What happened to Greyboy?
San Diego’s pre-eminent acid-soul-jazz-funk-boogaloo all-star team has reunited on the road and in the studio.
On the heels of a successful tour, the original Greyboy Allstars lineup came together the studio for the first time in a decade, joining forces again with their eponymous DJ Greyboy. The result was “What Happened to Television,” the Allstars’ first collaboration with Greyboy since their 1995 debut.
“In this band I’m a completely different player than in almost any other circumstance,” guitarist and vocalist Elgin Park said in a news release. “It opened up a new world for me creatively. It was really liberating to be in the room with so many talented people and just have a good time again.”
The band recorded the new album live, without computers, capturing some of the spontaneity of a Greyboy Allstars show. The group visits the Crystal Bay Casino’s Crown Room for a pair of shows, at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 21-22.
“What we did in one week would take me two months to do of the same quality in any other situation,” said co-founder Karl Denson.
Denson and Greyboy hand-picked the Allstars in 1993. Keyboard player Robert Walter has several solo releases to his credit, leads many successful touring groups and continues to play with the Headhunters. The rhythm section of Chris Stillwell on bass and drummer Zak Najor have been playing together since their early days with Motherlode.
The band grew out of Greyboy’s gigs spinning records at the Green Circle Bar in San Diego (now defunct). He was prominent on the Allstars’ debut, “West Coast Boogaloo,” but wasn’t interested in life on the road. The band continued on around the world without him but retained the DJ’s name and spirit.
The band reunited in the studio for about a week, sharing the songwriting duties.
“No one was allowed to bring any ideas that they had in,” Park said. “We had to sit down and all create together.”
“Television” emphasizes tight songs over repetitive grooves. The finale is a cover of the Kings’ “Give the Drummer Some,” highlighting the band members individually and collectively. DJ Greyboy gets some as well, with lively cuts and scratches.
“We were trying to be morecomposition-minded, and work on songwriting and songcraft,” Walter said. “It was possible that we’d go in there and not come up with anything and be sort of stuck with a bunch of material that wasn’t really developed. But it flowed.
“The music really is a product of the group.”
If you go
Who: the Greyboy Allstars
Where: Crown Room, Crystal Bay Casino
When: doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 Friday and Saturday, March 21-22
Cost: $25 advance, $30 day of show
Tickets: http://www.crystalbaycasino.com, (775) 833-6333, or at the cashier cage