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Smell It: Rubber Skunk Does Funk Fusion

Photo by David Norbut

True to their name, Rubber Skunk is a rubber band in the land of funk.

Irrepressible, and yet capable of holding down a variety of genres – funk, progressive rock, reggae, experimental rock – is what the four-piece group is about.

The band, comprised of Grant Fisher (guitar, vocals), Tommy Mintel (drums), Jordan Vincent (keys, vocals), and Bob DiGiacomo (bass), began four years ago at the University of Delaware.

In their words:

Two renegade engineering students got together possessing only a big, loud drum kit, an orange Les Paul, and the desire to take music into the future. They started rehearsing in a small, hot, third floor bedroom and woodshedding some funky vibrations the world had yet to experience. Soon enough, a suspicious psychology student conducting research on “the blowing of minds,” and a 6-foot-4-inch, 350-lb, mean-looking guy, caught a whiff of something in the sonic kingdom that was being jolted around and hopped on. The former would become the bands keyboardist/vocalist, and the latter its filthy bass player.

Two years later, after graduating, “the Skunks, having hoarded their nuts, migrated to their current base in Manhattan, New York,” reads their website bio.

In the big city they began an ongoing journey that has included a debut at Sullivan Hall, multiple performances at Funk Fest, and the making of new music. The group will officially spread their “strangely addicting odor” in January 2012, with the release of a self-titled album.

Find out what the self-described “funk fusion” band had to say about their forthcoming album, mathcore, and Lindsay Lohan below…

 

Describe the music of Rubber Skunk in less than three words (not rubber or skunk).
Massive. Lesbian. Orgy.

Tell us about the forthcoming album.
Rubber Skunk’s debut album is a collection of 12 songs written over the past three years that are designed to pleasantly agitate your molecular self. After repeated listening, the waves will realign your configuration to a funkier state of being. The Skunks recorded at Rough Magic Studios in Brooklyn (MGMT, Vampire Weekend, Black Star, Soulive), where guests such as Nigel Hall and Maurice Brown dropped in to lay down tasty features on several of the tracks.

We banged out the skeletons to 12 tracks in two days, in one incredible weekend, and then overdubbed and mixed the entire album ourselves. This album is truly the product of the band and only the band through and through. Rubber Skunk will be released Jan. 14, 2012, but you will be able to pre-order and have a copy of the first pressing of the album mailed to you before the release through the Rubber Skunk website. We have also released two singles, and will release two more by the time the record becomes available to the public. The tracks are called “The New Instafunk” and “Wolfwoman.” Look for “Faug Tossers” coming late this week!

Listeners of our album can expect a wide range of songs, intended to be experienced in the chronological arc in which the album presents them. Every sonic detail has been meticulously pored over, and our goal is to deliver you some awesome grooves and compositions, while challenging your ears and perception at the same time. The album is a pretty even split between comedy and drama.

*Pat Dougherty has been recording the album creation process for a Rubber Skunk documentary. Watch the teaser here.

Not many young musicians are making funk music these days, do you think that adds to or takes from your appeal as a band? Furthermore, why have you chosen this genre?
We started out cruising on ’22s down the 24-carat, technicolor road of funk, and will always have that element infused in what we do. However, we have developed into more of an experimental rock band over the past year.

Some songs on the album are completely devoid of any funk elements, opting for explorations in texture or an adventurous foray into a completely different style of music. One of the tracks “Tico” is based on afro-cuban rhythms, with lyrics in Spanish. The first track on the album, “I am I think” is a dreamy reggae beat with progressive rock elements. As for the latter part of your question, I don’t think genre dictates your level of success no matter what it is. The unique appeal and star power of individual performers, the entertainment value of shows, and proper promotion have more to do with a group’s potential mass appeal than genre, as far as I’m concerned. Unless you’re a mathcore band or something, that shit sucks.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
We are all different in our process and draw inspiration from different places, but we all share a love of hitting and then riding on a nice groove, pushing the limits of the aural experience through calculated and chaotic experimentation, playing loudly, and of course funk rhythms.

Who would be someone you’d like to work or tour with, old or new?
We would be great with big festival bands or jam bands like The Allman Brothers, Phish, Ween, Medeski Martin & Wood, Umphrey’s McGee, and could even play with bands like the Mars Volta or Primus. More locally and realistically in the next couple years: Soulive, Lettuce, The Roots.

Where do you hope to be, as a band, five years from now? Are you in this for the long haul?
Moving the lens ahead five years will probably see each of us on different continents. My angle goes like this (Jordan): I’m traveling around Asia headlining “D” grade venues, scavenging the few remaining scraps of east Asiatic public interest leftover from Rubber Skunk’s one-hit single.

Four years prior, that single propelled the band to superstardom, almost immediately after which initiating an equally steep decline both in the band’s musical career and personally. When the dust settled, I found myself holding bets at an unlicensed kickboxing circuit in Thailand, which barely supported my opium addiction, and wondering where it all went wrong in the crazed blackout that was the year following our hit single.

I will tell hollow, but glorious still, stories about playing Madison Square Garden with Jay-Z and being at the party where Lindsay Lohan OD’d in Beverly Hills during the summer of ‘13 to wide-eyed, third-world, wannabe westerners, a small group of whom will idolize me zealously. Most of the community shuns me in disgust. As far as any people are concerned that were part of my “old life,” I died a long time ago. That kind of scenario is, I think, really what we’re in the game for.

Give people, who have never listened your music and do not like rubber or skunks, one good reason why they should listen to your music.
Good people, this is FREE ENTERTAINMENT! Become part of the community! We are constantly sharing the latest and greatest morsels the sonic world has to offer, come share some of yours with us! Help feed the collective consciousness and let us grow together into a grand and unexpected form.

Also, for a limited time, if you don’t like any Rubber Skunk content you find online, we will refund the time you spent watching it! Simply drop us a letter detailing why you didn’t enjoy yourself, and we will send you our one-of-a-kind, time-space manipulation module with one-time use disposable gravity drive, just calibrate for your specific recuperation needs (some restrictions apply, see store for details)! We want to entertain you!

Is there anything else you want people to know about your band/music?
Be the first to tell your friends about Rubber Skunk. Send us an email telling us what you think of us, and we’ll send you a free sticker and/or download! Don’t miss out on what’s going on here, we’re in this together!

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