There's Hope - Deep Banana In San Diego

Fuzz of Deep Banana Blackout

Report filed 8/6/01 9:40 am PDT - Another big 3-fer here in SoCal. The action got underway with a Wednesday night funk 'fest from Deep Banana Blackout. Crossed paths with the big banana for the first time a few summers ago at a music and camping festival back east. At the time, I thought they were a good funk band. Nothing more, nothing less. OK fine, a very popular funk band. And I could see why. They're fun. Fronted by the charismatic Jen Durkin, a pint size diva with a big, powerful voice and party girl aura, DBB was all about booty shakin' grooves. And the appreciative crowd loved every minute of it.

Then came last summer's Jammy Awards in New York City. Serving as the house band, DBB showed alot more musical flexibility than I had any reason to expect from my limited exposure to their live shows. Fuzz, DBB's cool cat guitar player and band leader was particularly impressive. Solid chops and very hip. Slippin' and slidin' from one groove to the next, Fuzz blazed through a wide array of styles and sounds with the casual grace of a high priced session player. Sure, I gained alot of respect for Fuzz and the rest of the band, but it wasn't until the Gathering Of The Vibes festival the following weekend that DBB really blew me away. Not only did they play a couple of scorching sets of their own super funky tunes, they backed Merl Saunders for an outstanding set of his material! Now that really caught my attention and I've been a big fan of DBB ever since.

Hope Clayburn of Deep Banana

As DBB fans know, Jen left the band a while back and was replaced by the multitalented Hope Clayburn. Listen: Hope is a star! Nobody's got more ability, energy and sheer exuberance. Fell in love with Hope's music and vibe the first time I saw her with her old band, Baaba Seth. Equally gifted on sax and vocals, there ain't nobody with more goin' on than Hope. And I do mean nobody. So when I had my first opportunity to check out the new lineup, I made it point to be there. And I'm glad I did.

There was a good, solid crowd on hand for this midweek performance and a festive time was had by all. Funky? Sure. Soulful? You bet. Groovy? Damn straight. I can go on and on, but suffice to say that DBB is one helluva band. And they've got an outstanding new CD, Feel The Peel, on Flying Frog Records.

Flying Frog Records is a relatively new label founded by Butch Trucks of the Allman Brothers, to give exposure to the best jambands the scene has to offer. Wanna know more? Check out the wide ranging interview with Butch we did a week or two ago.

Also enjoyed a pair of shows at Winstons from a couple of new, upcoming SoCal jambands over the past couple of weeks. Food, based out of LA, sent us a copy of their fine self produced debut, Living Rooms, and our highly trained staff of new music screeners gave it glowing reviews.

Sort of a guitar driven, acid soaked, rock/fusion hybrid with multi-voiced keyboards and an occasional horn, Food's interplanetary jams translate well to the live experience. Really enjoyed Food and am looking forward to checking them out again soon.

Spinside is an even newer band. Featuring guitarist Marty Schwartz and sax phenom Jason Robinson from Wise Monkey Orchestra, Spinside's short set opening for a more established local group was high energy and very intriguing.

Of course, this performance only offered a glimpse into what Spinside is all about, but I liked what I heard. Stylistically, Spinside weaves aggressive, funky bass lines with distinctive melodies and an array of world beat rhythms into their own tapestry of sound...

If I'm not mistaken, this was only Spinside's 3rd gig, but they sure didn't sound like it. Very strong performance. It'll be fun to watch this band develop, and of course, we'll keep ya posted on Spinside's escapades as this very promising new band evolves.

Meanwhile back at the word factory: in addition to the Butch Trucks interview already mentioned, we've posted Losing Betts - The Allman Brothers High Stakes Gamble To Replace A Founding Member Pays Off, for your reading pleasure.

Also wanna give a big shout to the hardest workin' guy in the PR biz, my main man Randy Alexander, or 'Randex,' to those who know him best. Randex has just launched his new website and we're pleased as spiked punch to post a link to his very own corner of cyberspace - Check it out!

OK, that's it for now. We're working diligently on some fresh and tasty new content, and if everything clicks, we'll share it with ya next time, when our adventure in music journalism continues...