Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk uncorks nasty funk

Michael Deeds
McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)

Funk comes in many rump-twisting varieties. There's old-school Dyke and the Blazers funk. There's afro-era Sly and the Family Stone funk. There's wicked-good Bar-Kays funk. And, of course, there's classic P-Funk.

Then there's Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk.

Coming up with a name for his band, Neville was thinking funk-ay.

"Our take on funk is very, very funky," the singer-keyboardist says, "and very nasty compared to most of the other funk bands now, and the ones that have come before us. We know that we're pretty funky. So I was just thinking of what's nasty and what's dirty, and there's nothing too much nastier and dirtier than a Dumpster."

Imagine a Dumpster behind a restaurant in the band's hometown of New Orleans. It's piled high with crawfish shells and still-steaming gumbo and scraps of the region's spicy musical heritage - from the Meters and Neville Brothers (two acts that included Neville's father, Aaron, and uncle, Art) all the way back to Lee Dorsey and Professor Longhair.

Dumpster-dive into that beautiful mess, and you'll begin to understand Dumpstaphunk.

"That's the common denominator," Neville says. "We're all from New Orleans. We've all played with pretty much damn near everybody there is to play with growing up in New Orleans music."

Yet this is a band of musicians with worldly perspective. Neville has played in Keith Richards' group X-pensive Winos, with Bonnie Raitt and on a couple of Rolling Stones albums. Bassist-guitarist Tony Hall has gigged in Trey Anastasio's and Dave Matthews' solo bands. Members of Dumpstaphunk - which also includes cousin Ian Neville (guitar), Nick Daniels (bass) and Raymond Webber (drums) - have played with Wild Magnolias, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the Meters, Harry Connick Jr. ... the list goes on, Neville says. So even if the group is sometimes referred to as "Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk," it's a democracy on stage.

"Basically, we all take turns driving," Neville says. "I'll put it this way: Whoever's driving, we just hang on for the ride."

Dumpstaphunk even flips instruments; Hall switches between guitar and bass. Neville sounds almost incredulous as he admits," There are times on stage when we got two basses going."

Now that's funky.

"Yeah! And it works!" Neville says. "Which is crazy. When that (stuff) works, you can't get much nastier than that, so we love that. We love that we can do that."

Dumpstaphunk, which formed in 2003 but didn't start gigging seriously until 2005, has released just one album, a slamming but short five-song EP called "Listen Hear." Neville says the group is working on a full-length CD to be released later this year.

He's eager to get the album out, at least partly to show off two or three new funk instrumentals. The already-released EP includes one hot instrumental, "Stinky."

"We've got a few more like `Stinky,'" Neville explains, chuckling. "We got a couple more `Stinkys,' basically."

What more could you ask from a band called Dumpstaphunk?

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less

If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

Keep reading... Show less

Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.