Pure Finesse
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Pure Finesse

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Band Rock Funk

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Jack Black’s insanity walked into a record store and met the counter madness of System Of A Down, where they argued over nu funk vinyl. Meanwhile, a bugle boy on his way back from practice at his local church, burst into the store and got tangled in the ensuing bedlam of twisted brass. A few innocent bystanders were pulled into the scuffle, including a sax player who was minding his own beeswax in the jazz section (while fondling a rare Charles Gayle EP, nice). After the dust settled, seven weary men emerged from the wreckage and at this moment this rag-tag group decided to create something from all that wanton destruction: they formed a band called Pure Finesse. - Music Vice Magazine


A funky Toronto collective featuring a Mississauga guitarist will headline this Friday at one of Toronto's most storied venues.
Pure Finesse, featuring MARTY Award-nominated guitarist/vocalist Tom Juhas, performs at Lee's Palace in The Annex. The band, which hits the stage at 11:30 p.m., will be joined by Brute Force Romeo, Ninja Funk Orchestra and Major Grey.

The eight-piece band was formed in 2005 by vocalist Mike Simpson, who grew up outside Detroit and was introduced to the joys of old-school R&B while studying under American bassist Chuck Bartels. The band also includes vocalist Angela Wheeler, guitarist Brett Leier, bassist Mike Meusel, saxophonist Nick Teehan, drummer Chad Davis and trumpet player/vocalist Brian Walters.

Juhas has recorded albums with his own bands, Mr. Marbles and Slutty Slutty Bang Bang. He'll perform at a CD release party for the latter on Jan. 21 at Sneaky Dee's on College St. with The Central Nervous System, Word People and Insideamind.
Doors to Friday's show open at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $7 at the door.

(Article can be found at: http://www.mississauga.com/what%27s%20on/article/249721--funky-band-pure-finesse-hits-to) - Mississauga News (Metroland)


Eight-piece Toronto funk/jazz/rock outfit Pure Finesse plays a show this Friday (Jan. 8th) at Lee's Palace. I recently had the chance to ask ringleader/songwriter Mike Simpson and trumpet player Brian Walters some questions about the show and their thoughts on music in general. Here's how it went down:

T.O. Snob: Thanks for taking the time to do this with us.
Mike & Brian: Our pleasure!

T.O. Snob: You're playing in Toronto on January 8th. If someone hasn't seen you play before, what can they expect from your show?

Mike: Burgundy suits, sweat, cuss words, broken mic stands, dank funk, explosive doom metal inspired mosh parts for which we encourage audience participation, tight vocal harmonies, dancing, attractive women, etc. We have a pretty intense energy on stage.

Brian: Translation - we're trying to bring together all the best things about the 70's, 80's and 90's, and I've found the music speaks to the type of person who likes to go out to a show and bang their heads just as much as someone who might be more inclined to head out and shake their butt on the dance floor.

T.O. Snob: What inspires a Pure Finesse Song?

Mike: Complete dissatisfaction; knowing you are just as bad/badder than everybody in your life path/career choice/situation (for us it's music) and looking for a way to express that. If you've got the slightest bit of a chip on your shoulder and a lot to prove, you can relate. That combined with just generally wanting to get my rocks off, in a figurative sense.

T.O. Snob: Band's seem to be getting bigger and bigger (i.e. more members) than ever these days and Pure Finesse is no exception. How does size effect the band dynamic?

Mike: We're like a less soul-caressing version of Most Serene Republic. Except not really that serene at all. All of the people in the band met at college, so we were all friends before. Apart from making it nigh impossible to make a decent amount of money playing live, it's a good thing. And the power 8 people can achieve is ridiculous when we're all in the zone. It's a mob thing, with kind of a religious element in there too.

Brian: It's really easy for us to work with Mike... like the most benvolent dictatorship (Mike: funk-tatorship? rock-tatship? naaaah) you could ever imagine. He brings in around 90% complete sketches of his music and we play though through them and everyone gets to make suggestions here and there. All of us are pretty amazed at how little tweaking Mike's ideas take from initial composition to what you hear on the tracks.

T.O. Snob: You've also got a unique collection of not only instruments, but also musical influences within the band. How did your sound evolve to include, as your myspace page suggest, influences as broadranging as Funkadelic and Judas Priest?

Mike: I grew up listening to old school and more extreme forms of metal. Priest (I got to interview Rob Halford - dream come true!), Pantera, Dio, Sabbath, Carnivore, and Hypocrisy were some early favorites of mine. There was a certain level of what I guess would now be called badassery in that music. Its power was super appealing, and this was pre-Jack Black ironic love of rock era resurgence, so it was totally mine and defined me; it continues to define me, in fact.

