow! Awesome group of people and a huge influence on me.
Mt: Yeah, I understand that you've worked with many of your influences. What's more thrilling, being on stage with some of your influences or winning the AMA and being on stage with more popular acts and in front of a worldwide audience?
JD: Got to work of course with P-Funk — Bernie Worrell, George Clinton, Original P. Gotten to work with some of these guys that were musically huge, writing-wise, huge influences like…I remember writing the lyrics to "Supernatural" ten years ago after seeing George Clinton. So, I've gotten to play with some of the major league guys, you know? Some of that stuff was more thrilling than the AMA's. I have to be honest. The AMA's is, like, commercial television, and there's, like, lots of people there that you're not really that impressed with their abilities yet. I mean, how can you really even compare some of the music that gets made by fifteen-year-olds to, you know, guys like Alan Jackson and what was going on that night with Outkast. That stuff is so much better than Britney Spears and the Hillary Duff stuff, you know? Musically, being on stage with influences and stuff like that…that was more of a thrill to me. Opening up for James Brown — that kind of stuff — was more of a thrill to me probably than being on commercial television in front of millions of people, because of the whole musician aspect of it and having been obsessed with these people and their music. It's just intense.
Mt: Do you think your audience, especially some of the younger fans, has an understanding of your respective influences? An appreciation for what "funk" is?
IM: It really comes down to such a broad spectrum of influence, from classic jazz right down to metal. I have heroes that have influenced me over time, and my list continues to grow. If I had to give a list I'd say Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Steve Harris, Wes Montgomery, and Gray Sargent, to name a few. As far as the "funk" side of things, that's just one aspect. That is where things begin with the groove in our music, but it doesn't end there. The young fan thing is very interesting. Yesterday, my sister had our first CD on, and her little baby daughter, who is only two years old, was dancing around singing all the words to her favorite song, "Sophistafunk." But not only was she singing words, she was singing horn lines and nailing all the drum hits. It was unbelievable! Now, she has no understanding whatsoever about where our roots come from, whether that is funk or soul or rock or whatever, but she was connecting with the track. And that, to me, is everything. The most important thing is to just keep it loose and be open to everything — all kinds of music. You'd be surprised at what you end up liking if you keep an open mind.
JD: Funk is about space, so we try to make, I think, a lot of space in the music. In the studio process, you're in the mixing of it and figuring out, "Okay, maybe the horns and keyboards are playing the same note and the same rhythm here. Let's move that — create some space in the sound." You know? I think it makes it more danceable. 'Cause you know how if something gets too noodle-y and you're off to the races, it ends up being musical masturbation all night instead of like… [snaps fingers and sways in rhythm] You know people laying down a…well, that's what funk is! That's why people come out and dance. It's very dance-oriented music.
In November of 2002, Durkin gave birth to a daughter, Cheyenne Rose. Both she and McHugh expect 2005 to be a banner year for The Bomb Squad. With Durkin's charismatic stage presence and deeply soulful vocals atop this nine-piece band's tremendous tightness, here's betting it will be an explosive year for The Bomb Squad!
There are no upcoming dates at this time.