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Employees of Funk

Members

David

AKA Funkasaurus Rex AKA Harambe's Djembes AKA Funk and Funk Associates (We Funk For You!)

I have no idea how I got here... this is like a good nightmare. These guys are good to me, their grooves are good, and they give me fun projects to work on. I do miss my family though. Can you tell them that I love them and that I hope we can see each other again? I'm a little scared.

Influences: Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, Roy Hargrove and his RH Factor, Lettuce, Vulfpeck, No BS! Brass

What we would talk about:
I'd ask them
-How is the outside world these days? I don't see much light anymore: the basement I'm kept in is pretty much devoid of it.
-What kept you going on with ideas/musical upbringing/existing?
-Where am I?
-Can you call my family?

What do I do outside?
-Nothing. I don't go outside. The guys say there is a cruel world out there and that I should stay in my locker until the second coming. I'm afraid.

Sam

Known aliases: Hot Air Balloon, Marty Grah, David

Sam grew up on the lean mean streets of the suburbs of Philadlephia. Hardened by his hatred for morning swim practice and softened by his love for long walks with fluffy dogs, Sam developed an appreciation for all things funk.

Sam's primary early influences include Chuck Gottesman, Uan Rasey, and Jon Faddis.

If he met them, Sam would probably ask them "hey, how's it going?"

When I'm not proverbially staring into the pitch black void that is the human existence, I enjoy skiing, motorcycling and most of all, eating.

Josh

Stage Aliases (AKAs): Qui Gon Gin and Tonic, Soul Vaccination, The D

Hailing from Columbus, OH, my major musical influences early on were the poetic stylings of The Backstreet Boys and Blink 182. Since this time I have been fortunate enough to experience music making on my own and on a plethora of platforms, realizing that there is more to life than a pair of skinny jeans. I tend to be attracted to thick and round sounds or something that just makes me groove. I am convinced that brass instrument playing is both the key to world peace and self-destruction.

Who are some of your non-classical/pop music influences? Fortunately my influences are multifaceted and allow me to identify as a musician, listener and overall enthusiast. I believe that all music has a place in everyone's life and should be appreciated for being so diverse. I always have my go-to artists, or people I have not really stopped listening to over the years. Jazz innovators such as Dizzy Gillespie and Clifford Brown, sInger-songwriters like Elton John and Tracy Chapman, electronic artists like Big Gigantic, and funk acts like Tower of Power, Lettuce, James Brown and Snarky Puppy. Loud brass music is always a good thing, but only when it's worth listening to. Live music is extremely important to me, as it is the foremost medium for bringing communities together. Orchestral music touches another part of my life entirely, and should be embraced by all ages and cultures.

What do you for fun/work in your alternate life when you aren't shredding as [AKA name]? My life is awesome and super active. I like hiking the mountains of the United states, drinking beer from all over the world, learning about international cuisine, trying out the new Thai restaurant in town, body building, going to music festivals and live shows, traveling the world with my camera and meeting all kinds of different people.

Khristopher

Stage Aliases (AKAs): Toph Love, The Matthews, Puff Puff Smash Bro

It all started in the early 90's in Jamaica Queens. Back when boom boxes and denim were all the rage, I came out toasting from the womb. Dad liked old school hip hop and reggae bangers on his sound system, and my mom was partial to soul ballads and what would become R&B classics of the mid 90s. On my own I discovered a taste for cool jazz, funk, and orchestral brass. Altogether this pointed me to a new-school type of Motown, New Orleans garnished, brass flavor that is yours truly,

Toph Love

Who are some of your non-classical/pop music influences? - Micheal Jackson, Prince, The Skatalites, The Wailers, Snarky Puppy, John Legend, Trombone Shorty, Weather Report, Wycliffe Gordon, and too many others.

If you could play with and talk to one of these groups or artists, what would you ask or say to them? - The only thing I could think to say to members of Snarky Puppy is how fun it looks to be them on stage. I actually once got to chat with Micheal League briefly after a set in a small bar show and I could see the sweat from the bass-loving he just did in stage.

