Funny Money
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Funny Money

Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Band Rock Metal

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This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Feb
27
Funny Money @ Fat Daddy's

York, Pennsylvania, USA

York, Pennsylvania, USA

Feb
13
Funny Money @ McAvoys

Parkville, Maryland, USA

Parkville, Maryland, USA

Feb
06
Funny Money @ Strasburg Theatre

Strasburg, Virginia, USA

Strasburg, Virginia, USA

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Music

Press


FUNNY MONEY: Stick It!
By Fizz
Rating: 8.0

It never fails. Get together any bunch of rockers old enough to remember Life Before Grunge, and before long, the talk will turn to old bands that broke up. “I wish [insert band name] would get back together and kick some ass,” someone is sure to say. Or maybe it’ll go like this: “I was expecting big things from [insert band name] when they got back together, but their new CD sucks and doesn’t sound a thing like them.”

And that’s where Funny Money comes in. Formed in 1997 by former KIX lead singer Steve Whiteman, this band not only doesn’t suck, but stays true to the exuberant sound KIX exemplified in bygone days. If having Bar 7 was almost as good as having Tesla back together (before Tesla actually did reunite), Funny Money is even better. There’s no reason at all to miss KIX or pine for a reunion, when you’ve got the next best thing right here.

Funny Money picked up pretty much where KIX left off when they disbanded in 1995, but with a more stripped-down, raw sound than some of that band’s slicker-sounding ‘80’s output. It’s impossible not to talk about KIX, especially since they were one of my favorite bands, but I’m going to try for the remainder of this review not to do so, because Funny Money certainly stand on their own as a band.

Stick It! is the Maryland outfit’s fourth studio album, and sees them continue as a four-piece, with the departure of founding guitarist Dean Cramer. But occupying the drum stool is none other than Jimmy Chalfant, the unheralded skinbasher from KIX. Stick It! sees the band continue on in harder musical directions than , say, 1999’s kinda-poppy Back Again. This is no-frills, no-chaser, ‘70’s-style hard rock here. Crunching power chords, wailing vocals, searing leads and pounding rhythms. Comparisons (aside from the obvious KIX references) would be AC/DC, Aerosmith, maybe a bit of Kiss, a dash of UFO, and the heaviest of Cheap Trick.

“By The Balls” starts the album off on a typically uptempo note, sounding a little like Chuck Berry on steroids. It’s the verses that make this song, and about halfway through the first verse, you get the sudden urge to throw a party, with plenty of beer and lots of fine-looking ladies. Cool solo shifting from one speaker to the other, as well. Later on, the sex-crazed “Slow To Blow” is similar, bouncing along like a handful of Viagra washed down with a healthy swig of whiskey. I couldn’t help but laugh at the spoken part at the end. “Look out below! She’s about to BLOW!”

Elsewhere, “Hot On Your Heels” sports a heavy thump and cool dual riff, and a stomping chorus that sticks immediately in your mind. “Big Bang Boom” is more of the same, with a chorus (and fixation on explosives) that is especially reminiscent of KIX, complete with sound effects. “Play Me Like A Rhythm” is a bit more melodic, but no less infectious. “All Tied Up,” the particularly ‘70’s-ish “Nowhere At All,” and the three-note, Aerosmith-like groove of “Crush” all leave their marks as well.

Saving the best for last, the album concludes with “About Women,” a tongue-in-cheek little ditty just about every man can relate to. “I admit,” Whiteman and Co. chant in the chorus, “I don’t really know shit about women!” Best line: “You’re takin’ out the trash while she’s talkin’ ‘bout the garbage you do.” Aside from being insanely catchy and relatable, this one features a very AC/DC-esque riff, and a gloriously shrieking solo.

There are a few missteps, however. KIX had several very good ballads in their catalog, but Funny Money are at their best when they’re rocking out full-tilt. “Thousand Thank Yous” is all right, I guess, with nice acoustic playing, but “Fool’s Confession” is rather painful to listen to, as a habitual offender begs for just one more chance, and not for the first time apparently, over music that is almost as unconvincing. “Weeds And Roses” is a little more lively, but I’m not overly fond of that tune either.

