Friday, 19 June 2015

B-Funk All-Stars

The day of our first jam had arrived and I was ecstatic. I headed over to Pauly's with Mike & Mike, and we were surprised by the turnout. Apparently I wasn't the only one excited for this impromptu jam session. Everybody got their gear set up and arranged and we were ready to make some music. 

Greg from Demon Barf was on drums, Mike Myre was on bass, Mike C and Pauly were on guitars, Dave was using a CD player to drop in samples, Eric had brought his trumpet, Justin was on bongos, Kev from Demon Barf was on the turntables, another fellow had brought his saxophone, and yours truly held the microphone in hand.

Pauly set up a blank 45 minute cassette in his boombox and hit record, we were off. The jam consisted of slower, funky grooves, making it easy for me to freestyle and making it easy in general for everyone to play along with each other. We were busting out some sweet sounds, and despite the large number of us, everything was blending together nicely.

When the 45 minute tape reached it's end, Paul flipped it to the other side and hit record once again. We were having so much fun that the time just flew right by. In the blink of an eye we had been jamming for 90 minutes and we had filled the tape. Everyone was stoked about the jam session, so we decided to have another one ASAP.

Our new super group needed a name, and I believe it was Mike C. who came up with "The B-Funk All-Stars" the B standing for Brampton. It was an ode to The P-Funk All-Stars, a classic old funk band comprised of members from Parliament and Funkadelic. Granted our funk was a bit more rap oriented, but we all loved the name. It was settled, we were now known as The B-Funk All-Stars.

Ice Cube had recently put out his latest album "Lethal Injection" which was mediocre at best compared to his previous releases, but I was listening to it a lot regardless. The album was very P-Funk influenced, and it even featured one of their members George Clinton, known for his hit song "Atomic Dog" There were a few songs that influenced and inspired me to write some lyrics down, as to have some lyrical content for our next jam. The song "Bop Gun" led me to write "Pot Gun" and I also wrote my own version of "One Nation Under A Groove" as well as a few other songs who's titles escape me at the moment.

The next week we were back at Pauly's to jam again, and even more people showed up this time. If someone had an instrument, they brought it. We also had a few friends show up just so they could sit and watch the jam session. Pauly had the tape recorder queued up once again, and we were all ready to make more groovy funky tunes. Having brought lyrics this time around made my life a bit easier, and we actually started to structure some songs.

Every week we would jam, and it was always a mystery as to who would show up. Paul made a point of recording our jams every week, his philosophy being that we could go back and listen to them for ideas. We could take the best parts and use them for creating songs. I personally thought it was a genius idea. 

To be quite honest, I was just thrilled to be making music again, even if it was just for fun, as we really weren't trying to go anywhere with this, it was merely a creative outlet for a bunch of musicians who were not currently playing in bands. Everyone was having fun, nobody was taking things too seriously, and there really was no right or wrong. People just played whatever they wanted and whatever made them feel good. These were truly some magical jams, that unbeknownst to me were leading up to something special...

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