What do you for fun/work in your alternate life when you aren't shredding as TophLove/TheMatthews? - Something i really enjoy outside of playing trombone is singing and playing piano. Long after my lips are on fire from the day's tromboning I can sit, play and sing for hours. I'm also a longtime console gamer, favoring platformers, RPGs, fighting games, and basically any Mario universe game. I've recently taken to competing in Super Smash Bros. tournaments in Pittsburgh, as the scene here is pretty stacked with good players (hence the origin of one of my stage names.)

Boss Ross

Abandoned as a child in the streets of Tokyo Boss Ross grew up an urchin, fighting to survive. At the time he was known only as Ross he was adopted by a member of the Funk Yakuza. He began as any peon would taking on dangerous gigs to spread the funk all across the city. His dedication to all things funk drove him to the top where he was crowned Boss Ross of the Funk Yakuza. He decided that this was not enough. He decided that Tokyo could not contain his funkiness. He traveled the seas and descended upon Pittsburgh to spread the funk, the whole funk, and nothing but the funk.

Influenced heavily by Michael Jackson, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Maceo Parker, Herbie Hancock, The Brecker Brothers.

I spend my other time as a freelance trombonist and play with a classical chamber group, The Brass Roots. In my free time i enjoy movie watching, video gaming, sports watching and exploring all Pittsburgh has to offer.

Bryan

My name is Bryan and I play the bass trombone.

Jack

AKA Wu Tang Financial AKA Ol' Jackson AKA Lumberjackson AKA The Big Tubowksi

The tale of Ol' Jackson begins hundreds of years ago in the low wetlands of the old world funk freaks, Holland. Lumberjackson is a descendant of the greatest Meester Funk Grov Fantastich those clog stompers have ever known. He and his sons roamed the land entertaining the country folk, leading to the Great Funk Renaissance in Amsterdam, a golden age of many generations.

Wu Tang Financial's personal journey began in Philadelphia, raised to respect the eye of the tiger and to hire Denzel when you need legal advice. The Big Tubowski came to the City of Bridges after a honing his craft in the Great Rocky Mountains, and he humbly is here to present you with his Grov.

Influences: Bobby Mcferrin, Jaco Pastorius/Weather Report, The Roots, Ke$ha, Esperanza Spalding, Bon Iver, Johnny Cash, Alt-J, Kid Cudi, John Legend, Christian Mcbride, Bootsy Collins, Youngblood Brass Band, this list is getting long

What would we talk about? Depends on who Im talking too. It be so cool to do a round table with Christian Mcbride, Jaco, Esperanza, and Bootsy about groove. Man I want that! But talking about their music, and what made them groove and get people going would be amazing with any of these artists.

What do you do outside? Im a freelance musician in Pittsburgh, exploring how a big hunk of metal makes it in a steel town. I'm an avid soccer fan and pretend FIFA Legend, longtime supporter of the Tottenham Hotspur.

Nick

Funkier nick/Dr.Beatz/stick n two kicks

Grew up in Houston, TX. My moms a bit country and my dads a bit rock in roll. I'm stuck in the middle, post good MTV days, listening to whatever CD I could find that had a parental advisory sticker on it. Spent many hours in high school looking through labels catalogues to figure out what's new and interesting. After going to college, I've reimagined and redefined my tastes, definitions, and aspiration with music many times over. I pursued orchestral and contemporary percussion performance, keeping drum set largely learned by rote - I was too afraid to formalize what lit the first fire for my love of music. My appreciation for music and performing though has always grown, rarely shrinking. An influential professor told me to "cultivate a beginners mind". I really take that to heart.

Influences - the sounds of the streets and culture of Houston, Texas. All of the rap, funk, soul, and blues I both actively and passively listened to growing up. I tried to emulate what I heard on the stereo and my friends who all had gospel chops at the time. It's all music to me man, and it all serves different purposes. I try to keep my ears open and absorb music like the flavors of a home cooked meal. Typically McD's isn't what I'm after, but sometimes it's what ya eat, ya dig?

What would I say/if I could ask: I would ask them all if I could buy a beer. There's too much to say or talk about with any of them to narrow it down. I wouldn't be looking from a sound bite from any of them or a quote to put in my "favorite quotes" portion of my Facebook. I would just want to reciprocate the joy of music they've all shared, crack a few jokes, and hopefully walk away going "he/she is a really good person". Interesting people make interesting art.

For fun - I like to keep my dreams big so my social life is small: Family, friends, cars, and video games. Pretty much in that order.