The production on Stick It! Is excellent, and even more impressive considering it’s an indie release. Lending a hand for the mixing is one Beau Hill, whose name you might have heard of, since, in the ‘80’s, he produced a few bands that went on to have a little bit of success. Bands with names you might recognize, like Winger, Warrant, and some bunch named Ratt. He also produced KIX’s 1985 classic Midnite Dynamite, the soundtrack to many a shindig here at the Fizzbunker. The music is high-energy and boisterous, the riffs contagious, and Chalfant’s drumming is as rock-solid as ever. For his part, Steve Whiteman sounds pretty much exactly like he always has, like a rowdier version of Robin Zander with a bit of a Bon Scott yowl. Maybe he sounds a mite rougher than he did twenty years ago, but he sounds far better than a great many of his contemporaries. There are a few spoken parts (“By The Balls,” “Slow To Blow”) where he reverts to an almost cartoon-character-like chirp, which I’m sure was the intent all along. The lyrics are a bit juvenile in places, but again, that’s to be expected, and not really an issue.

On the whole, the music is good, rambunctious party-rock, and it’s damn refreshing to hear these days. Stick It! is as good as just about anything KIX ever released. If you liked KIX at all, or any of the other bands I mentioned above, this is a sure bet to paste a silly grin on your ugly mug. It’s self-released, so get it at the band’s website, http://www.funnymoneyband.com or from www.cdbaby.com if you prefer.

Best songs: “By The Balls,” “Hot On Your Heels,” “About Women”

Worst song: “Fool’s Confession” - DDays-revenge.com


When Baltimore, Maryland-based Hard Rock veterans KIX disbanded in 1995, many wondered what lay ahead for charismatic front man Steve Whiteman. Fortunately for all parties involved, it wouldn’t take long for the multi-octave vocalist to respond. Following the formation of Funny Money in 1996 and the release of two well-received (if not somewhat underrated) albums (Funny Money in 1998 and Back Again in 1999), the group quickly established themselves as a regional touring force to be reckoned with, easily selling out clubs throughout their northeastern stronghold. Now, ten improbably long years later, armed with an undeniably impressive array of razor-sharp material and a uniquely dedicated audience at their disposal, the mighty Funny Money has once again returned. The question is, are you ready?

On the stellar Stick It! (2006), an expertly assembled twelve song collection of gritty, Blues-inflected Hard Rock, each track, beginning with the pummeling “By The Balls”, and the maddeningly infectious “Hot On Your Heels”, immediately commands the rapt and undivided attention of even the most hopelessly jaded and unimaginative of listeners--myself most definitely included--with a seamless, mostly mid-tempo barrage of soaring vocals, searing fretwork and unusually abusive rhythms. Undoubtedly attempting to revisit the much-celebrated past without resorting to the shameless, payola and chart position-driven tactics so often embraced by the ‘mainstream’, the group proves their mettle early and often by engulfing the listener amid an ensemble easily worthy of the highest of critical and commercial accolades.

Continuing with the stereotypical--albeit highly effective--“Big Bang Boom”, and the rollicking “Slow To Blow”, the airtight combination of powerhouse ex-KIX vocalist Steve Whiteman, former Centerfold guitarist Rob Galpin, bassist Mark Schenker and drummer Jimmy Chalfant (also formerly of KIX) steamrolls ahead at a much-welcomed workingman pace (hey…not everyone feels the need for constant breakneck speed). Obviously content with not reinventing the wheel, the group chugs forward with a carefully calculated determination that shines through via a crystal-clear Beau Hill-mix. The resulting quasi-retro concoction resonates throughout with an oddly educated, ‘…let’s party like it’s 1989...’ attitude that somehow manages to wisely address the group’s inescapable pedigree without sounding forced or dated.

While Whiteman and Chalfant’s involvement in the group seemingly guarantee the quartet a lifetime of unfair yet somewhat understandable KIX comparisons, other standouts, including the wryly-titled “Play Me Like A Rhythm”, and the impressively exhaustive closer “About Women”, go an incredibly long way towards establishing the group as it’s own self-sufficient entity. Will Stick It! ultimately go Gold or Platinum? Probably not. Will you see the group on the opening slot of the next summer Poison tour? Maybe. Regardless, the collective members of Funny Money have returned with yet another slab of no frills Rock ‘n’ Roll effectively reminding us all that it’s still okay to have a little fun. Believe me, even if you weren’t that big of a KIX fan, this is one record you’re most definitely gonna wanna check out.

Still sittin’ around waiting for that ever-elusive, full-fledged KIX reunion? Trust me, dude…it ain’t freakin’ happening. But please don’t let that stop ya from thoroughly enjoying the next best thing. Jam-packed with enough AC/DC-inspired wit and spirit to fuel a thousand aspiring garage bands, the majority--if not all--of the decidedly ear-pleasing wares contained herein are virtually guaranteed to leave you only wanting for more a factor that instantly sets the group apart from their few long-in-the-tooth contemporaries. Thus, if you are still looking for a red-hot ’80’s Hard Rock fix that won’t leave you feeling ‘coyote ugly’ guilty the next morning just for enjoying it, do yourself and those in your immediate vicinity an incredibly enormous favor and pick this bad boy up. Trust me, my friends, you won’t be disappointed.

