January 18, 2007

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A new breed of funk
Funkfoot steps in with a hybrid theory
By Erica Febre efebre@hippopress.com

Pushing the envelope of what defines good funk music, Funkfoot, based in Dover, offers up a version of new-age funk music.

Funkfoot is Berns Cote on bass and vocals; Jeremy “Fuzz” Grob on guitar and vocals; Ash “Stick Ninja” Rowe on drums; Eric Strathmeyer on keyboard, and Aaron Johnson on guitar and vocals.

“I like to describe us as funk fusion, a band that blends funk with anything we can get our hands on. Mostly rock, blues, jazz, a little reggae in there, even some hip-hop. Really the possibilities are endless, we’ll even play some banjo and mandolin,” Grob said.

Funkfoot brings in the improvisational feel of a jam band while keeping core elements that allow the audience to recognize their sound.

Rowe brings a big r&b element to Funkfoot, while Johnson is all about the ’50s music like Buddy Holly and good ol’ rock ’n roll.

Grob, who started out as an acoustic guitarist, claims his strongest influence comes from early days of listening to folk music.

On the other hand, Cote brings a manic mix of country, classical and jazz influences. He can also remember his teenage angst years of listening to Van Halen and Ozzy Osbourne.

Strathmeyer, who says he was ignorant of ’80s rock music, grew up listening to oldies from the ’60s. His years in high school turned him on to experimenting with a bit of everything, from grunge to hip-hop.

“Because we ... bring in so many different elements, I think our music goes over well with people ... We get the kids dancing, the adults moving around. Because we’re bringing in some strands that they can easily relate to, we even get the people in their 50s and 60s coming out,” Strathmeyer said.

Funkfoot has a slogan: “kick it with a tasty groove.” Anything that makes your head bob and your hips sway is their kind of sound.

“You can hear the classic funk influence. You hear the raw and gritty synth sounds and you hear the slap bass and the funky rhythms and the swanky guitar. But it’s more like next-generation funk. We’re incorporating sounds, like hip-hop elements, that weren’t typical of funk 30 years ago,” Cote said.

Funkfoot plans to record a full-length album this spring and is working on 20 original tracks. They also cover Stevie Wonder and Stevie Ray Vaughn, among others.

“We like to keep it an all-original set but nothing really reaches the audience like a song they already know and connect with right away,” Cote said.

Tear the roof off
Who:
Funkfoot
When: Saturday, Jan. 20, starting at 9 p.m.
Where: The Barley House, 132 N. Main St., Concord, 228-6363
For more information: Go to funkfoot.com or myspace.com/funkfoot to hear music samples or for more show listingsr.