The Budos Band
“Really?” asks visibly annoyed Budos Band bassist Dan Foder, as one of his bandmates accidentally shatters a bottle of Budweiser on the concrete next to the band’s van. “They’re gonna kick us outta here before we even play!”
We’re hanging out at a public park in Pasadena, California, a few hours before the Staten Island “Afro-Soul” ensemble is scheduled to perform a free show in support of their new album, The Budos Band III. But while the Budos Band’s funky instrumental grooves fit in well with the rest of their Daptone Records brethren, the pre-show scene around their van is closer to something out of Dazed and Confused, with a bunch of hairy dudes quaffing warm beer, taking stealthy hits off a packed pot pipe, and cranking ’70s hard rock on the stereo.
eMusic’s Dan Epstein temporarily interrupted their hesher reverie in order to get opinions from Foder, drummer Brian Profilio and percussionist John Carbonella, Jr. on some funky tracks old and new.
Dan Foder: Yeah, we know this one; that’s Mulatu, man. That’s a good one. We love this shit!
Brian Profilio: Big influence on us, especially with the horns. Not so much the rhythm section, anymore, because the rhythm section’s too chill. But as far as the horn parts go, totally.
DF: Years ago, when we first started getting into all that late-’60s/early-’70s Ethiopian stuff, he was a huge influence.
BP: We don’t listen to much Ethopian stuff when we’re together on the road — the lyrics drive you fuckin ‘crazy after awhile!
DF: Volume 4 [of Ethiopiques] is all instrumental, so we used to listen to that a lot! I like 22, actually; there’s really good stuff on there.
BP: Now, we don’t even consciously use this stuff as an influence; it’s just sort of in there. When we write our horn and organ parts, they’ll naturally have an Arabic feel. The melodic elements of our band definitely come from there…oh, and the fuzz!
DF: Oh, it’s Curtis Mayfield!
BP: This song’s a party jam! Can we take this CD? [Laughs]
DF: Curtis is a big influence on me, man. My mom listened to him all the time when I was growing up; I still have her records. One of my favorite records she had was one of Major Lance, where he sings all Curtis Mayfield songs. And I love a lot of the early Impressions stuff. How can you go wrong with Curtis?
BP: The upbeat driving feel, that’s a big influence on us as a rhythm section, as opposed to the Ethiopian stuff, which is more drowsy, sort of stoned and chill. The drive and feel of this song is definitely what we’re going for. That rhythm section is killin ‘it!
DF: This is my favorite interview so far, man! [Laughs]
John Carbonella, Jr: Is this “Rock Your Baby”? “Rocking Chair”? It’s definitely Miami…
DF: John likes the Miami stuff…
That’s what this is — from their all-instrumental album The Sunshine Band.
JC: Okay, that makes sense to me, man. I like this.
BP: Once the disco element comes in, I’m out! That double hi-hat shit, the four on the floor, ugh…
BP: This sounds like a Phil Spector production…
JC: It’s definitely northern soul…
BP: There’s a pretty hardcore Latin vibe on this…
It’s Charlie Palmieri…
DF: Andy [Budos trumpeter Andrew Greene] likes this kinda shit. It’s weird; you get all these different guys that all like different shit.
BP: We all come together somewhere around 1973. But this ain’t my thing.
DF: Yeah, I’m not a Latin guy. Wait — is this a cover of “Day Tripper”?
BP: Yeah, I just realized that! It’s kind of like our version — most people don’t realize it until later on…
You guys do a backwards cover of “Day Tripper.” How did that come about?
DF: We fucked around with it a couple of times at soundcheck, and we were doing it more uptempo. It was Dave’s [Budos trumpeter Dave Guy] idea to kinda of slow it down a bit, go half-tempo.
BP: In that song, the bass and the guitar are playing the same riff together, and a lot of the Budos stuff is like that, so it was kind of a natural thing for us to do. But we went from this kinda thing into Vanilla Fudge land. [Laughs]
DF: You know, the guitar solo on this is cool!
BP: Yeah, it is a pretty cool track, actually.
BP: It’s got a real “stroll” kinda vibe. Kind of a New Orleans feel…
DF: I don’t recognize this…
It’s your labelmates…
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings — it’s from their new record.
DF: Oh, I haven’t heard their new record. [Laughs]
BP: Hahaha, we’re like, “What’s this shit?!?”
DF: It’s good, I like it! [Laughs]
BP: I feel like a lot of their earlier stuff was more syncopated and punchy, where the last two albums, it’s almost like they’ve been mellowing it out a bit more. It’s good, but not really my thing.
BP: YEAAAAAAHHHH!!!! You hit the spot, bud!
DF: Oh, yeah! This is my joint! I love shuffles, man; we don’t play shuffles, but I love shuffles! Just barroom rock, you know; just trashy-ass barroom rock!
BP: We love ’70s rock, man — anything recorded from like, ’71 to ’79, even the really shitty stuff. We got two CDs that we’ve been playing in the van — “’70s Disc One” and “70s Disc Two” mixes of stuff like this, Ted Nugent, Pentagram, Motörhead. Rainbow, Ace Frehley…
ALL: [singing along] “Just got paid today/ Got me a pocket full of change!”
DF: I don’t think there’s anything else we need to say here!