Reverend Funk and the Horns of Salvation Q & A
By Crimson Cat
You have held down live residencies at The Evelyn Hotel in Fitzroy, The Next Blue nightclub at Crown and Manchester Lane in Melbourne City. Are you excited about your residency at Red Bennies?
The Band is so pumped to be playing at Red Bennies and looking forward to many more. The renovations are awesome, the location is great too. We’ve heard so many good things from friends and other muso’s about the club, all saying it’s an excellent venue, great crowds and a really funky vibe.
What song do you play that always gets a crowd going wild without fail?
I kinda think James Browns’ “Too Funky in here” is popular as a crowd pleaser. Usually we fill it out with horn solos and segue through a few other JB tunes in the middle, it’s a monster track, it can go for 10 minutes if we get right into it... Then again anything by Stevie Wonder seems to rock the joint as well.
What inspired the band name ‘Reverend Funk and the Horns of Salvation’?
There’s a few things that contributed, most definitely James Browns unforgettable performance as “The Reverend Cleophus J” in the original Blues Brothers movie. Add to that idea, inspiration from the likes of Isaac Hayes ‘Chef’ from South Park, Dr Funkenstein from George Clinton/Parliament, Dr John, Bootsy, Fat Larry, Joe Tex and you eventually get the idea. The persona is inspired, the stage antics are merely a dim reflection of the greatness of those who make what we do possible.. (R.I.P JB, IH)
How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?
Andy (The Doc) and me have been mates since we were about 18. We started playing together back then and worked in a few bands before we started Rev Funk in June 1999. The original lineup guys that did the Evelyn gigs still play with us from time to time, the band has seen some lineup transitions over time. Watto joined us on kit in the early 2001 and is still pretty much the mainstay of the backline, he’s famous for carving out that monster groove channel that we all jump into. Gav on bass and Ben on guitar just fatten the whole thing out with an unshakable funky groove that we have become known for. We recently introduced Dave ‘Goose’ Palmers' trombone to the lineup and the show at Red Bennies will be (for the first time in the band's history) a three piece horn section of Doc on Sax, Dave on Bone and Dan on Trumpet.
I guess we all know each other through friends. When a chair becomes vacant due to someone going on tour or someone moving on, there’s always a recommendation for a great player to jump in their shoes. We’ve had some incredible guests pop in from time to time as well, which all makes for a guarantee that no matter how funky it gets, no two Rev Funk shows are the same… ever!
When and where was your big break?
Tuesday 22nd June 1999, the first gig at The Evelyn.
You just gotta start!! – get out of the rehearsal studio and hit the stage somewhere.
Who wrote the original Reverend Funk and the Horns of Salvation songs?
Doc & I wrote the originals individually and together, then roughed out a demo and sought inspiration from the amazingly talented guys in the band.
Last year the band celebrated its 10th year anniversary of playing live in Melbourne. How did that impact the band?
I think most of all we felt like we had achieved something worthwhile, totally worth celebrating and we did. We recorded the night and I am keen to get that EP mixed down and out to the hands of out friends and fans. 10 years is a massive milestone in this industry. A lot of bigger bands like us start up, but seem to run out of steam after a few months or a few years. It’s just not easy to keep a big band running…… anywhere.
Garth 'The Rev' Taylor is the lead vocalist. When do you whip out the priest outfit?
Haha, the outfit has been in the closet for a while, although it comes out on special request. I’m more than happy to stir up a few looks now and then when driving into gigs (running late, frantically swapping lanes) hasn’t got me off a ticket yet, but maybe one day!
Does it get hot wearing it on stage?
Yeah, the plastic collar thing is a killer, I don’t know how the professionals do it, I’ve never asked, 2 songs in and the collars off.
What artists or bands are you listening to at the moment?
My radio is never on one station, my CD player hardly plays the same CD’s more than 10 times. I do love listening to PBS and the huge variety of artists you get. Anything out of Daptone is inspiringly funky. At the moment I’m also getting into some old Stax Gospel stuff, just for that wailing grind and ear splitting falsetto’s those guys can do, love those sounds.
Any plans to conquer overseas?
We’ve visited New Zealand and have a bunch of fans in Europe (via our website), it would have to be a smaller lineup to make a trip work at this stage.
Reverend Funk and the Horns of Salvation kick off their residency at Red Bennies, playing on the first Friday of every month, starting on May 7.