"It's not about what the ingredients look like or how they smell, it is about the care and attention that you put into it that makes it so tasty." (Ama/Mamo)
It all came down that one afternoon in the Spring of 2004. ClusterFunk had been playing in and around Central, East and South Texas, along with brief excursions into Louisiana Country, for the better part of 3 years. During this time, ClusterFunk was an upstart four piece funk,soul,blues...you get the picture...band. As is typical for the parts, ClusterFunk went through guitar players much like they drink their Keystones on a Sunday...Fast and LOUD!...(ClusterFunk found "El Chango Blanco" in early 2002, but we will get to that later.) Then early in the spring of '04, ClusterFunk lost a dear and close friend, their original bassist Brad Segal...(as a side note, he just got married) It was then that Alex Felan, (organ/rhodes) John Graham, (drums) and Pat Kelly (guitar) decided that ClusterFunk was about to go "three piece." Believe it, yes indeed, somebody decided Alex could pump the bass grooves on the organ or the rhodes with the left hand and also cover organ lines and rhodes parts with his right. Then, when nobody was looking, he was going to continue singing as well. John Graham, who we must take time now and let you know that he is a Louisiana boy and we can't always take responsibility for his actions, looked around and decided that it was high time he "Bust down this damn kit!" He left nothing but the bass, snare and a couple of those shiny loud things...oh, and a cow bell. Pat "El Chango Blanco" looked up and let everybody know right then and there that he was going to keep on playing his electric guitar and would use his brand new, old, vintage, classic amp...enough said. You see El Chango is very large and he plays the guitar as if he stands on the mountain tops.
All three are musicians that have been playing in one form or another all their lives. Drawing on the basic lessons of melody, time, space and improvisation the new ClusterFunk set out to play and develop a new sound while preparing their debut cd as well. "We knew that we wanted to continue playing groove oriented music. Music that you can dance or sit in a chair, car, whatever and just groove to. You know, really get the neck and head going. But at the same time, we wanted to have a good open and raw blues/rock feel when the time came."(AF)
"Songs From the Satchel", their debut release, allowed them the freedom to take it further than ever imagined. "Can You Feel It?" starts the CD off with the pulse and groove that you will find when you see this three piece come alive on stage. "Being a three piece allows us to hear more space and feel it as well. We are able to play and complement each other with out it getting out of hand. We are able to pump out the sound but you are always aware of the beat, you know, always able to break it down to the bare essentials. Makes for an amazing sound." (JG)
ClusterFunk moves in and out of styles freely with out pause. "Little Things," is a funky, raggae cut that sounds only like ClusterFunk can make it. Taking bits and pieces from the Police and...mainly the Police, this is ClusterFunk's dish for the crowd to take in. Smooth old fashioned R&B is present with "Smooth Shaker." Based on a melody from Melvin Sparks entitled "Texas Twister," It is everyman's song about that one girl you meet that wipes away the memory of the most beautiful girl you had ever seen the night before. Great classic R&B feel.
"At the heart of ClusterFunk is the desire to play and create on stage for all to see. "We love bringing out a new song and just jamming it. Play it again and again and never let any one know what it is. It is our own little thing. We use it to get from one song to the next, we use it to prolong a song while giving the crowd a new feel to dance to. Then when someone asks, 'Hey, what was that?' you are stuck with trying to give them a name." (PK)
"Ode de' mama" is that song. The only instrumental on the CD, "Ode de' mama" satisfies the jam sweet tooth and let's the band move you and shake you just the way you like. "Stride" is the raw rock, blues song that shows off the "front porch" ClusterFunk style. The CD closes with "Set Me Free." This is a self reflecting piece that pieces all the parts together and tells the story of a man at his end, looking for a little help to get on his way.
ClusterFunk and "Songs From the Satchel," are here to make you move. You can't go wrong.
Like the saying about the ingredients, look past the two white dudes and the pasty, white Mexican, the proof is in the tasty chops that you get when it is all put together...ClusterFunk like...you know?