Dumpstaphunk talks trash, backs it up
Dumpstaphunk is so funky it has two bass players and two Nevilles.
Nick Daniels and Tony Hall play bass, bandleader Ivan Neville is on keyboard, his cousin Ian Neville plays guitar and Raymond Weber is the drummer.
All of the members were sidemen in various bands when they came together in 2005 to play at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
“We were having fun playing and I guess we were tired of backing other people up,” Ivan Neville said. “We figured, let’s just be a band and be our own bosses. We just bring all of our experiences together and listen to one another. That’s what makes it a cool combination.
“Another one of the factors was Katrina. We couldn’t go back to New Orleans, so we ended up playing a lot. And people were embracing New Orleans musicians at the time so it created a lot of extra work that maybe under normal circumstances wouldn’t have been as plentiful.”
Dumpstaphunk will play much of the material from its new album, “Everybody Wants Sum,” along with some of the band’s better-known older music Sunday at the Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room. Opening is Mama’s Cookin,’ Lake Tahoe Action’s 2010 Band of the Year.
“We’re gonna bring it,” Neville said. “We enjoy coming up there. We like that place. We can just stay on the premises and a couple of us are avid gamblers, card players and what not, so we enjoy that as well. So it’s always a fun time and usually a very good crowd that comes out to that place.”
Paying close attention to what the other band members are playing is critical to the Dumpstaphunk sound, especially with two bassists, Neville said.
“They both have different styles of playing and we listen to one another and that makes that work,” he said. “Nobody’s competing against one another, so when you’ve got two, one’s holding down the bottom and the other one’s doing some cool stuff, it tends to work.”
Hall also will play guitar, but Ian Neville is the primary guitarist. He plays mostly rhythm guitar, but will bust out with some solos.
Ian is the son of Art “Papa Funk” Neville, the bandleader of funk pioneers the Meters. Ivan’s father is Aaron, whose angelic voice first captured the nation’s attention with the 1966 hit “Tell it Like it Is.” Ian and Ivan’s uncles play in the Neville Brothers, which also performed recently at the Crystal Bay Casino.
While the Meters were funk innovators, Dumpstaphunk has a contrasting style with four of its five members contributing vocals.
The leader of Dumpstaphunk talked a little trash, offering to bet $100 that most bands who do instrumentals do so “because they can’t sing.”
“I’m not trying to toot our horn or anything but we sing the way most people wish they could sing,” Ivan Neville said. “We actually can sing, I ain’t gonna lie. And we incorporate it in our music.”
Dumpstaphunk’s Ivan Neville said music stars are fans too.
“We’re as big a music fans as anybody is,” he said. “That’s what makes it cool that we do what we do because we love music. We’re all music fans.”
Dumpstaphunk’s fan base includes Tahoe’s funkiest player, Trey Stone, Keith Richards and Tower of Power’s Emilio Castillo.
“I like Dumpstaphunk,” Castillo told Lake Action in February. “I’m a big fan of Ivan Neville. I like him a lot. They opened for us in Avila Beach last summer. They were an extremely good band. They were tight and had their own sound. I dug them a lot.”
“For him to say we’re his favorite band, that’s about as big a compliment as we could get from one of our favorite musicians and bands,” Neville said. “That’s beautiful.”
Neville’s priority since 2005 has been Dumpstaphunk, but he has recorded and appeared with an array of big-name artists such as the Rolling Stones, Don Henley, Bonnie Raitt, Robbie Robertson, Rufus, Paula Abdul and Delbert McClinton.
Neville in 1987 played in Richards’ band the X-Pensive Winos. Richards recently wrote an autobiography, “Life.”
“I’m in there a little bit when he talks about the Winos,” Neville said. “That was a lot of fun. Up until that point it was the absolute most fun thing I’d done, playing with Keith and those guys in the Winos. It was an amazing experience.”
Neville helped the funk band Lubriphonic, which played last year at the Crystal Bay Casino, land a big break.
Comprised of side players in blues bands, Lubriphonic had trouble getting hired to play in its hometown’s biggest festival.
“He sat in with us at the Chicago Blues Fest,” said drummer Rick King, “which was a great gig for us because as much of this blues history that I can talk about, we as a band, as Lubriphonic, had never played the Blues Fest.”
After that show, Chicago club owners decided it was all right for Lubriphonic to play funk in its blues venues, King said.
Neville said he’s always happy to jam.
“Somebody calls me and they dig what I do and think maybe I can add a little something to what their doing,” he said. “I’m always down to do that.
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