Some serious funk royalty is headed to Tahoe to help celebrate the holidays this winter; New Orleans’ Dumpstaphunk is bound for the Crown Room at Crystal Bay Casino for a New Year’s Eve show that promises to be popping. Devildog Productions announced on Facebook Monday that Friday’s show with the Monophonics has sold out.
“We always have fun in that room,” Dumpstaphunk’s Ian Neville said. “We’ve never played there on an occasion night though, like New Year’s or anything, so I expect it to be pretty rowdy and whatnot. We’ve had pretty killer shows in there on regular average nights, so I assume y’all rage pretty hard on a New Year’s up there.”
Dumpstaphunk is Neville (guitar, vocals), Ivan Neville (keyboards, vocals), Tony Hall (bass, guitar, vocals), Nick Daniels III (bass, vocals) and Alvin Ford Jr. (drums, vocals).
With roots in the Neville family, one of the primary creators of New Orleans funk in bands such as the Meters and the Neville Brothers, Dumpstaphunk is heir to a genre-defining legacy.
“That’s our family, that’s where a lot of our musical influence comes from,” Neville said. “That’s where a lot of people’s musical influence comes from.
“Growing up in New Orleans you’re surrounded by music and culture anyway, but in our family we’re just a little closer to the lifeblood of that than most people get to be; so it’s something to live up to, something to draw from all at the same time.”
Ford Jr. is a legacy, too. His father is a well-known gospel drummer in New Orleans. Ford Jr., who formerly played with Bonerama and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, replaced Nikki Glaspie in Dumpstaphunk earlier this year.
Dumpstaphunk is definitely drawing well, regularly touring the nation, playing everywhere from festivals to one-off venues, and receiving heaps of critical acclaim in the process. This summer saw the band flying around the continental United States for a wide-reaching series of one-off shows.
“We were bouncing around a lot, it wasn’t like one big summer tour,” Ian Neville said. “We were home for a couple of days and then flying back and forth a few times, just kind of sporadic, different gigs here and there.”
This fall sees the group playing a series of shows along the East Coast, with short trips to Texas and Idaho, before heading West. One special event will be a Thanksgiving show in Port Chester, N.Y.
“We’re gonna be up in Port Chester, us and Fishbone at the Capitol Theater, that should be a hell of a fun little night up there,” Ian Neville said.
While the band is looking forward to a return to Tahoe, the winter weather can be a bit intimidating for those accustomed to the Louisiana climate.
“We’re usually through there at least once or twice a year,” Ian Neville said. “The main argument in getting up there is which pass is the band less scared to drive over in the middle of the snow. So that was determining which airport we were going to fly into and shit like that. Most of the other dudes are freaked out by that, but it is what it is. Driving over ice is never fun, but hey, the show must go on.”
Dumpstaphunk hopes to have new friends the Steeltown Horns in tow for the Tahoe trip. A brass section hailing from Pittsburgh, the trio is Reggie Watkins (trombone), Rick Matt (saxophone), and J.D. Chaisson (trumpet). The trio has been playing semi-regularly with Dumpstaphunk over the last year.
“We’ve been bringing these horn section cats from Pittsburgh with us a lot lately,” Neville said. “So it’s just been good to stretch the material and have different stuff to play because of the horn factor and not getting bored on our own part back there, just keeping it fresh.
“We’re trying to make it as regular as we can, we’re like 90 percent sure they’re going to be out there for the New Year’s hit.”
Dumpstaphunk also has been hard at work in a New Orleans recording studio called “The Parlor,” laying down tracks for a new album. The band is close to completion on 10 or so new songs.
“There’s a couple of the new ones that they have a very Dumpstaphunk vibe,” Neville said. “It’s relaxed how some of them came about, which was cool, that they came together with a very noticeable flow to how the songs are, but without us trying to over think it, which I feel like subconsciously appeals to people better. There’s no formula for writing a universally lovable song or anything, but I feel like when they come together more organically for us like that it just translates a little better.”
This laid-back song-writingstyle typifies Dumpstaphunk’s recording sessions.
“Our approach is to just let whatever songs or music come to us and go from there,” Neville said. “We in general don’t try to limit a certain genre or type of stuff, or say ‘we want to do this many instrumentals or vocal songs.’ Lately some of us come in with tunes and some of them end up working out in studio; some stuff we fabricate during sound checks and catch little snippets of and then go back and rehash the ideas. The idea is to draw from the best material we have basically.”
Dumpstaphunk is unsure how it will release the new material, but hopes to have it out in the spring of 2016.
“We’re bouncing around a couple ideas, like instead of just putting out another straight-up, full-length record, looking at EP ideas and stuff like that,” Ian Neville said. “But we’re undecided; we’ll see how it shakes out.”
In the meantime, fans and new listeners alike will get to hear these masters of funk throw down for a New Year’s Eve party at Crystal Bay Casino’s Crown Room. Regular fans know just what to expect.
“We’ve got more bass than most bands, and we try to get more dancing going on out of the crowd than must bands,” Ian Neville said. “Just keep the feet and the asses shaking.”
Related story: Jelly Bread breaks out new album at Nugget in Reno. LINK
Red-Room after-party: Jelly Bread
When: 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31
Where: Crystal Bay Casino’s Crown Room