Then when I was 16 I listened hard to James Brown for the first time. Same level of badassery as metal, but more soul, more struggle, more sex...when I started writing music I saw a genuine connection between true funk music (IE NOT DISCO) and heavier music. Graham Central Station, Sly Stone, Parliament/Funkadelic, Ohio Players, Earth Wind and Fire, Mandrill....I consider all of them precursors to Pure Finesse in terms of image and presentation. To be honest it's about just not giving a fuck set to loud music (funk, rock, whatever) and hard singing. That's always been my thing, and it's always been in our music.

T.O. Snob: How would you define success for Pure Finesse?

Mike: Hm... really for me it is getting to see who this music connects to, on as broad a scale as possible. I live for playing live, so getting the chance to expand our shows, see new people and places and connect with audiences is really all I'm interested in. I've never been big on owning fancy things, so Lex coupes and gold ropes aren't really too high on my list of things to achieve.

Brian: I don't think I could have said it any better. But I'm going to try and rephrase that anyways. We are the 700 pound gorilla that learned sign language so we could tell you to come into our cage, let loose and party like a real animal with us.

T.O. Snob: If you could tour with anyone playing today who would those dream tour mates be?

Mike: SOUNDGARDEN, 2010 REUNION TOUR. Let's make it happen; hit me back on Twitter, Cornell.

Brian: HA! You stole my answer.

T.O. Snob: If someone looked through your CD collection, what would they be most surprised to see?

Mike: All my bizarre choices are on tape or vinyl. There you would find THOR, Loudness, several censored Too Short tapes (you probably get roughly 2 non-blanked out words for every 10), an Assuck 7 inch I doubt I've ever listened to, and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks, which I definitely have not listened to, even though I should probably say I have.

Brian: Huh? Stiffen Against the Wall by Organized Rhyme. Check the OR is a pretty bangin' tune! I'm also not ashamed to admit I had the first five NKOTB albums on tape. Chad (our drummer) and I completely love an Electro/Jam band out of New York called Rudder. Keith Carlock has got to be one of the best drummers on the planet.

T.O. Snob: Nice. Tom Green would be happy to hear that. Is there anything you'd like to add?

Mike: Yeah we just booked our CD Release party for the 25th of March of this year at the El Mocombo. We're also doing a series of videoblogs about the recording process leadup up to the release, as well as some youtube specific jams where some of us get together and throw down some fun snippets of what might turn into new tunes down the road. So keep that dial tuned!


T.O. Snob: Thanks again for taking the time to do this for us and good luck on your show on the 8th!

Mike: Thanks to YOU!

(Article can be found at: http://www.snobsmusic.net/2010/01/q-with-pure-finesse.html) - T.O. Snob`s Music (Blog)


Discography

2010 - The Got A Lot To Prove EP

Photos

Bio

Pure Finesse. An ambitious fusion of polar opposites. Spurred on by the powerful presence of the old school, songwriter and ringleader Mike Simpson crafted Pure Finesse as a collection of individuals from Toronto summoning forth the righteous horns from Tower of Power, the funky brother rap of James Brown, the brash rock swagger of David Lee Roth and the rage fuelled riffing of Judas Priest... and colliding for the first time.

2010 has been good to Pure Finesse. Their debut record, the "Got A Lot To Prove EP" was released on May 22nd. The result of a meticulous recording process helmed by Justin Abedin (of Jacksoul fame) the band hopes that their release will signal a return to the fundamentals of solid songwriting and good musicianship presented in an unconventional 7 piece rock band. They were nominated in the "Best Live Electric" Act category at the Toronto Independant Music Awards, at the top of a class of 160 different acts.

Drawing comparisons to System of a Down, Jack Black, Rush, Tool, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and more, the Pure Finesse experience has been described as the "wanton destruction" of the many different genres it crosses paths with (Music Vice Magazine - May 2010).

Edge 102 on-air personality Adam Ricard, had this to say about Pure Finesse:

"Pure Finesse is a tight band with a solid rock show. Add horns into the mix and you get something you don't hear in new rock nowadays. Definitely a band to watch out for."

Collectively, the members of Pure Finesse have shared the stage with numerous headlining acts and Grammy-winning artists in multiple genres such as the Black Eyed Peas, Snoop Dogg, Down With Webster, Steve Gadd (of Steely Dan Fame), Dave Holland (Miles Davis "Bitches Brew") and 2010 Polaris Prize nominee and hip hop artist Shad. It is this virtuosity and experience that breaths life into the music of Pure Finesse - music that has a lot to prove.

For More Information or Booking Inquiries, please contact Mike Simpson at: 647-268-7523.