One of the highlights of this not-even-close-to-being-over summer was getting to make another journey to Blissfest, a very cool music festival in Harbor Springs, Michigan (which also happens to be Tim’s hometown). Imagine perfect 75-degree weather, no humidity, clean air and sunshine, then fold in a bunch of incredible bands and artists, toss in some delicious craft beers, cover the whole thing with a mellow hippieish vibe, and you’re smack in the middle of Blissfest. We played two sets to very receptive crowds, and sold more CDs than any other band at the festival. That’s pretty amazing, considering some of the participating talent: Arlo Guthrie, the Way Down Wanderers, Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band, the Go Rounds, Gangstagrass, Whiskey Shivers, Galactic Sherpas, Leftover Cuties and a whole lot more. We are blessed (blissed?) and honored to have been invited to play, and hopefully we’ll get back many times in years to come. It was also a treat to play with original member Ben Reece again, who made the trip because new guy Austin had a previous commitment. We also played a streetfest in Boyne City, a picturesque little town on the shores of Lake Charlevoix, which was special because many members of Tim’s family showed up, including some cousins he hadn’t seen in nearly 30 years. Despite some economic troubles (the less said about those the better), the state of Michigan is a beautiful place to visit and play, no matter what manner of play you enjoy.
We are pleased as punch to announce that we’ve won our fifth Riverfront Times Music Award, in the Soul/Funk category. We were up against some staggeringly good competition — Al Holliday & The East Side Rhythm Revue, The Jungle Fire, Nikki Hill and our friend Andy Coco’s Rhythm Section Road Show. You should definitely go see those bands and artists wherever and whenever you get a chance, because all those folks bring the funk in large tanker trucks to every single show. It’s humbling to win awards like these, because they’re voted by the fans, and we appreciate each and every one who cast a ballot in our direction. It sounds corny, but as long as y’all keep liking what we do, we’re gonna keep doing it. Thank you.
It is with no small amount of melancholy that we bid adieu to founding member and sax wizard Ben Reece. Ben has decided to leave the band to pursue other musical opportunities and spend more time with his family. To say that he will be missed is a massive understatement; we will be forever grateful to him for his musical acumen and, more important, his friendship (on and offstage) since we began this craziness way back in 2008. Keeping the original lineup of a band intact this long isn’t exactly common, so we consider ourselves very lucky to have shared so many good times and great gigs together. But all things change, and in that regard we are extremely pleased to announce that Austin Cebulske, a young sax phenom who recently earned his Masters degree from Northern Illinois University, has joined the band and truly hit the ground running. While Ben will still turn up at gigs here and there (the Holiday Brasstravaganza, for example), we are very excited to move forward with Austin. As it has been since the very beginning, the saxophone position in the Funky Butt Brass Band remains in very good hands.
If you’ve come to a show lately, and ventured anywhere near the merch table, you’ve probably noticed the Lovely Liz. She is an amazing person who gives of her time to set up and sell our melange of CDs, EPs, t-shirts, koozies and whatever other shameless promotional stuff we have to offer at most gigs. Occasionally, the Lovely Liz is assisted by the Cute Catie or the Beautiful Beth, and we are mighty thankful that they’re all willing to help us out. Because we’re usually busy, you know, playing music. So if you’re in need of some Funky Butt music to play on a wondrously small electronic device, or you’d like to wear a huge honking FBBB logo on your chest, we hope you’ll stop by the table and say hello to our Marvelous Merch Mavens. We couldn’t do this without them!
We do, too. So we’re always up for a true New Orleans second line parade. We do it for weddings, parties, even traditional jazz funerals (hey, if you gotta go, this is a pretty good way to celebrate a life). We’ve done it at the Mayor’s Mardi Gras Ball for a number of years, and we’ve marched everybody out of the City Museum whenever KDHX’s Midwest Mayhem bash rolls around (as shown in the cool photo above). If you’re in the market for an interesting way to move people from Point A to Point B, we’ll help you do it Big Easy style. Check out the video on our PARADE page and then give Talent Plus Entertainment a call at (314) 421-9400. If you’re ready to march to a different drummer, give us a try. We’ll even throw in trumpet, trombone, sax and sousaphone, no extra charge.
We are very humbled and honored to have been voted Readers’ Pick: Best Local Band at the GO! List Awards. It’s always nice to receive an honor like this, but it’s made more special because we were voted in by the people. And that’s who we play for: The people. Not the critics, not the media, not our corporate overlords, but the folks who hang out on the dance floor and listen to every word and note and say hello and take home our music so they can have access to it whenever they want. It means a lot to us. So thank you, Readers, for your support!
If you’re getting tired of checking the calendar on this website, the calendar can come to you! Just sign up for our email list by going to the CONTACTS page and handing over your email address. We promise not to share it with anyone or send you crap you don’t want or need. We just want to make sure you have the most up-to-date FBBB gig information brought directly to your e-mailbox, commercial-free and painless. Join us — or at least, our email list!
We are looking forward to this summer, when we’ll be doing a little traveling to play music festivals in places that are not St. Louis. But it’s not enough. We want more. If you have any connections to cool music festivals that might like to include a rollicking brass funk band, please let us know. We want to go to there.
It’s almost here, that annual bacchanalian throwdown known as Soulard Mardi Gras. They say St. Louis has the third largest Mardi Gras celebration in the nation. We don’t know if that’s statistically accurate, but we know there are always a boatload of revelers ready to drink and dance and show their, um, wares. If you happen to be one of said revelers, look for us at a few different points in the weekend: at the Mayor’s Ball at City Hall on Friday night, on the 9th and Geyer Bud Light Block Party stage right after the Grand Parade on Saturday, wrapping up at the Old Rock House about 6 pm that evening. It’s likely to get a) hectic, b) crazy, c) wild, d) all of the above. Personally, we’d go with d.
The holiday shows are over (thanks so much to everyone who showed up, along with all our special guest artists) and so are the holidays. We’re looking forward to lots of new gigs in the New Year – look over there to the right and you’ll see some of them – along with making new music and new friends. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2015 — see you soon on a stage near you!