- Blasting-Zone.com


Production:
Produced and engineered by Mark Schenker. Mixed by Beau Hill.

Review:
What do you get when you take 2/5ths of KIX and reunite them with Midnite Dynamite producer Beau Hill? You get a Funny Money CD that sounds more like KIX then any of their previous releases, and that is a good thing!

I'm not implying that previous Funny Money albums were lackluster, just that Stick It! is their best release yet. You know exactly what you are getting with this band, fun no-frills hard rock. I can't even remember the last time an album with Steve Whiteman has let me down, in fact, maybe it has never happened. As a teenager I used to drink and party to those old KIX cassettes, and today Stick It! creates the same urges and feelings.

"By The Balls" and "Play Me Like A Rhythm" are the two stand out tracks and rival anything Whiteman's previous band put out. Of course the album doesn't end with those two songs, "Hot On Your Heels", "Big Bang Boom", "Weeds And Roses" and "About Women" all display the same brand of go-for-the-throat rock 'n' roll. Only once does the band ease up, and that is for the "Thousand Thank Yous" ballad, the only song on the CD that I could live without.

If you close your eyes and listen to this CD you would swear that you are enjoying a long lost KIX album, and that is a great feeling. It looks like all it took to kick Funny Money from great to extraordinary was the return of a couple names from the past. It's a good thing I didn't receive this release until a few days ago, or my end of the year list would have been even harder to compile!

Reviewed by Skid for Sleaze Roxx, January 2007. - sleazeroxx.com


Discography

"Stick It!" LP 2006, produced by Mark Schenker, mixed by Beau Hill
"Back Again/Even Better Live Reissue" LP 2004
"Skin to Skin" LP 2003, produced by Mark Schenker
"Even Better Live" LP 2001, produced by Billy Andrews
"Back Again" LP 1999, produced by Billy Andrews
"Funny Money" LP 1997 produced by Billy Andrews

* "About Women" from "Stick It!" was #5 on WQCM FM for issue 1694 and was in the top 10 for 19 weeks since mid-December '06.

* "By The Balls" was added to over 90 FM Hard Rock radio stations nationwide week of 3/19/07.

* "Stick It!" stuck on the "Top Selling This Week" list on cdbaby.com for three months after its release on Dec 1st '06 and remains high on the list of top selling CD's on cdbaby.com.

* "Stick It!" was the #2 album on 97Underground.com for CMJ NMR issue #995

* "By The Balls" from "Stick It!" is prominently featured in a greater mid-atlantic regional television and radio ad campaign for Champions Billiards.

* "About Women" from "Stick It!" was #26 in the Top 50 Listener Requests of 2006 on Stickman-Radio.com despite only being out for one month at the time requests were tallied!

* "By The Balls" from "Stick It!" has received over 55,000 plays on Artist's MySpace page.

Photos

Bio

Steve Whiteman and Jimmy Chalfant, singer and drummer of Atlantic Records platinum selling, rock-n-roll powerhouse KIX, are no strangers to fans and critics alike. What the world may not know is that when KIX disbanded the first time in 1994, Steve and Jimmy kept moving forward. Without missing a beat, their no-frills, hard rocking party-time rock and roll (read: AC/DC and Aerosmith) is still making waves as an even higher energy, big melody, hard rocking machine called FUNNY MONEY. Lets face it, the signature KIX sound is etched in stone by Steve Whiteman's unique and incredibly strong vocal style and Jimmy Chalfant's tribal, rock-solid hard-rock beat; so if you loved KIX, whose lineup since 2002 includes Mark Schenker on bass guitar, you'll also love the huge guitars, phat groove, and harmonic bliss known as FUNNY MONEY!!!

The bands biggest footprint has just landed. After spending nearly two years writing and recording new music, the band has finally released their latest album entitled "Stick It!" If further proof be needed that this is the defining FUNNY MONEY collection, the band has enlisted the mixing wizardry of mega-hit rock producer Beau Hill (RATT, WARRANT, WINGER, EUROPE, KIX and dozens more) and the Grammy Award winning mastering talents of Jay Frigoletto to further cement their status as one of America's Best Kickass Hard-Rock Indie Bands!

Jimmy Chalfant is an official endorsee of Maryland Drums, Vic Firth and Evans Drum Heads. Mark Schenker is an official endorsee of Warwick Basses, DR Strings, Morley Pedals and Tech 21. Dean Cramer is an official endorsee of Modtone Effects, Morley Pedals and Tech 21.