The Substance
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The Substance

Band Rock Funk


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July 14th, 2005 – Pussycat Lounge, New York City

What do you get when you combine a peaceful guitar warrior with
a face-melting, raw funky-ass groove (Russell Bergen), a hard-
hitting, intoxicated, animalistic drummer (Pat Eckard), a
psychedelic guitar guru who plays as if there is a current of
electricity running through his soul (Jay “Heaven”Levin), and a
balls-out, gruff-voiced, testosterone-driven powerhouse of a Cock-
Rocking bassist/lead singer (Kyle Ripp)? The answer… THE

Last night, I had the rare pleasure of witnessing a top-notch
performance by this crew of psychopaths. It started as a typical
Thursday night downtown at the world famous Pussycat Lounge. I
stopped in for a few beers and, I must admit, for a glimpse of the
lovely ladies of the lounge. Little did I know, upon making my way
upstairs to hear the music, I was about to metaphorically have my
nuts stapled to the wall.

The show began with the thick, bass-driven funk groove “Come
Inside/Rump Clump”. The audience was instantly mesmerized as
Kyle “ripped” into his infamous opening line “I had a vision… in
the heat of the night”. Yes, this was to be a night of both vision
and heat. The musicianship displayed by this band is
unsurpassed by most. As the show progressed, the energy in that
room was so intense, folks could probably feel it uptown. Other
highlights included the pipe-hitting funky rock number, “Soldier
Song”, the rockin, reggae-influenced “After Life”, as well as the
unveiling of their new rip-roaring slow blues number “Defiant”.
The experience was truly transcendent.

The combination of funk, blues, rock, and reggae that they
gracefully incorporate into their repitoire displays the ambitious
musical nature as well as their raw, from-the-heart sound. If Led
Zeppelin, Funkadelic, and Bob Marley all had sex and gave birth
to a 4-headed baby, it would be called “The Substance”. Keep an
eye out for their upcoming performances, you will not be
disappointed. This reporter sure wasn’t.

-a crazed fan
- A Crazed Fan


The world debut album self titled " The Substance " was released in June of 2006.



Formed in 2004, The Substance was founded by Kyle Ripp and Russ Bergen. Ripp had moved to NYC to pursue music. Through 2003, Ripp and Bergen had performed as an acoustic duo, playing self written rock and soul songs at such famous venues as CBGB's acoustic room. While receiving critical acclaim, the two were never satisfied, and relentlessly auditioned drummers in order to start a full band. Then in late 2004, they received word about a drummer ( Eckard ) at a party in midtown. Ironically, Bergen had known the drummer-to-be since childhood. So, in December of 2004, The Substance jammed together ( in rudimentary form ) in Long Island City.....Ripp had been jamming in the village with several keyboard players, because they were always looking for versatile bass players to sesh with. At this juncture, Ripp thought that a keyboardist would be the perfect fourth member. But then, Bergen struck gold once again. At a party in Queens, Russ collaberated with a frenetic guitarist by the name of Jay Levin. After the four united, there was no looking back. Then, in Summer of 2006, Levin left the group to pursue solo material...the timing could not have been better, as Russ' cousin Josh Bergen joined in his place. Due to personal reasons and financial problems, Eckard left the band only to be replaced by David Bergen. He had just come home from pursuing musical studies in Burlington. Ripp says these steps were contained in " a subconscious spiritual story that was supposed to unfold like a classic novel....with The Substance being the main character(s)....the sound, creativity and message is now EXACTLY where it should be with our new line-up, it is incredible...." The irony is, they play so effortlessly together, as if they are veterans. The album is superbly recorded on Analog 2" tape, and masterfully produced by Jacques Cohen. He is known for his mastering work on music and film projects for huge names such as Sony. He is the perfect fit for The Substance, his recording method exemplifies the warmth found on vinyl LPs of the seventies. If there is any need or desire to see a great live show, this is the band to see. It is only a matter of time until there is an international "Substance" following. With the incessant ferocity of Zeppelin in its finest hour, the rock steadiness of a Steel Pulse bass line and the mysterious allure of a full moon, The Substance is a tremedously unique experience. The energy is relentless, and the shows are memorable. They delve in some of the most impressive motifs of the great musical past while also blending there true modern FUNKtionality. Pick up there cd today, you won't be disappointed.