Mustache (2007) It's getting’ kind of hairy!!! The latest CD from the FunkeyMonkeys takes it to a whole new level. We’re all growing up. And on MUSTACHE, the FunkeyMonkeys first confront sticky situations like learning to swim, getting stuck in traffic, and why sweet cupcakes can be bad for you. Ah, the mysteries of life. Featuring FunkeyMonkeys Horns, Stuart ‘Froggy’ Bogie (Antibalas)and Eric Biondo, (Davey Jones, the Monkees), along with a cast of thousands. The first FunkeyMonkeys CD to be recorded at the new FM studio, ‘The Playground., in Brooklyn.
MUSTACHE is the 5th album from the acclaimed kid’s band: the FunkeyMonkeys. It features 17 all-new, orginal, and seriously funked-up kid (and kidult tunes). When Joshua Sitron first thought of the idea for FunkeyMonkeys he was writing the music for Nickelodeon's Dora the Explorer. Frustrated with the corporate constraints and agendas of big-time kids TV, he soon left to dedicate himself full-time to the monkeys. "After doing all of this children's TV work, I wanted to have some freedom from producers and executives, who are often motivated by corporate interests. "Dora" has made me some money, but "FunkeyMonkeys!" came from the heart, with the intention of spreading joy and fun. It seems that 2-year olds, and 55-year olds are equally delighted with the results".
The debut album, FunkeyMonkeys, was recorded in the Spring of 2001, and featured the vocal stylings of some of Broadway and TV's best child stars. It's Boots the monkey (a.k.a Harrison Chad) of Dora the Explorer who intones the album's opening call: "All right FunkeyMonkeys! Are you ready".
Released in the fall of 2001, "FunkeyMonkeys!" was received with wild enthusiasism by 3-year olds and 50-year olds alike. Soon after, Josh began getting requests to hire the 'monkeys' to play live. He had to explain that the 'monkeys' were a studio creation and there was actually no 'band' per se, as he played all the instruments on the record, and the 7 kids and one adult vocalist were recorded at separate times, in separate studios. Tired of having no real-life monkeys to play with onstage, Josh decided to find some.
While working on a "Jewish FunkeyMonkeys" album demo, Josh met Carey White, a teacher of music and violin at the Ramaz school on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Her zany humor and vocal/violin virtuosity gave her instant FunkeyMonkey membership.
Josh's experiences performing improv theatre led him to meet Mike Gold (a.k.a ballooniac), a hysterically funny, multi-talented, musical making, balloontwisting maniac, who actually looks like a monkey.
Finally, while taking drum lessons in his hometown of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Josh enlisted his drum teacher, 'boom boom' Brian Carter to round out the group and play skins. It turned out Brian had a killervoice, ability to play guitar and keyboards as well, and previously had made his living as a public school music teacher.
The FunkeyMonkeys band made their live stage debut on Sep. 7th, 2003 at Makor on the Upper West side of Manhattan. Described as a "The Wiggles meets Curb Your Enthusiasm" the show incorporated funny sketches and improvised bits, along with their unique brand of truly funky kid's music. Involving elements like the Muppet Show's breaking of the 4th wall, Saturday Night Live's combination of comedy and music, and Moulin Rouge's freedom to mix and match original and cover music in medleys and mish mash, the show was such a hit, they were instantly asked to perform on an ongoing basis.
The next two years saw the additions of bandmembers Stuart Bogie and Eric Biondo, horn players from the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra. These guys have played with everyone from Wu Tang Clan, to Davey Jones's Monkees, and it was time for them to lend their deep funk to the FunkeyMonkeys.
In October 2007, the FunkeyMonkeys will be performing every weekend Off-Broadway at the Daryl Roth Theater in New York City's Union Square.
1) THIS IS THE BASS – an introduction to the instruments in the form of a Breeders meets Sly Stone electric bass riff. Monkey Mike exclaims, “What is this?”, as he inquires about each instrument. And you can bet he learns what they are.
2) MICHAEL’S BICYCLE – Afropop comes to kids music. A driving Afrobeat propels this recording, which will make you feel as if you are actually cruising down the road atop a bicycle seat. The track was co-written and produced by Stuart ‘Cousin Froggy’ Bogie; member of both the FunkeyMonkeys and Brooklyn’s famous Antibalas Afro-beat Orchestra. The groove somewhere between the pure Afro-pop of Antibalas and the disco-fied Afro-beat of Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson. The track features Antibalas lead singer Amayo as well.
3) THE SWIMMING SONG – Loudon Wainwright III penned this classic 70’s funky folk tune, which expresses at once, the joy and fear summoned up when people take to the water. Ironic, dark, fun, and utterly the experience of kids when they begin to swim. Lead vocals by young Andrew Salazar. The song was recently featured in the ‘Squid and the Whale’, and coincidentally was originally included on Loudon’s album ‘Attempted Mustache’.
