Monday, 29 June 2015

Black Belt is born

We continued our weekly open jams at Pauly's place, and it was always a blast, as you just never knew who would show up with what instrument. Some weeks we had more people, some weeks we had less people, but we always had a great time regardless. As per usual Paul would record every jam.

After a few months our group started to dwindle down a bit, to the point where there was now just six of us showing up on a regular basis. Those six people being myself on the mic, Paul & Mike C. on guitars, Mike Myre on bass, Gregg on drums, and Kevin Evans on the turntables. Our jams were starting to get a bit more structured now, and we were actually writing some songs. 

Now that we had dropped from an average of 12 guys to 6 guys, I no longer felt like "The B-Funk All Stars" was a suitable name for us, so I began to brain storm. I had recently rekindled my relationship with old Kung fu movies that I was very fond of as a child, so I now spent a lot of time watching old Bruce Lee films & Shaw Brothers films. Pauly noticed my interest in these films, so one day he grabbed me a VHS from Zellers where he was working. The name of the video was "Bruce Lee & Kung Fu Mania"

The tape consisted of a short documentary on Lee, perhaps 45 minutes in length or so, which was quite interesting and informative, but the rest of the tape was where the real magic laid. Two hours of movie trailers showcasing every classic Kung-Fu title under the sun. Epic films like The Chinatown Kid, The Five Deadly Venoms, Master of the Flying Guillotine, and many, many more. 

There was a trailer for one movie in particular I had seen ages ago that I had totally forgotten about, a martial arts/blaxploitation film entitled "Black Belt Jones" starring an actor named Jim Kelly, most famously known for his role in Bruce Lee's "Enter The Dragon" Jim was also in a few other films such as "The Tattoo Connection" and "Hot Potato" which was the sequel to Black Belt Jones. After rediscovering this film I was feeling very inspired. I felt like the music we were making was quite parallel to the feel and the attitude of Black Belt Jones. 

It was then that I made the realization this could serve as a great band name, but it needed some spicing up. My first idea for a new band name was "Black Belt Jones & The Five Deadly Venoms" myself representing Jones, and the other five guys representing the Deadly Venoms. All the guys loved the name, as did I, but shortly after I felt like it was too much Kung-Fu referencing and not enough reference to funk, which was what we were all about.

I started to brain storm again, and it didn't take long before a new name came to mind; Black Belt Jones & The Furious Five. "The Furious Five" was a reference/homage to "Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five" one of the first rap groups to emerge on the scene in the early 80's. The name was perfectly fitting, as it embraced the combination of two major influences, Kung fu & old-school rap music. Once again, all the guys were on board with the name. We even came up with a new genre name for the music we were creating...
"Kung-Funk" We also started referring to Pauly's place as "Kung-Funk Studios" even though it wasn't a legit recording studio.

Our journey had brought as all to an interesting crossroad. What started as a group of guys jamming simply because they loved music, had now evolved into something real. Our ball of momentum was now rolling on strong and nothing could get in the way of it.

Or so I thought...

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