‘Global’ Still Funky
Jam band brings new lineup to Viva.
Thursday, September 9, 2004
Over the last year, the Merced-based jam band Global Funk has been reinventing itself. Initially called Global Funk Council, the first incarnation of the band came together in 2001 in San Diego and featured ex-Karl Denson drummer Eric Bolivar.
Early this year, without Bolivar, the band’s new lineup shortened their name to Global Funk. According to keyboardist/songwriter Anthony Smith, the band has undergone other changes over the past year. Instead of trying to ceaselessly tour all over the country to expand their fan base, Global Funk has a new strategy.
“We really want to put down stronger roots in one area”—albeit a big area, he says, adding that the band will continue touring California and the rest of the West Coast.
Smith is obviously excited about his band’s upcoming release, Bogo. When compared to the band’s debut album, Keep On Pushin,’ Bogo is a big artistic leap, the keyboardist says. “I think the CD sounds more like us, and it makes a more original statement,” he says.
With funky, piano driven music and oddball lyrics, songs like “Demons” and “Sarah’s Best” off the new album sound like early Phish songs. But, even more successful are tunes like “Spank” and “Up Here.” “Spank” is the jazzy, funky, groove-oriented music you would expect from a band named Global Funk, while “Up Here” goes from breezy pop to a complicated guitar section to a lilting reggae-like music sound.
The band’s current lineup includes Smith, who was the primary songwriter in the San Diego funk/soul band Giant People, bassist Jonathan Stoyanoff, guitarist Josh Suhrheinrich and drummer Ryan Krieger, who toured with the New York hardcore band the Cro-Mags for two years. Smith, for one, is content with his group’s newest members.
“I think the variety of influences has gelled with this lineup,” he says. “With this lineup, we have arrived at a collective process of improvisation.”