4) MUSTACHE – co-produced and written by Greg McKenna, member of electro-pop band, Enon. The beat is reminiscent of a Casio keyboard suddenly possessed by the spirit of Ace of Base. McKenna and FunkeyMonkeys leader Josh Sitron met as neighbors in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg, and discovered their common interest in music while admiring each other’s mustaches. It’s getting kind of hairy. Who needs a beard when you can have a mustache?
5) LOVER’S CONCERTO – First there was the Minuet in G by Bach. Then the early 60’s, a girl group named The Toys set it to lyrics. This was referenced in ‘Mr. Holland’s Opus’. Now the FunkeyMonkeys cover that version, in an updated disco-tech. Biondo’s trumpet rings out clear in the solo, and Monkey Carey’s stretching her range as the song goes through key change after key change. Is she becoming younger as the song goes on?
6) MISCONCEPTIONS – Written by Gail Hadani (hi-fashion photographer, opera singer, and Aunt of Monkey Carey White), Misconceptions is the lament of 4 particular animals who feel they’ve been prejudged and misunderstood. Haven’t we all. It first appeared in an original musical written and directed by Hadani at the Ramaz School in Manhattan.
7) WHEN ARE WE GONNA BE THERE – written by Eric Biondo and adapted from his band ‘Beyondo’s song ‘Your Daughter’, WHEN ARE WE GONNA BE THERE was conceived while trapped in traffic on NYC’s west side highway returning to Brooklyn after a FunkeyMonkeys show. ‘I wanna glass of water’ was all Stuart ‘Cousin Froggy’ Bogie could think to sing at the time.
8) HOW YA GONNA KNOW – Inspired by a certain Johnny Cash/Elvis rockabilly, HOW YA GONNA KNOW seeks to answer the big question of ‘WHY’? And answers accurately, I don’t know. No one knows. It’s all a big mystery. Why don’t we sing about it.
9) THE FAIRY FOREST – written and performed by 9-year-old Mirand Hoyt-Disick. Fairies don’t exist. Right? But what if they did? What if they do?!
10) HOW DOES THIS MAKE YOU FEEL? – Also referred to as ‘SCARY MUSIC’, this improvised bit involves Monkey Josh noddling on his keyboard and inspiring all sorts of emotions in Monkey Mike who becomes scared, happy, scared again, inspired, confused and finally, tired. The power of music.
11) THE MUMMY’S MOMMY – Everyone had a mommy. Even monsters have mommies. Do the mommy’s of mummies make milk and cookies? Yes, they do. Inspired when Monkey Josh’s cousins Sammy and Jackie wrapped each other in toilet paper and Jackie exclaimed, “Mommy! Sammy’s a mummy! Sammy’s a mummy!”,
12) EVERYBODY HATES TO PUT ON THEIR JACKET – Self explanatory. Conceived by Abby Miller Peciorello, and written with Monkey Josh. Cousin Froggy sings lead with Banana, Lily Shoretz.
13) CUPCAKE – It’s sweet, delicious, and so fun. But it will make you fat, sick, and depressed. Such is life. Written in a spirited samba mambo. Stuart ‘Cousin Froggy’ Bogie rocks the clarinets and saxamaphones, and Josh holds down the guitars and piano, with Monkey Carey telling the tale. Originally conceived by Ingri Von Bergen and co-written with Monkey Josh, Robert Bryn, and Andrew Hammer.
14) BOINGY HABANERA – Georges Bizet’s classic tune from the opera Carmen, arranged for mouth harp, banjo, whistling, and assorted boings and bangs.
15) ONE SOCK OFF AND ONE SOCK ON – Monkey Josh wrote this song with his wife Jenn, when after an exhausting day, he could only manage to remove one sock before sinking in to the couch. When asked why had only one sock on, he could only reply, “It’s a mystery. Nobody Knows”. 6 months later, the track was the first recording in the new FunkeyMonkeys studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Featuring bass harmonica, 12-string electric guitar, and everything else you would ever want in a rockin’ 60’s surf/ superhero epic. Jenn Sitron reprises her role as the questioning spouse on the record, along with bananas Rosie Yadid and Lily Shoretz.
16) I WISH I WAS A MONKEY – In a depressed moment, Cousin Froggy (Stuart Bogie) wrote and sings with great pathos, ‘I Wish I Was A Monkey’; A rootsy country--rock ballad in the tradition of Wilco, The Band, and Muppet Show ballads. Froggy plays his own sax solo accompaniment on the record.
17) I COULDN’T DO IT WITHOUT YOU – Free Jazz Monster Dave Treut wrote the chorus to this tune, because he thought it would be a “fun thing to sing in a bar.” Josh thought it would fun to sing anywhere and collaborated with Dave on the FunkeyMonkeys version, which is an ode to connection, togetherness, and dedicated to everyone in the room. A GREAT sing-a-long number.