Uncle Jungle
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Uncle Jungle

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Band Rock Funk

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Jan
31
Uncle Jungle @ New Daisy Theatre

Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Memphis, Tennessee, USA

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Discography

"The Medicine Man and his Medicine Band" EP

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Bio

Thanks to Coors beer, Sam Ferguson is a bass player and a founder of Uncle Jungle.

"I started playing bass in the sixth grade," said Ferguson, 15. "I saw a Coors Lite commercial. There's a guy playing bass. They're like in a bar or something, and the bass player doesn't show up."

Uncle Jungle is made up of Mikey Rose (from left), Gabe Ruby, Carl Krausnick, Adam Gordon and Sam Ferguson.

One of the band members in the commercial asks if there's a bass player in the house. "The guy's like, 'I play bass.' And he gets up and he plays bass, and it's really cool. I was like, 'I'm gonna get a bass.' My uncle got me one for Christmas."

Ferguson's buddy, Gabe Ruby, 15, got a guitar and they began jamming.

On an Outward Bound trip, Ferguson asked another friend, Mikey Rose, to learn to play an instrument. "I was like, 'Mikey, you should play drums. Then we could jam all the time.'"

Rose, 16, originally was a big hip-hop fan. "My mom, she was a classical music major at University of Northern Iowa," he said. "So, I'd always been into music." Drums "just felt natural."

Ferguson heard Carl Krausnick, 17, was a good guitarist, so he asked him to jam with them. "I always thought I was gonna be a rock star," said Krausnick, an Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead and Phish fan.

Saxophone player Adam Gordon, 17, joined the group two months ago. "Some of the coolest people in jazz groups are saxophone players," he said. "So, I picked that up in sixth grade."

Accidental Mersh, a hot local band in the early 2000s, is one of Uncle Jungle's big influences. The group was composed of some alumni from their school, Memphis University School.

Since he bought it, Accidental Mersh's 2001 CD, Mirror Israeli, hasn't left Krausnick's car. "I know every word to the songs. I can sing all the guitar parts. It motivates us (to) what people are capable of doing still in high school and gaining popularity and actually being something."

All Uncle Jungle's songs are instrumentals. "We still have the standard formula like, verse, the chorus and bridge and the solo, but we're thinking if we did have a singer and he didn't play an instrument, he'd have to have some insane stage presence," Krausnick said.

"Thick Newbie," one of their songs, "means absolutely nothing," Krausnick said. "Since there's no lyrics, you don't have to think of a song title that correlates to what the words are and our inner thoughts.

"We take ourselves seriously to an extent, but there's got to be a comical element to everything. 'Cause we're not just out there trying to style our hair and be like emo cutters: 'I like blood.' Those kind of people."

Krausnick came up with the band's name when he was on vacation in Sea Island, Ga. "I was at the beach hanging out with these ladies I met from New Orleans. We're sitting on the top of my dad's car with my legs hanging through the sun roof. The creative juices were flowing."

They went to a Citgo, where Krausnick accidentally asked for "Uncle Jungle" instead of Jungle Juice. "I was like 'Whoa.' It was like an epiphany. I called Gabe and I was like, 'I got a name.'"

"I didn't dislike it," Ruby said. "I was just like, 'Wow, that's kind of random.'"

"I probably didn't like it so much at first, but I guess we're stuck with it," Rose said.

To hear music by this week's performer and view more pictures, go to commercialappeal.com and click on music.