We were able to close out 2016 on a high note — and a Blue note. We marched the St. Louis Blues alumni team onto the ice to the strains of “Saint Louis Blues” for the NHL Winter Classic Alumni Game on December 31st, then blew the roof off the Broadway Oyster Bar with a fun New Year’s Eve show. The NYE performance featured special guests Al Holliday, Phil Wright and Derick Tramel, with our original sax player Ben Reece playing electric bass (our sousaphonist Cody Henry was out of town). It was a solid way to wind up a crazy year, one that saw many of our musical heroes shuffle off the mortal coil and one that featured an election that could put many of the freedoms we often take for granted at risk. Here’s what we DO know: It’s a brand new year, and that means a clean slate. We need to focus on the important stuff, care for those who need caring and fight against oppression, abuse, misogyny and unfairness whenever and wherever we see it happening. “Fight the power,” said the Isley Brothers, and that’s as good a mantra as any as we begin 2017. Happy New Year to all our friends. Hope it’s your best one yet.
Despite some unexpected weather obstacles, like frighteningly icy road conditions on Friday night, we had an amazing turnout for our 8th Annual Holiday Brasstravagaza shows, and another incredibly fun, utterly awesome time. Huge super-sized thanks to our friends who performed with us, some of whom were first-timers: Al Holliday, Matt Henry, Ben Reece, Emily Wallace, Big Mike Aguirre, Eric Lysaght, Jerry Jost, Steve Ewing, Roland Johnson, Phil Wright, Derick Tramel, Bob Bennett, Matt Brinkmann and Miss Mimi Le Uke. Y’all were unbelievable. Thanks to Captain Spaulding and Bart for making us sound good. And to Triple Jam Productions for the outrageous lighting. Thanks to our MCs, Chris Denman and Travis Terrell from We Are Live on 590 for working up the crowd, and to Josh Wattler for doing pretty much whatever we needed him to do. Thanks to Crystal Rolfe, Eric Nemens and Madison Thorn for their photography skills (we’ll post photos soon). Thanks to Steve Pohlman and the staff at Off Broadway for accommodating us and hosting the best holiday party of the season, and to Urban Chestnut Brewing Company for sponsoring the whole dang thing. Big shout-out to drummer Ron Sikes, who missed Friday’s show after spending 7 hours stuck on an unmoving I-55, to percussionist Matt Henry for saving the day by filling in on drums, and to sax player Austin Cebulske for missing Saturday due to what appeared to be a bum appendix. Saving the biggest thanks of all for the folks who braved the elements to join us and showed us so much love and support. You are why we keep doing this crazy stuff. Already looking forward to Brasstravaganza 9. Happy Holidays from the Funky Butt Brass Band.
It’s never too early to think about the holidays. Just ask anyone in retail who insists upon putting up their Christmas decorations in October. But this is the time of year we get ready for our annual Holiday Brasstravaganza, which will take place at Off Broadway on December 16th and 17th. This is the eighth time we’ve put on this holiday-bash-and-pajama-party, and we’re just as excited now as we were with the seven that have come before. Why, you might say we’re like a kid at Christmas! As always, we’ll have special guests joining us onstage — Al Holliday, Emily Wallace, Big Mike Aguirre, Ben Reece, Matt Brinkmann, Matt Henry, Derick Tramel, Phil Wright, Steve Ewing (Friday), Roland Johnson (Saturday), Eric Lysaght (Friday), Jerry Jost (Saturday), Bob Bennett and our favorite ukulele-playing burlesque vixen, Miss Mimi Le Uke. Plus a visit from Santa Claus and all the trappings that make our holidays shows so damned special. We’ll be gifting you with more details soon, and we hope you’ll join us for one or both shows in December. These shows have sold out in the past, so why wait? Get your tickets here.
Probably not like this. We’re excited to announce our upcoming “Covered In Brass” set, October 15th at the Broadway Oyster Bar, where we will play an entire set devoted to the music of Huey Lewis & The News. Most, if not all, of your favorite sing-along 80s hits from San Francisco’s favorite sons, done with a decidedly FBBB twist. We’ll be joined onstage by harmonica dervish Phil Wright, baritone sax stud Derick Tramel and keyboard maestro Dave Grelle. If you have heart and soul, realize it’s hip to be square and are constantly doing it all for your baby, we hope to see you for “Covered In News” at the Broadway Oyster Bar on October 15th.
It’s not unusual for us to have friends join us onstage from time to time, and our annual holiday show is a virtual cornucopia of guest artists (appropriate for the season). But on August 12th and 13th, we had a big ol’ bash at Jazz At The Bistro, billed as a backyard BBQ with Funky Butt Brass Band and Friends. We were joined by the inimitable Al Holliday on keys, Phil Wright on harmonica, Derick Tramel on baritone sax, and Bob Bennett on tenor sax. As if that wasn’t enough star power, the lovely and talented Emily Wallace jumped onstage for a few tunes as well, including a one-time-only duet with our Aaron Chandler on a…wait for it…Kenny Chesney song. You can hear the results here. Give a listen!
You’ll see some new stuff at our upcoming shows – a new lineup of super-cool FBBB stickers and t-shirts are coming to the merch table. We hope you’ll pick something up next time you’re within earshot of the band. It’s an easy way to show your support and we appreciate it (and you) very much.
We performed a tribute to the late great artist Prince Rogers Nelson on Saturday, May 21st at the Broadway Oyster Bar (you can check it out on our Listen & Buy page here), and we couldn’t be more grateful for all the folks who came out to share Prince’s music with us. Thanks so much! Special thanks to our soundman Captain Spaulding for his aural expertise, Jake Elking for supplying all the purple keyboard funk, Jon (Cowboy) Courtney for the delicious lighting vibe, and Brett Johnson of the BOB for helping us promote the gig. Most of all, otherworldly gratitude to Prince himself, for providing so much amazing music to the soundtrack of our lives and a spirit that will live on long past his physical existence on this plane. RIP to the Purple One and blessings to all who loved what he brought to the world.
Lots of new gigs are magically appearing on our calendar, and we hope you’ll check them out and make plans to come see us. We’re very excited about the approaching warm weather. learning new tunes, growing with newest members Austin and Cody, as well as the possible arrival of a new record in the not too distant future. Sign up for our email list, and we’ll occasionally pop a message into your inbox letting you know when and where we’ll be. The possibilities are endless. Come share them with us!
The end of 2015 is behind us now, and it’s time to look forward to the year ahead. But we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that the New Year is bringing some changes. Sousaphonist and founding member Matt Brinkmann is moving on, and we wish him the very best. We call Matt “The Quiet Storm,” and he’s been solid as a rock, holding down the low end with incredible precision and great athleticism, without a doubt the hardest working member of the band. He may stand in the back, often unnoticed apart from that gigantic brass instrument he’s holding, but he has been the literal foundation of the band since we began back in 2008. The photo above (by Crystal Rolfe) shows a passing of the torch — or in this case, the sousaphone wreath from our holiday shows — to new addition Cody Henry, who will slide into Matt’s spot in the back extremely capably and well-prepared. We are sad to see Matt go, without question, but we are pumped about the prospect of Cody in the band. And Matt will continue to fill in from time to time, so you’ll likely see him onstage with us again in the near future. But as the near future approaches, we’re excited to see what surprises it may have in store for us.
We’re excited to play New Year’s Eve at our home base, the Broadway Oyster Bar. Come early for a great Creole dinner and stick around as we send 2015 packing with a big brass bash. For reservations, call (314) 621-8811. Tickets are just $15, a mere pittance for the memories you’ll make and the dancing you’ll do.